Concern over safety prompts rooftop ban
September 5, 2017
Prompted by concerns expressed by the South Watch and Oak Watch community groups over young people partying on rooftops, District 3 Councilman Bruce Kraus has introduced legislation to give police the authority to order them down.
The legislation prohibiting non-permitted occupancy of rooftops says no one is permitted to occupy the roof or roof overhang of a building unless the roof is designed and permitted by the city building code for occupancy. Exceptions are for performing repairs or maintenance of the roof, emergency situations or where it is expressly permitted by lease agreement.
Those with legal permitted rooftop decks will not be affected by the change in the law.
“We’re not looking to be punitive,” Mr. Kraus said noting police officers haven’t had the authority to ask people to come down from the roof. The legislation doesn’t include fines or penalties for those up on the roof.
With District 3 having large student populations in Oakland and South Side, the councilman said sometimes students weren’t acting in their best interest. Several accidents with people falling from roofs have resulted in injuries or death.
The councilman said the legislation was crafted over several months in association with the city’s law department. In a preliminary vote last week, the measure passed 7-0.
The final vote will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 6. Mr. Kraus said he expects the bill to pass.