Bring the noise, lose the cash

    Burlington’s next mayor may up the consequences for noise off-campus.   Democratic candidates Tim Ashe, Bram Kranichfeld, Jason Lorber and Miro Weinberger agree that UVM needs to do more to solve the problem of off-campus noise at a forum held at Edmunds Middle School on Nov. 8.   Kranichfeld said that authorities at the University tend to have more severe consequences “for not returning a library book,” than downtown noise offenders, according to the Burlington Free Press.   Lorber suggested that the next University president reside on a street heavily trafficked by students. Former President Fogel lived in Colchester while in office, instead of the official presidential residence on College Street, the Burlington Free Press stated.   UVM’s Office of Student and Community Relations (OSCR) is committed to creating a safe and socially just environment for off-campus students and neighbors, according to their website.   In response to resident complaints, OSCR stations volunteers at busy intersections and late night bus stops to hand out chocolate hearts and talk to students about the issue of late night noise in their ‘Have a Heart’ campaign.   While moving off campus may be a popular choice for students who are eligible, off-campus living can present one new concern: noise violations.   In Burlington, a city noise ordinance applies 24 hours a day and special quiet hours are in effect from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., according to the City Hall website.   The ordinance prohibits any noise that is “plainly audible between apartments or houses” including conversation, TV’s, sound systems and radios that are at an unreasonably loud volume, according to the website.   Junior Whit Berry said he had his own issue with noise regulations.   Berry said he and eight friends were at home listening to Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ “Come on Eileen” and celebrating the cancellation of classes during Hurricane Irene when he received a noise violation.   “We were playing [the song] loudly- but not that loud – around 11 p.m. in our basement when we got a noise violation,” he said. “I think they were just looking for people to get in trouble.”   Although Berry said he did not think he and his housemates deserved a violation, he did not think that noise enforcement is any stricter this year than last year.   “Even though we weren’t that loud when we got one, I feel like there were other times when we should have gotten one and we didn’t,” he said. “It really just depends on the night.”   In the event of a noise disturbance all of the residents are considered liable, along with anyone else that is a part of the noise making, according to UVM’s Off-Campus Living Guide.   Noise from parties and social gatherings have their own regulations, the guide stated. A gathering is defined as a situation where one or more attendees are not residents.   Anyone that is a resident and isn’t involved in the noise can seek special exemption from the court.   Punishments for noise violations vary depending on the circumstances, according to the website.   For every instance other than parties, a first offense minimum fine is $200 for all residents and those involved. If a second offense occurs within a 24-month period, the fine is $300 minimum.   In the case of parties or large social gatherings, the first offense fine is a minimum of $300 along with three hours in a restorative justice program.   In the case of hearing for a first offense, the fine is a minimal $200, 15 hours of community service and restorative justice program, the website stated.