The Sarasota County Commission is considering passing a revised noise ordinance possibly as soon as November. WMNF’s Kim Farley reports.

(Cue Spontaneous Habit) Residents in Sarasota are afraid that their ability to listen to this and mow their lawn early on Saturday morning’s may be no more if the proposed noise ordinance passes the County Commission.

The revised ordinance will combine three separate ordinances in an effort to ease enforcement and reduce confusion. The three ordinances include nightclub special exemptions, nuisance noise, and noise pollution.

In 1997 a sound ordinance passed in the city of Sarasota that many see as the cause for the failure of some restaurants and outdoor music venues, which has caused a slowdown in the economic and social atmosphere. Dawn Hochberg (Hawkberg), Talent Director of the Cock & Bull Pub, comments on this and why she thinks the County Commission is considering these revisions (Soundbite 10, OQ …due to the sound ordinance). She also sees possible unintended consequences for her business. (Soundbite 9, OQ… shut them down.)

The revised ordinance could stop music as early as 8pm. The current ordinance stops it at 10pm, although some restaurants have special exceptions… but not all restaurants have been able to get this exception and have seen a reduction in their business. Fred Salih, owner of Fandango, (Soundbite 6, OQ …because of it). He believes a further reduction in customer numbers is inevitable if live music has to stop sooner.

Jose Zornitta, county environmental specialist notes that the county is concerned with the impact this ordinance could have on businesses. (Soundbite 2, QO …grow in this county)

Jennifer Sweet (Sweat) is the lead singer of local group Jennifer and the Venturas. She has seen the effect of the prior ordinance in businesses closing and worries what the revisions could do for her career. (Soundbite 4, OQ …my living).

Many believe that the ordinance is too strict pointing out sections that mandate at 8 pm, musicians must stop, businesses can’t empty their garbage in a noisy manner, and all construction must stop, even if it is on your own property.. Jose Zornitta, county environmental specialist. (Soundbite 1, OQ …think it’s too strict)

The feedback is already starting to have an effect. Sections that are being reconsidered in the current draft include music not being stopped at 8pm, modifications in what would be considered prohibitive conduct, and whether or not a complaint would be required to enforce the ordinance. However, these are not set in stone and there is no guarantee that they will make it to the next draft of the ordinance, although it is a possibility… infringement

On Tuesday July 1, there will be a public meeting on the zoning ordinance located at 4000 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice.

On August 7, there will be a workshop to hammer out details for the sound ordinance. A revised draft will be available at least two weeks prior.

For more information call Jose Zornitta at 941-861-6236 or visit a new citizens website at

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