The Tempe City Council unanimously passed an amendment to the city code on Thursday that could affect enforcement of large parties and gatherings in Tempe.
The amendment adds a provision to the city code called “unlawful gatherings.”
Tempe attorney Andrew Ching said an unlawful gathering is when minors are gathered and consuming alcohol.
Noise complaints are a common way police find out about these types of parties, Ching said. Under the term “unlawful gathering,” noise doesn’t have to be a component.
The title of the article has also been changed from “Large parties, gathering or events,” to “nuisance parties and unlawful gatherings.”
With the new title of “nuisance party,” there is no requirement for the amount of people gathered. Under the previous title of “large parties, gathering or events,” a gathering was when five or more were assembled.
Ching said the responsible party — a homeowner or the guardian of a minor involved — could be charged a police service fee depending on the amount officers it takes to disperse the party. The fee could range from $250 to $1,000, he said.
Tempe Police Lt. Mike Horne said it is uncertain how this amendment will affect enforcement.
The amendment does not go into effect for 90 days.
Horne said Tempe Police will be working with a legal staff to develop a training plan to educate officers on the ins and outs of the new categories.
Tempe Vice Mayor Joel Navarro said the amendment was put in place to ensure that Tempe residents are being responsible when they get together.
“Everyone likes to have a good time,” Navarro said. “We just want to make sure it’s not out of control.”
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Because of a reporting error, the name of a source for this story was incorrect. This article has been updated.