Local News Spotlight

The party may be over for party houses

Updated: 2012-11-20T04:05:44Z


The Kansas City Star

Neighborhoods frustrated by disruptive party houses or after-hours illicit businesses operating out of homes may finally get some relief.

The Kansas City Council on Tuesday will consider regulations giving police more tools to crack down on large and disruptive social gatherings in homes, or nuisance businesses selling alcohol or promoting other vice activities in residential areas.

“It’s a huge problem,” said Sgt. Brad Dumit, who has been with the Kansas City police vice unit for 12 years.

Councilman Scott Wagner, who co-sponsored the measure, said “many neighborhoods in this city deal with issues that literally spring up out of nowhere, in homes and commercial properties, which really become entertainment venues almost overnight.”

Under current city law, Wagner said, police have little recourse.

Dumit said party houses usually operate after bars have closed and can attract as many as 200 people. Those crowds can mean loud music and late-night traffic congestion. They are also becoming magnets for illicit alcohol sales, narcotics, gambling, prostitution, assaults and shootings.

Police currently do not have the authority to order people to leave a private residence. The new ordinance would give them that power and allow them to enter the houses to investigate complaints. It would also define party houses and nuisance businesses, giving police a way to build a case against them.

Gary Majors, the city’s manager of regulated industries, who oversees legitimate bars and other liquor establishments, said the ordinance will also protect those legal businesses from competition from these illicit outfits.

To reach Lynn Horsley, call 816-226-2058 or send email to lhorsley@kcstar.com.

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