Head Council will meet to discuss problems

Michael Lewis

Residents will have a chance to air concerns about loud parties and underage drinking tonight at the Kent Board of Control committee meeting.

The meeting is at 10 p.m. in the City Council Chambers.

Recent parties in certain areas, specifically around the Vine and High street neighborhoods, have prompted residents and Councilman Ed Bargerstock to take action.

The Health and Safety committee will present plans to deal with neighborhood parties, which have resulted in an unusually high rate of arrests among students.

“This has been an issue that can be divisive in the community,” said City Manager Dave Ruller. “Some folks get frustrated with their neighborhoods as a result of a loss of quality of life. On the other hand, some people think since this is a college town, a certain amount of partying should be expected.”

Part of the problem, Ruller said, is determining when private issues become public problems. Whether one owns a house or rents one, all residents have private property rights. The city must respect those rights, but also respond to any public outcry within a community.

“Solving this problem is interesting because as you tighten the tension in one neighborhood, you see it swell like a balloon on the other side,” Ruller said. “We’re sort of chasing it, and I hope we catch it.

“We have to find a way to keep the integrity of the neighborhood, but not say no to others,” Ruller added. “The challenge is that people live in that neighborhood and call it home.”

Mayor John Fender said some responsibility lies with the landlords, but also with the residents themselves. He said people need to make sure they respect each other and get along.

“You have to be conscious of living together,” Fender said. “Most people know what it means to be a good neighbor.”

Contact public affairs reporter Mike Lewis at [email protected].