Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa moves to muffle loud car stereos

TAMPA — Blast your car stereo in the city of Tampa and you could soon be fined $250 or more.

The City Council on Thursday approved a new, tougher noise ordinance giving police the authority to cite drivers whose stereos are plainly audible 50 feet away.

If it wins final approval June 6, the ordinance would make a first offense a $250 civil infraction and a second offense a $450 infraction. Three or more violations could bring up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

The vote came after two years of complaints from East Tampa homeowners who say thundering car stereos rattle their windows, ruin their sleep and disrupt their Sunday worship.

"The music is unbearable," said Essie Sims Jr., chairman of the East Tampa Partnership, an association of more than a dozen neighborhood groups.

Brenda Mobley said her church is next to a four-way stop, and "during the church service, you hear this nasty language that comes from these cars."

"They're not respectful even of a church, and I'm asking that you do something," said Mobley, the secretary of the Eastern Heights Neighborhood Association and Crime Watch.

Police and council members have been sympathetic, but initiatives to tighten Tampa's noise ordinance were stymied while a controversial car stereo case worked its way to the Florida Supreme Court. In December, justices declared the state's ban on loud stereos unconstitutional because it prohibited loud music while allowing drivers to broadcast amplified political and commercial speech. This spring, the Legislature considered a bill to address the flaw in the state law, but the measure didn't pass.

Meanwhile, the problem continued. Citywide, police received 3,220 noise complaints during the six months from Nov. 15 through Wednesday.

"They're calling my office continuously regarding the noise," police Maj. Diane Hobley-Burney told the council.

City attorneys had recommended making the new ordinance's restrictions enforceable from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. during the work week and from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. on weekends, but council members, after hearing from residents and police, decided to give officers the authority to write tickets around the clock.

"It has been really 24-7," said Betty Bell, 72, who lives in the Highland Pines neighborhood. "I have spoken to several seniors who could not be here today but who asked me, 'Please say something, because at night when I'm trying to sleep my head is bouncing off the pillow.' "

Council member Lisa Montelione cast the only vote against the ordinance. She said she supported it, but objected to incarcerating repeat offenders.

"Jail time is going to put a lot of young people behind bars who are going to get records and who are not going to be able to get jobs," she said.

Better, Montelione said, would be to impound the cars of the offenders.

But she was alone on that.

"The only way this ordinance is going to work is if the penalties attached to it are steep enough to keep people from repeatedly violating it," council member Harry Cohen said. "There is absolutely no excuse for repeatedly blaring your car stereo so loud that people cannot sleep. It's not something that you should have one, two, three, four warnings before we do anything with any teeth in it."

Richard Danielson can be reached at danielson@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3403.

Tampa moves to muffle loud car stereos 05/16/13 [Last modified: Thursday, May 16, 2013 11:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)

    World

    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.