Board Adopts Peninsula-wide Policy to Deter Underage Drinking

Los Angeles, CA– Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance proposed by Supervisor Janice Hahn to enact a Social Host Ordinance in the unincorporated areas of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. A Social Host Ordinance will deter underage drinking at house parties by imposing a $1000 fine on any adult responsible for the property or household at which underage drinking occurs.

While all four cities on the PV Peninsula have passed similar social host ordinances, the city ordinances do not apply to the peninsula’s three County unincorporated areas, known as Academy Hills, Westfield, and the Estates.  The Supervisor’s proposed ordinance will close these “donut holes” where local parents worry house parties will continue.

“The cities of the Peninsula are working together to prevent underage drinking and house parties that too often end in tragedy,” said Supervisor Hahn.  “By enacting a similar ordinance in the Peninsula’s County unincorporated areas, we are presenting a united front. I hope we can provide local parents some peace of mind – and give our law enforcement another tool to combat underage drinking and keep our children safe.”

Local peninsula parents and officials, including PTA members Raunda Frank, Rod Uyeda, and Sandy Valeri, Rolling Hills Estates Councilmembers Frank Zerunyan and Velveth Schmitz, Rolling Hills Councilmember Bea Dieringer, and Palos Verdes Estates Councilmember Kenny Kao testified at today’s meeting to demonstrate their support for Supervisor Hahn’s proposal.

“All four peninsula cities have passed a similar social host ordinance based on information from educators, PTA members, and others regarding the high incidence of alcohol use by local youth, particularly at private parties,” said Rolling Hills City Councilmember Bea Dieringer, who testified at today’s meeting. “What we don’t want is for parties to be driven from incorporated cities to the unincorporated County areas of the peninsula with no such ordinance. We appreciate Supervisor Hahn for her leadership filling in the gaps and helping us prevent the tragedies that result from drinking at teen parties.”

“The Palos Verdes Peninsula is a tight knit community and although we are four cities and an unincorporated county area, we are one when it comes to being neighbors and parents,” said Rolling Hills Estates City Councilmember Velveth Schmitz. “This ordinance allows us to treat the unincorporated area as it is seen by our community. We are all in favor of this ordinance through our PTA, our law enforcement and our families. Keeping it consistent is imperative to its success amongst a geographically close community but also one that doesn’t see jurisdictions but rather neighborhoods.”

The Social Host Ordinance passed by the board today will apply to the three unincorporated areas on the Peninsula in the form of a one year pilot program. During the pilot program, data will be collected to observe its effectiveness. In addition to underage drinking, the ordinance would also impose fines on adults who provide underage individuals with recreational cannabis.  Although cannabis use is legal under state law, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to use cannabis recreationally.

The Board voted 4-0 for passage with Supervisor Sheila Kuehl abstaining. The ordinance will go into effect in 30 days.