Saturday, May 26, 2018
Editorials

Reason rises above chorus of noise complaints in Port Richey

The sound coming from Port Richey City Hall last week was the shredding of yet another municipal noise-control ordinance. Rightly so. As originally proposed, the latest quest to quiet noise complaints was heavy-handed and resembled little more than a thinly disguised attempt to pull the plug on all entertainment at waterside bars and restaurants.

A council majority, with the help of about 20 business owners, entertainers and residents, recognized the unfairness of an over-reaching plan to let police measure noise 50 feet from the source. In effect, it would end live music or even loud talking inside a business.

Instead, the council stuck with its current standard — embedded in an emergency ordinance adopted 15 months ago — to measure noise from the property line.

It is a reasonable rule that is more in tune with ordinances in other jurisdictions, notably Pasco County, where commercial noise is considered at "the nearest closest adjacent residentially zoned property line'' and sound in residential neighborhoods is measured at the property line of the noise source.

The latest rewrite of the city ordinance, which still must be approved by Council on a second reading, is indicative of Port Richey's never-ending effort of trying to balance the rights of residents to enjoy domestic tranquility with the desires of business owners seeking to lure customers to their waterfront locations. The city's relatively tiny size, and previous spot zoning decisions that put commercial enterprises in residential areas, exacerbate the dilemma.

Much of the debate has been heard before because of a previous archaic and overbearing ordinance that contained no decibel-level standards and instead prohibited amplified noise outdoors. A September 2010 crackdown triggered high-profile balking from the hospitality industry and resulted in a temporary ordinance that still guides enforcement today.

The most recent attempt to supplant the 2010 ordinance with a permanent measure spurred the latest brouhaha that brought citizens to the council chambers April 10. Some expressed fears of civil liberty violations from police coming uninvited on private property to enforce the 50-foot rule.

Setting noise rules shouldn't lead to such boisterous objections. Peace and quiet will be hard to come by if the key to enforcement is an intruding decibel meter. Likewise, the bars and restaurants should be cognizant of the potential noise complaints and turn down the volume when asked. A good cover band might bring in the crowd, but being a good neighbor is never bad for business, either.

Comments
Editorial: Welcome Bayshore changes still canít stop bad judgment

Editorial: Welcome Bayshore changes still canít stop bad judgment

Itís human nature in following any tragedy to imagine: How could this have been prevented? On that score, the city of Tampa responded appropriately to the deaths this week of a mother and her toddler whom police say were hit by a teenage driver racin...
Published: 05/25/18
Editorial: Filling Rocky Point lagoon to build townhomes is an empty-headed idea

Editorial: Filling Rocky Point lagoon to build townhomes is an empty-headed idea

One of the worst ideas in a long time in the field of urban planning received a blessing this month when the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission approved a land-use change for a project that calls for filling three acres of water insi...
Published: 05/25/18
Editorial: Searching for the real Adam Putnam

Editorial: Searching for the real Adam Putnam

Send out an Amber Alert for Adam Putnam. The red-haired, affable fellow who has served capably as a state legislator, member of Congress and agriculture commissioner is missing. In his place is a far-right caricature who has branded himself as a prou...
Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18
Editorial: A strong economic case for restoring voting rights for felons

Editorial: A strong economic case for restoring voting rights for felons

Floridians are paying a steep price for a system that makes it as difficult as possible for people who leave prison to reintegrate into civic life. Gov. Rick Scottís clemency process isnít just archaic and cruel ó it also wastes enormous public resou...
Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18
Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Regardless of the reason, the cancellation of the U.S.-North Korea summit to address Pyonyangís nuclear program is hardly the worst possible outcome of this high-stakes diplomatic gamble. President Donald Trump was unprepared, North Koreaís Kim Jong ...
Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18

NFL kneels before the altar of profits

The owners of the 32 National Football League teams sent a wrongheaded and, frankly, un-American message to their players Wednesday: Expressing your opinion during the national anthem is no longer permitted."A club will be fined by the League if its ...
Published: 05/24/18

Editorial: A positive first step in ensuring student access at USFSP

As a task force sorts out countless details involved in folding the University of South Florida St. Petersburg back into the major research university based in Tampa, ensuring access for good Pinellas students remains a concern. An enhanced cooperati...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/25/18
Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Legislation that waters down the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and was sent to President Donald Trump this week is a mixed bag at best. Some provisions recognize that Congress may have gone too far in some areas in the wake of the Great Recession to place new ...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/24/18
Editorial: Honoring our fallen soldiers on Memorial Day

Editorial: Honoring our fallen soldiers on Memorial Day

The rising tensions with Iran, the resurgence of violence in the Mideast and the uncertainty over a nuclear disarmament deal with North Korea combine to create an unsettling time this Memorial Day. These grave threats to peace are another reminder of...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Another voice: The chutzpah of these men

A new phase of the #MeToo movement may be upon us. Call it the "not so fast" era: Powerful men who plotted career comebacks mere months after being taken down by accusations of sexual misconduct now face even more alarming claims.Mario Batali, the ce...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18