INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — Live music at the city's popular entertainment establishments is not always appreciated, especially by residents in nearby homes and condos.
The issue came to a head in February when the City Commission asked a special ad hoc committee to study how best to regulate sound levels at JD's Restaurant, Cusos Club & Cantina, Crabby Bills, My Place, Jimmy Guana's and other venues offering live entertainment.
Last week, the committee issued its final report and tonight at 6, the proposed regulations governing loud music at bars and restaurants in the city will be debated during a special City Commission workshop.
The committee's recommendations balance individual establishments' differing histories and locations, "proactive planning" to help establishments regulate noise levels themselves, and responding to "reasonable complaints" from residents.
Most of the prior complaints came from residents along Gulf Boulevard and from the Shipwatch Yacht & Tennis Club on the Intracoastal Waterway in Largo.
However, during the three months the committee worked on the noise abatement recommendations, there have been "very few" complaints from residents, according to City Manager Chuck Coward.
"The challenge is to find a way for the residential community to peacefully coexist with the live music community," Coward said. "The key is going to be how strong the enforcement effort should be."
Coward said he particularly likes the committee's efforts to address noise issues "before they become complaints."
The committee's recommendations set maximum permissible sound levels as measured by sound meters.
A strict entertainment permitting process is a key part of the committee' recommendations and includes requiring a site plan showing proximity to adjacent residential properties, site visits by the city manager or his staff, noise mitigation strategies and public hearings.
Outdoor music would be restricted to between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily.
Potential violations would be investigated by either a "reasonable man standard" at the location of the complaining party or by sound meter measurements made either at the entertainment venue or the complainant's location.
Repeated violations would result in escalating fines up to $500 and possible suspension or even revocation of the entertainment license.