By Agrippina Fadel
Tamarac takes a stand against disruptive private parties as the city commission approves a new ordinance that introduces stricter penalties and empowers authorities to address unauthorized events.
The ordinance, in works for months and finally approved on May 10, followed concerns raised by residents in the Woodlands neighborhood who have endured the disruptive activities of a notorious party house for over two years.
Maxine Calloway, Tamarac’s Community Development Director, explained that the ordinance introduces higher fines for violations: $250 for the first occurrence and $500 a day for repeat offenders. The city can also impose fines of $1000 and $5000 daily, up to $15,000, if the violation is irreversible.
Calloway said the new ordinance gives the city more flexibility in what it can do to curb the unauthorized parties. It identifies special events as those held on private or public property, organized or promoted via social media platforms, disrupting the normal traffic flow on the street. The city will also monitor whether the private events require extra equipment, services, or law enforcement officers.
“It also allows us, with the help from BSO, to turn off the lights and water to stop any such event that we believe violates the newly adopted ordinance,” said Calloway.
The city had a chance to put the new ordinance to use right away when concerned residents shared information about an upcoming “Fish Fry and Broth” party on May 13, hosted at the same house at 5405 White Oak Lane that has been a subject of prior complaints from the residents.
A colorful flyer circulated on social media advertised the $20 entry fee and invited guests to “d bar.” Woodlands resident Richard Grinnage, who lives across the street from the party house, told the commission, “If you don’t do anything else, at least stop this party.”
Grinnage said in the past two years, the house in question had been used as an Airbnb, an assisted living facility, a nursing home, a car rental facility, and a venue for paid events.
“They had parties with 300-400 cars parked on the golf course from NW 64th Avenue to White Oak Lane. They sell food and liquor and have the nerve to have porta potties, handwash stations, professional valet parking, and armed security guards. Not to mention the trash left after the parties,” he said, adding that the residents contacted the city multiple times to get help.
“We are held hostage in our million-dollar homes. People are starting to consider leaving the neighborhood,” Grinnage said.
The new ordinance gave the city additional tools to address the Fish Fry party. The city staff let the tenants know that they would have to obtain both a Special Event Permit and a Business Tax Receipt and requested that the party be canceled since there was no time to apply for those.
According to Commissioner Elvin Villalobos, the party organizers were also warned that they might be fined up to $15K if they went through with the party. The event was relocated to Lauderhill.
- Agrippina Fadel grew up in Siberia and received her master's in journalism from Tyumen State University. Agrippina is also a writer and editor at Draftsy.net. She has been a US resident for over ten years and speaks English and Russian.
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