Phi Sigma Lambda, commonly known as PhiSlam, is a privately owned and operated fraternity known for throwing alcohol-free ragers both in a large field and in the Pineview town-homes area, where it frequently receives noise violations. But residents don’t seem to mind.
Gage Henry, a junior finance major from Marietta and the president of PhiSlam, said they have been throwing parties in Pineview since the group was founded.
“Usually every person who lives in Pineview is aware we are there because we’ve always been in the same house,” he said. “It started in Pineview. It turned into something, so then the entire neighborhood was around it."
Beth Kanady, associate broker for Carriage House Realty, the company that owns Pineview, said in an email to The Red & Black that the frat doesn’t need to ask permission of the company to throw parties in Pineview.
“We don’t require any specific permission for parties as long as everyone is being respectful of their neighbors,” she wrote. “We ask all of our residents to follow what is dictated by ACC.”
She said in an email that neither PhiSlam nor any other group at Pineview has received a complaint.
Henry said otherwise.
He said although the neighborhood is known for its PhiSlam presence and the group tries to be respectful of neighbors, police frequent the parties to respond to noise complaints
“We get a lot of noise violations. We don’t have permits or anything to do it. The cops come to every single event that we’ve done,” he said. “Usually, after we explain that there’s no alcohol and we’re just trying to provide an alternative, the cops are OK with it.”
Hilda Sorrow, public information assistant for the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, said for large events either a special event form or an event registration form should be filled out.
“If they’re having a large event like that, they should technically fill out an event registration,” she said.
Even with a permit, the party would be subject to noise ordinances, Sorrow said.
According to the 2013 ACC from A to Z, noise — including “party noise” — is prohibited if it can be heard 300 feet from the property from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 7 a.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
Also, noise is prohibited if it’s audible 100 feet from a property Sundays through Thursdays from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from midnight to 7 a.m.
Sorrow said if the ACCPD receives a complaint, an officer will usually go to the location and advise the person in charge to lower the volume.
“[The officer] gives them a verbal warning that they are in violation of the noise ordinance and if they come back they can be sited and have to go to court,” she said. “Then the judge would determine if they will be fined or probation or whatever the judge deems appropriate.”
Henry said even though they don’t get the special event or event registration permits filed with ACCPD, the group has to fill out some paperwork.
“Actually, we get permits for certain things,” he said. “We have to get liability. We have to get insurance for every party because there are a lot of people there and a lot of liability involved, especially since it’s a non-profit organization.”
Henry said the group takes steps to keep the inconvenience of a huge party in the neighborhood to a minimum, even with the noise violations.
“We try to go to all the houses around us and be like 'hey, we’re going to throw a party tonight at this time. Is it OK?’ kind of thing,” he said. “We want it to be open to anyone and that’s just the place we can do it is at our house.”
Henry said they make an effort to organize the large numbers of cars that come as a result of a big party and avoid inconveniencing the residents.
“Cops, they don’t really care as long as you park on the right side of the street so as long as we have an entrance and an exit people can always get out,” he said. “If it gets too crazy — which it has in the past — we ask people to park at Women’s Sports Complex and we run shuttles of trucks of people.”
Henry also said the brothers who throw the parties stay after each party to clean up the mess.
Hayley Godwin, a sophomore music therapy major from Douglasville living in Pineview, said she loves the PhiSlam parties.
“The reason that I actually moved to Pineview was because of the PhiSlam parties and because that’s where a lot of my friends live,” she said.
She said even though the parties don’t bother her at all, she could see where people might get annoyed with some aspects of them.
“Parking is definitely an issue,” she said. “It’s OK for the big party because we park at the Women’s Soccer Complex, but for the smaller parties it can be a real problem. It’s crazy.”
She also said it does get very loud, so if people didn’t know moving in that Pineview was a PhiSlam area, they may be unhappy. But she said she thinks most people understand the nature of the complex.
“I could see how other people could have a problem with it because it’s really loud and stuff,” she said. “I feel like if [people] don’t want to have to deal with something like that, then people just don’t move there.”
She said she is happy with PhiSlam and enjoys the parties because it is a positive atmosphere and the brothers throwing them are friendly. She said she believes most people don’t have a problem with the events.
“I don’t know that anyone ever comes to Pineview and doesn’t know about the parties,” she said. “For the most part I think the people that live there really enjoy it and that’s why they move there.”