By Daniel Langhorne
The Orange City Council is scheduled to get its first look, on Feb. 9, at a menu of proposals to crack down on partying Chapman University students and their landlords, addressing complaints from residents fed-up with late night revelry.
Among the ideas being kicked around by City Manager Rick Otto and his staff are possible changes to the city’s party and boarding house ordinances, restricting the establishment of “mini-dorms” in single-family homes, and new limits on how landlords administer their properties and report to the city.
In October, Councilman Mike Alvarez asked the city staff to explore new strategies for punish-ing students who have repeatedly hosted disruptive parties. At the council’s January meeting, Alvarez shared his experience watching the calls for service regarding Chapman students’ parties roll in during a recent ride-along with Orange police officers.
“These public resources are getting diverted for something I feel is not a good way to spend the public’s funds,” he said.
No quick fix
While the cost of policing such parties remains unknown, City Attorney Wayne Winthers said the city spent about $2,638 on overtime costs to have police officers block traffic to the Orange Plaza for December’s undie run.
Orange city staffers have spoken with their counterparts in Claremont, San Luis Obispo, Palo Alto, Davis, San Diego and Riverside to discuss successful strategies in managing college student populations.
Otto said he is looking for suggestions from these cities that are enforceable, manageable, and won’t create unintended consequences.
Police Chief Robert Gustafson said he is adamantly against the idea of deputizing Chapman’s public safety officers because they don’t have nearly as much training as his police officers. “I don’t think that’s a good combination for their safety or neighborhood peace,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to pass on that level of decision making.”
Pass it on
Gustafson also said he believes that 90 percent of a possible solution to the party issue “rests squarely on the university” and its ability to sanction students. Last year, he recommended that Chapman suspend students who repeatedly host disruptive parties.
Orange has had difficulty prosecuting students for throwing rowdy parties, because often no one will admit to police officers that they are the hosts. Winthers said the city is looking at ways to close this loophole.
A new face at January’s city council meeting was Jack Raubolt, the newly-hired vice president of community relations at Chapman. Raubolt is a former chief information officer at Chapman, and will be the university’s liaison for any complaints or questions from Orange residents. He and his wife will reside at one of the university’s houses in Old Towne.
“I’m committed to being a good listener and making a positive difference,” he said.
Orange will mull proposals for party house restrictions