City continues consideration of social hosting ordinance


The city is not done considering the social hosting issue.

Craig City Councilor Byron Willems and Matt Beckett, Moffat County Grand Futures Prevention Coalition director, gave a presentation to the council and city staff during a special workshop Tuesday about instituting a social hosting ordinance.

After discussion, City Attorney Kenny Wohl said he would draft a social hosting ordinance for the council to consider.

Wohl's draft most likely will be similar to the ordinance passed by the Steamboat Springs City Council last year before the city's high school graduation.

A social hosting ordinance makes it illegal for anyone, adult or minor, to knowingly provide someone younger than 21 with a place to consume alcohol.

Beckett said the key word is "knowingly."

"If you're out of town, or there are a lot of places with a lot of land - not so much in the city, but in the county - or if you're sleeping and you're upstairs and they're in the basement being quiet, that's not illegal," Beckett said.

But if a person hosts a graduation party for high school students at his or her home and allows people younger than 21 to drink alcohol, they would be cited with a municipal violation under a social host ordinance, he added.

Several councilors, such as Jennifer Riley, asked how social hosting would differ from current laws, such as contributing to the delinquency of a minor, which already cover someone providing alcohol to another person underage.

"I have concerns about the effect this is really going to have on reducing the amount of underage drinking," Riley said Wednesday after the workshop.

Beckett said the main difference is that current laws make it illegal to purchase alcohol for someone underage, but social hosting makes it illegal to give them a place to drink.

Riley said she still is skeptical about the usefulness of such a provision because prosecutors would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person knowingly gave underage drinkers a place to drink.

"To me, it's potentially another ordinance that's going to be difficult to enforce," she said.


native_craig_guy 7 years, 7 months ago

Personally I think that this new municipal code would be superflous. I do not see how a municpal code is needed for a something that is already on the state books and carries a hefty penalty. Maybe we should enforce the laws that we have in place and not worry ourselves with "filler" codes. Besides, correct me if I am wrong but this code could not be enforced in the county so we are going to focus only on parties held in city limits? I am sorry but in my faded memories of high school I remember that the vast majority of the parties were held in the county anyways. Maybe instead of creating duplicate laws we should make examples out of parents who violate existing laws and punish them to the fullest extend of the law.


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