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New program helps Cal Poly reduce noise complaints and citations

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SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Cal Poly and the city of San Luis Obispo have reported record low noise complaints and citations.

The city and the university have been working together to reduce the neighborhood issues near the campus.

Over the past 10 years, the city has experienced a steady decline of noise complaints, which have dropped by 52 percent, from 2,584 complaints in 2009 to a low of 1,228 in 2019. Noise citations also dropped within that same time span, from a high of 263 in 2010 to 149 in 2019.

From 2018-19 alone, the city experienced a one-year reduction of 15 percent in noise complaints, while citations dropped by 27 percent.

Cal Poly and its students, the community, and the San Luis Obispo Police Department have done an amazing job of changing the culture and advancing good neighbor policies and practices that have reduced neighborhood complaints and noise disruption,” said San Luis Obispo City Manager Derek Johnson. “I’m so proud of our efforts and our community.”

Cal Poly Dean of Students Kathleen McMahon added, “I’m excited to see that our collaboration with the city is paying off. Cal Poly students, faculty, staff and alumni are an integral part of the San Luis Obispo community — and they pride themselves on being good neighbors. I look forward to additional partnership opportunities with the city and community members so that we can make even more progress.”

Johnson noted that the city’s implementation of a party registration program, along with neighborhood outreach and enforcement, as core components in reducing neighborhood noise.

Instituted initially as a pilot in 2017, the party registration program allows residents to provide advance notice of a party to police in an effort to avoid fines and other violations. In 2019, 339 party registrations were submitted for approval — nearly tripling the number of voluntary submissions in 2018. Of those, 242 were approved and resulted in just three citations.

Johnson also praised the creation of the city’s Neighborhood Officer Program and the establishment of Safety Enhancement Zones during St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween.

McMahon credited several neighborhood programs and initiatives established by the university for their roles in reducing neighborhood noise issues, including the creation of a separate Cal Poly Greek party registration program and enhanced education efforts during student orientation events, among others.

In addition, she noted that the San Luis Obispo Neighborhood Wellness/Community Civility working group — featuring representatives from Cal Poly, Cuesta College, and the city of San Luis Obispo — has been instrumental in taking a collaborative approach to student behavior issues in local neighborhoods. The group received the Larry W. Abernathy Award at the 2016 International Town and Gown Association Annual Conference for its efforts.

Johnson also pointed to the SLO Solutions program as another key resource in reducing neighborhood issues. The program — a collaboration with Creative Mediation at Wilshire Community Services, the City of San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly and Cuesta — offers free conflict resolution services for San Luis Obispo residents and students.

For more information about the SLO Solutions program, visit or call 805-549-0442.

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Sharon Carrillo

Sharon Carrillo is a producer at KEYT|KCOY|KKFX.


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