When Chris Orr and five other Georgetown University juniors rented a Burleith house in late August, the landlord told them to call about any “extraneous complaints” from neighbors. Two weeks later, the new kids on the block called back to report that the police had thwarted their Labor Day weekend inaugural party with a $300 noise citation. “There’s been a substantial increase in noise fines around Georgetown this year, and as time goes by you’ll see a Districtwide increase,” says 2nd District Lt. Patrick Burke. Partiers can blame emergency D.C. Council legislation that in August officially eliminated the use of decibel meters to gauge noise violations outside of downtown. “The legislation was passed to deal with noisy student parties,” says Lyle Blanchard, a staffer for Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, adding that police must still deliver a warning before issuing a fine. Orr says he had received no warning when a pack of officers appeared at his doorstep just after midnight with the citation. He will contest the fine in court Nov. 18.
Reporting by Dan Gilgoff, Stephanie Mencimer, Michael Schaffer, and Erik Wemple.
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