Ybor Noise Ordinance to go into effect By Mitch E. Perry02/09/06
Today the Tampa City Council approved a new Noise Ordinance designed primarily to bring down the noise in Ybor City.
Under the new law, establishments that exceed the legal noise limits will initially receive a warning. But a 2nd violation brings serious consequences Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a misdemeanor citation, and a possible $500 fine, 60 days in jail or six months of probation.
The Ordinance passed despite the complaints from those who came before the Council, such as Attorney Jennifer DÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Angelo , who represents several busineses in the historic district . She warned that a penalty provision in the new ordinance would have a difficult time in Court (roll tape#1 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?
"You're going to have to show that someone in a responsible relationship permit, suffered or allowed these violations to occur. And you're going to have a hard time doing that when you can't decide if it's the band that's doing it, if it's the manager that's allowing it, if it's the DJ or whoever. Um, and I think that's why it might be helpful to revisit this and maybe allow TPD or code enforcement to work with these clubs on an non-hours basis."
non hours basisÃ¢â‚¬?)
The decibel levels themselves are not being altered Ã¢â‚¬â€œ simply the enforcement of them. The maximum noise level in Ybor City would remain at 85 decibels from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. Bass tones would be measured and limited to 87 decibels.
Carmine Iavarone runs CarmineÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s on 7th avenue. He said the Ordinance is incomplete, and the penalties are too onerous. (roll tape#2 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?a good business thereÃ¢â‚¬?)
"There are some nights that you can play the music loud, I believe, like Gasparilla, or Year's Eve or Guavaween. I mean, why is it okay on those nights? It's sending a mixed message to the people, to our customers. We want to be good neighbors. We want it to be good in Ybor City. We have a Good business there. "
Tampa Police have been asking that the Council increase the penalties for noise violators in Ybor for years now. Upon hearing IavaroneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s complaints, City Councilman Sean Harrison suggested he come up with concrete improvements, or move on (roll tape#3 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to kill usÃ¢â‚¬?)
"I think it would be very helpful, if, the speakers who wanted us to not pass this would rather than simply coming up and saying this is bad, you need to re-think it -- have you considered X,Y and Z? -- that there are specific recommendations to make it better, as opposed to what we're hearing which is what we hear everytime we bring this issue up: and that is simply we don't like it, you're going to run us out of business or it's going to kill us."
Two weeks ago, Rose Ferlita was the only Councilmember who voted against the proposed Ordinance when it appeared for 1st Reading , saying it was targeting just the bar industry. But at the meeting she said it was important that the Council not delay in acting on maintaining the Noise level, and stressed that the situation would improve if business owners self-governed the noise eminating from their establishments.
Ferlita also was critical that there are currently only 2 Noise Monitors used by the entire Tampa Police Department (roll tape#4 O.Q.Ã¢â‚¬? ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s crazyÃ¢â‚¬?)
"That's nonsense. That's like, you know, having a gun with no bullets because we don't have enough equipment. We have to have more devices for them to be able to do this on a regular basis, on an irregular basis or on an unsuspecting time or on an unsuspecting schedule, but that's the first thing. We're talking about tightening up enforcement. they don't even have the equipment to do it. Which is crazy."
Later on a representative from the Police Department said that those Noise Monitors cost $5,000 a piece, but the Department would be requesting more in the next budget.
Citizen Jennifer Meadows was critical for what is NOT included in the proposed Ordinance. Her longstanding beef is with a business located near her home which cannot be regulated, because of an exception in current City code for busses, trains, ships and trucks in good repair (roll tape#5 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?unimpeded by the lawÃ¢â‚¬?)
"What is the intent of that excemption? If the intent is to permit the operation of those vehicles on the appropriate roadways, railways, waterways and airways, then please clarify this and close that loophole. Otherwise, explain to me why Ybor nightclub owners and other individuals in Tampa are compelled to comply, but a business such as the one in our neighborhood can continue to violate its residential neighbors' right to peace and quiet, with, you know unimpeded by the law."
City of TampaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Municipal Prosecutor David Shobe said the loophole was established because trucks in good repair are an interstate commerce issue. ..He said the issue could only be resolved thru a zoning ordinance (roll tape#6 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬? zoning issueÃ¢â‚¬?)
"She indicates there are yard tractors that are used, there are trucks that are coming and going. Unfortunately this is not a situation the city can exactly regulate -- at least not under noise. If we were to address it the proper way to address it would be as a zoning issue."
The Council said they would try to address Meadows particular issue at a different time.
But according to Councilwoman Ferlita, who ultimately joined her fellow council members in unanimously approving the Ordinance, that particular problem illustrated why the proposed law still isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t comprehensive enough in addressing complaints about noise throughout Tampa (roll tape#7 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬? type of Noise OrdinanceÃ¢â‚¬?)
"While we're trying to get some relief for noise ordinance issues down there in Ybor, we're over looking things that are effecting the quality of life for people like Miss Meadows. We have to take care of everything that's going on, not just a particular sector, not a particular portion of town, not a particular type of noice ordinance."
The CityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Legal Department is also currently working on a proposal to present to the City Council that could give them the power to suspend licenses of wayward owners.