Like a good neighbor, be careful out there

There are many things in life that we have the power to choose.

Opinions editor Doug Close

Opinions editor Doug Close

Your neighbors are not usually one of these things.

Yes, this is another column about the ever-strained relationship between Chapman students living off campus and Orange residents. I’ve already outlined my thoughts on this vague, subjective and unconstitutional ordinance in months past (as well as the legitimate concerns of Orange residents). But now, with the ordinance in place, it feels counterproductive to write one of those same columns all over again.

Instead, I wanted to share some practical (and hopefully helpful) steps that my roommates and I have taken to stay on good terms with our neighbors while still having our fun.

There are essentially two approaches to throwing parties in Orange. Either you go as hard as you please and accept the reality that you will likely get a ticket, or you take some precautions to avoid neighborly conflict if you’re not trying to deal with the police or frustrated neighbors.

And at this point, the only thing saving you from a ticket might be a good relationship with the houses around you.

The main issue, as implied in the new “noise” ordinance, is noise. So, if you’re willing to take precautions, you can minimize the amount of noise emanating from your house.

For example, my house has a devastatingly good sound system. But, under this new ordinance, any sound coming from my house that is louder than 65 decibels is grounds for a ticket. That’s as loud as an average conversation. If I know we’re having people over on a Friday night, I’ll put on some Young Thug and stand out at the edge of our driveway to figure out how loud the system can be before it starts to be audible from our street. That volume then becomes the limit, and while it certainly exceeds the ordinances decibel limit, my very kind neighbors have never complained as they probably can’t even hear it through their walls.

Closing windows and keeping people inside is also a good call for containing whatever noise you and your guests are making. Instead, splurging on utilities a little to run your air conditioning for a few hours is going to be the more economic option compared to a ticket. If more than a dozen or so people end up in your backyard after 10 p.m., you can pretty much guarantee that cops will end your night’s festivities prematurely.

On top of that, there are small, daily things you can do to stay on good terms with the people who live around you. Rolling your trash cans in on time, parking reasonably and introducing yourself to your neighbors can go a long way in getting started off on the right foot. Like all human relationships, compromise is important. Every neighbor is different, so learning what they find acceptable and their general attitude toward college-age neighbors is important when it comes to figuring out the best way to host large groups.

Have as many people over as you like, but just know that ignoring your neighbors or partying in plain sight is likely not only going to dent your bank account, but also your ability to have people over in the future. I don’t believe that you should give this legally fuzzy ordinance power over how you socialize, but remember that every choice you make in a party setting can indeed potentially have an effect on your record and your finances.

1 Comment

  • Doug, I don’t have any Chapman students as neighbors, but if I did, you sound like the kind of student/neighbor that would make a great neighbor. Thank you for one of the more sensible (if not the most sensible) comments from a student that I’ve seen.

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