Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Noise ordinance, with changes, gets final approval in New Port Richey

New Port Richey is promising to start cracking down on its revised noise ordinance, especially downtown after 11 p.m.

Times

New Port Richey is promising to start cracking down on its revised noise ordinance, especially downtown after 11 p.m.

NEW PORT RICHEY — A promised crackdown is coming for violators of a newly revised noise ordinance in New Port Richey.

City Council members on Tuesday night unanimously approved the ordinance, which not only keeps recently approved decibel levels for certain hours of the day in residential and nonresidential areas, but also adds language geared toward dealing with sound that meters do not pick up, such as low-level bass coming from establishments and vehicles.

Another change, which raised eyebrows on the council and among some members of the public, allows police officers to use their own ears to determine whether to issue a citation.

The original ordinance set the maximum level in residential areas at 55 decibels from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and to 50 decibels from 10:01 p.m. to 6:59 a.m. In nonresidential areas, up to 70 decibels is allowed from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and the limit drops to 55 decibels from 11:01 p.m. to 6:59 a.m. The ordinance allows police officers to take meter readings from any property adjacent to a site identified by a complainant.

As a comparison, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration lists typical sound levels for a conversation 3 feet away at 60 decibels, classroom chatter at 70 decibels and a nightclub with music at 110 decibels.

Several months after the initial ordinance was enacted, complaints over noise continued to pour in from the public as meters failed to pick up low-frequency sound and ambient noise coming from downtown restaurants and bars.

In response, the city staff added to the ordinance a provision allowing police to issue a citation if officers can hear noise that is "plainly audible from any property at a distance of 100 feet from the property line of the property which is the source of the sound between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m."

Also, the ordinance now bans "sound-amplifying equipment located on or within any motor vehicle plainly audible from a distance of 100 feet."

Passage of the ordinance nearly stalled as council members questioned whether the "plainly audible" language would hold up in court.

"Plainly audible is in the ear of the beholder, if you will," Mayor Rob Marlowe said.

Assurance from City Attorney Timothy Driscoll that such language has been approved by higher courts and is being used by other Florida jurisdictions — plus police Chief Kim Bogart's assertion that his officers can make cases that will hold up in court — led to the unanimous council vote.

Bogart said noise coming from downtown has become such a problem that he pledged strict enforcement if police receive verifiable complaints.

"At 11 o'clock, our gloves are going to come off," he said. "I'm really frustrated in dealing with this noise problem."

In other action, the council approved spending $150,000 for construction of two shade structures at Sims Parks, off Main Street. The expenditure is part of ongoing upgrades at the park over the past year that have cost more than $3 million.

Noise ordinance, with changes, gets final approval in New Port Richey 03/08/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 8, 2017 3:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Study: Tampa Bay a top market for homebuyers on the move

    Real Estate

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, ATTOM Data Solutions says.

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, a survey found.
[Associated Press file photo]
  2. Tampa lawyer Fred Ridley to be new chairman of Augusta National, Masters' home (w/ video)

    Golf

    AUGUSTA, Ga. — Fred Ridley first came to Augusta National to compete in the 1976 Masters as the U.S. Amateur champion, and he played the opening round in the traditional pairing with the defending champion, Jack Nicklaus.

  3. Rays send down Chase Whitley, Andrew Kittredge; add Chih-Wei Hu, activate Alex Cobb

    Blogs

    After having to cover more than five innings following a short start by Austin Pruitt, the Rays shuffled their bullpen following Wednesday's game, sending down RHPs Chase Whitley and Andrew Kittredge,

    The Kittredge move was expected, as he was summoned to add depth to the pen Wednesday in advance of RHP Alex …

  4. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred moves closer to wanting a decision on Rays stadium

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred called Wednesday for urgency from Tampa Bay area government leaders to prioritize and move quicker on plans for a new Rays stadium.

    MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred talks with reporters at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.
  5. Six home runs doom Rays in loss to Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — A curve that didn't bounce was the difference Wednesday as the Rays lost 7-6 to the Blue Jays in front of 8,264, the smallest Tropicana field crowd since Sept. 5, 2006.

    Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (11) greets center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) at the plate after his two run home run in the third inning of the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.