West Chester will post 'quiet zone' signs in student-heavy areas

Posted: February 22, 2013

The West Chester Borough Council approved the purchase Wednesday of "quiet zone" signs to be posted in several neighborhoods, among initiatives to ease residents' concerns over noise at night in student-heavy downtown areas near the West Chester University campus.

Installing about 240 signs will cost $4,230, Councilman Jordan Norley said. The signs will indicate that the area is a "quiet zone" between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. and warn passersby that they risk a minimum $250 fine if they make too much noise.

The signs will be concentrated in the southeast end of the borough. Police officers can note on citations that noise violations occurred in a quiet zone, but those making noise between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. anywhere in the borough could face the same fines.

"This is primarily an awareness and education tool," Norley said. "Quiet hours are borough-wide."

Dianne Horvath, a real estate agent with Keller Williams, said at the meeting that her tenants - some students, some not - were briefly confused by the proposal.

"My tenants thought the rules were different on the other side of the borough," she said. She added that her student tenants were generally responsible - "I have good students" - and that she often had more trouble with nonstudent renters.

"I think the students get an unfair shake," she said.

Norley said quiet-zone signs had proved effective at other universities and added that the signs would be placed gradually over the next three months.

The council recently increased minimum noise-violation fines from $100 to $250, and on Wednesday accepted a check from the West Chester University Foundation to continue to fund a security program that places guards along streets frequented by students on weekend nights.

West Chester residents have long complained about student noise, especially along heavily trafficked areas such as South Walnut Street, which houses a mix of locals and students. Neighborhood surveys on the security program have been positive, Norley said.

Contact Aubrey Whelan at 215-854-2703, awhelan@philly.com, or on Twitter @aubreyjwhelan

comments powered by Disqus