Several cities in San Diego County have social host ordinance laws but a revised law passed Wednesday night in Imperial Beach has new requirements for homeowners and parents.
The city has had a social host law in place for about 10 years but so far it has been ineffective and in 2006, it was successfully challenged on appeal.
Under the revised law approved by the Imperial Beach City Council, adults hosting parties now have to check the ages of their guests and control the availability of alcohol.
The list of those who could be held responsible for a violation has also expanded to more than just the home owner.
“It’s going to be an administrative citation versus a misdemeanor citation,” said Public Safety Director Tom Clark. “We’re not interested in criminally penalizing somebody but getting them to change their behavior through education.”
The initial ordinance approved in 2003 was a model used by other communities.
Clark said the revised ordinance is consistent with those in effect in other communities around the county and provides the ability to enforce the law to San Diego County sheriff’s deputies who respond to calls of noise and parties.
Gabriel Mateus, a sophomore at Hilltop High School, thought the changes in the law were necessary to keep minors safe.
“We heard about the social host and there are some pretty scary facts, in 2011 only 16-percent of parents actually knew that this law existed so we needed to make sure that people were notified,” Mateus said.
If an adult is caught violating the new rules, they could face up to a $1,000 fine.
The new ordinance will go into effect in 30 days.