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Downtown Residents Bemoan Partying McDaniel Students

Downtown Westminster residents attended Monday's city council meeting to ask for help in dealing with party-prone college students.

Westminster residents told city council members and the police chief this week they are fed up with students who host parties and disturb the peace late at night.

"Main street shuts down at 1 a.m. and they [college students] come up to  Hersh Avenue and might as well put up a street sign that says, 'open for business,'" George Cliff, a Pennsylvania Avenue resident, told the council.

"It goes on every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. It’s not that they come up in small groups of two or three students, sometimes it's groups of 50."

Prior to the citizens comment portion of the meeting, Westminster Police Chief Jeffrey Spaulding reported that the department is increasing police presence outside of Main Street bars at closing time. He said police officers would also be checking IDs at some bars to ensure patrons are the legal drinking age.

"We'll also be assigning officers to patrol the streets heading back to the college," Spaulding said. "We will have a significant presence; it's one of our highest priorities and we're working on it."

Cliff said that just standing outside of bars isn't going to be enough.

Council member Tony Chiavacci, council public safety chair, said that he was part of a meeting more than a year ago with police, college representatives and residents to discuss several off-campus student houses that were habitual offenders of disturbing the peace and underage drinking.

"We're not condoning this activity; let's be clear on that. I'm glad you're bringing this to our attention because I thought this was under control," Chiavacci told the residents.

Cliff admitted that there had been a lull in the rowdy student behavior but that it has returned.

Tina McAulay, a Monroe Street resident, said that her yard backs up to the back yard of problem residences on Hersh Avenue. 

"I hear everything that goes on over there," McAulay said.  "I’m a working person with a  middle school student. My concern is not only for myself but also for the impressionable students who go to William Winchester [elementary school]....

"I'm asking the chief of police that your police officers are more consistent. If this is what my kids see, what are we doing for the kids, not teaching them anything," McAulay said.

Spaulding said one problem for police is there are new students moving into the residences every semester.

"Every semester the names and faces change," Spaulding said.

Spaulding said the problem isn't new and that police meet with college representatives, students, residents and police.

"Our experience in the past has been that once we’ve had one of these meeting of the minds, it has a calming effect on that residence. The problem abates, then a new group of students come and the problem starts again," Spaulding said.

Council President Damian Halstad said that it's time bear down on the troublemakers.

"This to me is an extension of what we’re fighting on Main Street. It's important, it's destructive and I take it seriously," Halstad said. "We have to stay on it and I think this is a good opportunity to ramp it up."

Halstad asked the police chief to address the problem with a renewed sense of vigilance.

"So often with these situations you have to turn the heat up," Halstad said. "These kids do have something to lose--they can’t afford arrests, fines, records or for their parents to find out what they're doing."

SOUTHWESTMINSTER March 15, 2012 at 04:36 PM
@ WestMonster I was replying to Mr Harmon's comment, and thanks for making my point. :)
LeeAnneG. March 15, 2012 at 10:23 PM
My Grandparents built the first house on Monroe St. it was a dirt street then. The home has never left my family. While I understand that students are not all 'a**holes or unreasonable', one or two people being disrespectful does have an impact. Also, the renters at the 'problem' addresses may not be the problem, but some of the people that they are inviting over are creating problems. I have had a few issues; 1.) I have been woken up at 1:30 AM to a male standing in-between my home and my neighbors home yelling 'Hurry up, I'm leaving, and if you want a ride you better get your a** over here!' Not only was this person trespassing, but they were standing right next to my bedroom window screaming at 1AM. Would you not be upset by this happening? 2.) I woke up early one morning and went outside to get my paper, a car was parked with the front passenger side tire sitting up over the curb and on top of a water pipe. The car had McDaniel stickers on the windshield and back window. I went inside to grab my camera to snap a few pictures; I wanted to make sure that I had proof that a car was sitting on the pipe not knowing who would be responsible for the cost of repairs. I got dressed and upon returning outside, the car was gone. I waited the three hours until the city opened its offices and called them to let them know about the broken pipe. Later that day a few workers came and did the repair. I was not charged, but the tax payers did have to pay for it. I could go on!
Native March 16, 2012 at 12:18 AM
We can always count on Harmon to chime in with his daily cheap shot at the commissioners.
Spike Jones April 08, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Tina, 3 years ago you moved 40 yards from a college campus. Could you not foresee noise being an issue? As you repeatedly state, "Common sense is all it takes."
Tina McAulay April 08, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Spike ~ I typically welcome the thoughts, comments and opinion of others but I am unable to welcome yours due to its inaccuracy. Please let me clarify somethings for you. 1. The property I live on has been in our family since the 1960's, my grandparents were the original homeowners. 2. I have lived on Monroe Street since my grandfather passed away (summer of 2005), so I have lived here for over 6 years, not 3 as you stated. 3. There were never noise or trespassing issues until the properties behind us were bought (once the original owners passed away) and were turned into off campus housing by the landlords (this began approx. 3 years ago) And no we did not foresee there being an issue because there was never an issue in the past in all the years that my grandparents lived here. 4. The problem only exists with off campus housing, not the campus itself. and 5. please read all comments thoroughly before making/submitting your own because you look as though you are the one with no common sense. Hope you had a Happy Easter.

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