GTH board passes social hosting ordinance

Holly Richrath

Despite concern from a village resident, the Germantown Hills Village Board unanimously passed a social hosting ordinance at its Thursday meeting.

The ordinance prohibits events or gatherings in which illicit drugs or alcoholic beverages are consumed by an underage person with the consent of an adult.

Dorothy Sokol voiced concerns that the passage of the ordinance would interfere with her right to host parties at her home.

“I want to make sure that as a citizen of this community I am protected when hosting a party for adults at my home,” she said.

Attorney Richard Joseph assured Sokol that the violation concerns drugs or alcohol being consumed by an underage person and would therefore not inhibit her right to host a party for adults.

She asked for time to review the proposed ordinance before the board passed it and was provided with a copy of the ordinance.

Trustee John Ford said that the ordinance is not aimed at adult parties and is meant as a means to stop underage drinking. He noted that the ordinance — which was originally on the board’s March 10 agenda — was postponed once already.

“These parties are going on and they’re putting a lot of kids at risk,” said trustee Terry Quinn. “There could be a party next week. The sooner we pass this, the better.”

According to the ordinance, a “social host” includes any adult who aides, conducts, allows, entertains, organizes, supervises, controls or permits such a gathering.

A host who violates the ordinance will receive a fine between $250 and $750.

Hillary Aggertt, a representative from the Woodford County Health Department, said that many individuals under the age of 21 that she has spoken with are in favor of the ordinance because it would relieve some of the peer pressure they encounter in regards to such parties.

In other business, the board:

• agreed to direct village staff to make telephone inquiries of possible violations of the nuisance ordinance.

Superintendent of Public Works Rich Brecklin recently reported a possible violation of the ordinance, which concerns inoperable motor vehicles and motor vehicles not regularly used in the village.

Ford, whose own vehicle recently came under fire as being in violation of the ordinance, said that having a village employee report the violation meant that the ordinance was not “complaint driven” as, he said, it was explained.

The vehicle in question was operable and licensed, as is required by the ordinance, and therefore not in violation.

 “A simple phone call would’ve taken care of all of this,” said trustee Mike Gaetz.