Tri States Public Radio Staff
Response to Wheeler St Block Party
Tue February 21, 2012
New Plans to Control Large Parties in Macomb
Four ordinances to regulate and control large and loud parties in Macomb are one step closer to being the law.
The proposals received first reading during the City Council's meeting on February 21. They cover issues such as nuisance parties, mass gatherings, and failing to disperse. They also provide new powers to the mayor in his role as liquor commissioner.
The ordinances were written by City Attorney Kristen Petrie. They are based on research she did on ordinances in other university towns in Illinois.
Mayor Mike Inman believes the new rules will require organizers of large gatherings - such as the Wheeler Street block party - to assume some responsibility.
"I think we would all say there has been a lack of social responsibility in the past history of Wheeler Street events, " Inman said.
"We can allow people to celebrate and have a good time, but it needs to be done in an organized way. It needs to be done with social responsibility as the core, not an afterthought."
Those who violate the failure to disperse ordinance would face fines of $300 to $750 per offense.
Another ordinance lists 13 characteristics to define nuisance parties.
The mass gatherings ordinance requires organizers to obtain a permit for their party.
Alderman At Large Dennis Moon provided some levity during the discussion when he raised a question about emergency orders that must be issued by the liquor commissioner 24 hours prior to the time they go into effect.
"My definition of an emergency might be something that happens rather quickly and we need to respond rather quickly," Moon said.
"Let's take something really out there and say the Cubs win the World Series. They all want to celebrate and things get carried away. Would that not be a case where maybe they need to shut down some establishments immediately?"
He was assured the new ordinance would provide the liquor commissioner with that power.
Aldermen are scheduled to discuss the ordinances during their February 27 Committee of the Whole meeting. The could give final approval on March 5.
Inman said the ordinances would go on the books within ten days after being approved.