Kudos to the Port Richey City Council for listening to all the ruckus about its noise ordinance. This week, the council retreated from its iron-fisted enforcement of city rules that prohibit all amplified noise at outdoor business establishments. Instead, the council agreed to a new ordinance that includes decibel level measurements to determine if sound from a speaker, television or stereo is disturbing people away from the property. Final approval is expected later this month.
It is a sensible solution to a problem that had waterfront businesses making a lot of noise on their own about unfair rules and lost customers.
Complaints about noise in the city — including music from outdoor dining and drinking establishments — have surfaced periodically. As noted previously, some is this is a result of past council actions, which allowed the spot zoning of a bar and restaurant in a largely residential neighborhood on the south side of the Pithlachascotee River.
So, in late September, enforcement of the city's noise ordinance began anew with police citing waterfront restaurants-taverns for excessive noise. According to the ordinance, excessive is any amplified noise. Issuing $65 citations for breaking a vague and overbearing standard is counterproductive to a city that wants a bustling commercial district along parts of the river.
The council is correct to promote a compromise. Banning outdoor noise might look good in an ordinance code, but it sounds terrible from a waterfront deck.