Citizens from the neighborhood group Concerned East Side Neighbors have brought a proposal to the Keene City Council for a “social host” ordinance. We have worked to educate numerous stakeholders about the benefits of this ordinance and why we think it is necessary for Keene.

At its most basic, this ordinance holds the hosts of gatherings accountable for them and provides a progressive form of discipline for failing to do so. Responsible hosts and landlords have nothing to fear from this ordinance. It is behavior-driven, not a control on the size of gatherings.

Hosts who let their gatherings get out of hand and effect the safety and quality of life of others, are held accountable for those effects. Social host ordinances get to the root cause of issues such as public drunkenness, trash, noise, etc. Respectful gatherings are not affected by this proposal.

In the case of rental properties, landlords will be kept informed throughout the process and encouraged to speak with problem tenants. Changed behavior is the goal throughout enforcement and landlord communication and involvement is encouraged.

Communities across the nation have implemented social host ordinances to address out of control parties that degrade the quality of life and raise serious safety concerns. Gatherings that meet the definition of an “unruly gathering” are what trigger enforcement.

Citizens on the east side of Keene have long suffered from these issues. This tool is needed to bring back safe, inviting neighborhoods and restore a sense of balance. It is needed to reduce the possibility of tragedy and reputational harm that the city, Keene State College and the citizens of Keene have endured in the past.

I encourage the citizens of Keene and all stakeholders to become involved in this conversation as this proposal moves through the PLD committee and back to City Council with a recommendation. Social host ordinances are a best practice being used to great benefit in college towns across the nation. Access the city website and review the supporting material we have provided the city of Keene.

Laws are created to protect the 95 percent of citizens who do the right thing. By adopting this for Keene, we can focus our energy on the citizens and students that do amazing things for our community. Please contact your ward councilor in support of this effort.

TIM ZINN

43 Grove St.

Keene