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CITY ISSUE: Should St. Petersburg crack down on noise at Jannus Landing?

St. Petersburg government's attempt to crack down on music concerts at Jannus Landing downtown is drawing attention at more than just City Hall. When City Issue last week asked readers their opinions about Jannus Landing and the city's noise ordinance, more than 300 people responded. Many of the letters in support were written on fliers that included a copy of the City Issue question along with a separate headline that demanded: Save The Concerts At Jannus Landing. Overall, the responses ran about two-to-one in favor of the concerts, though coupon surveys are not a scientific gauge of public opinion. The following is a sample of what readers had to say. More responses will be published Sunday.The attitudes being expressed by the majority of the City Council members regarding the Jannus Landing concerts are the same attitudes that led to the decline of downtown in the first place and threaten the revitalization of downtown now. Successful downtowns, by their nature, are places of diversity _ which are sometimes messy, noisy and controversial. Obviously, public safety and order must be maintained, but that really is not the issue here. The issue is intolerance to people and activities that are considered outside the mainstream. Unless our City Council comes to realize that successful downtowns need both Bayfront Centers and Jannus Landings, the $200-million of city money being spent on downtown revitalization will have been wasted.

Timothy N. Clemmons,

St. Petersburg

We would like to remind the City Council of St. Petersburg that the city of New Orleans has gotten the Super Bowl so many times because it is an interesting and exciting place to visit. In the five years that we have lived in Pinellas County, the only evenings that we have visited downtown St. Petersburg were because of concerts at Jannus Landing and the Bayfront Center.

The St. Petersburg taxpayer is spending a lot of money on some very expensive improvements. The St. Petersburg City Council is going to throw all that money down the drain if it does not adopt some new ideas. Using an antiquated noise ordinance to put Jannus Landing out of business is an old idea called "good old boy politics." Is it really the voice of a small minority in the community calling for the demise of Jannus Landing or is it the pocketbooks of a large corporation? Will the voice of the small minority be as effective against The Pier and the Florida Suncoast Dome as it has been against Jannus Landing?

Does the City Council care about all the citizens of the city, including the young people, or does it simply want to maintain its tarnished image as a retirement community?

There are many sound reasons for all the charges and fines against Jannus Landing to be dropped and hopefully a City Council with vision will recognize them.

Camilla & Roger McGuinn,

Indian Rocks Beach

Should St. Petersburg crack down on noise at Jannus Landing?

No! If this city is honestly trying to develop a "center of town," it is unfair to prosecute an activity that is enjoyed by any segment of any particular group of residents. If City Council will stop and look further than the present day, it will see that by denying activities to certain groups of citizens and guests, these same citizens and guests will not participate in any activity the city promotes because of singular favoritism. The city needs, as any city needs, variety to appease all the people.

Steven W. Ball, St. Petersburg

Please count my vote in favor of a city/county noise ordinance. Loud noises that disturb the peace and tranquility of others should be outlawed. Music programs of this nature are certainly harmful to an individual's future hearing ability. For those who like loud music, there is no harm if they are confined (by soundproofing) to the originating premises. Certainly loud music in automobiles should be included in this category.

Tom Dabney, St. Petersburg

If you want this town to die, stamp out its spirit.

W.F. Klement, D.M.D,

St. Petersburg

We, the apartment owners, have brought lasting business to the downtown area. Our investments are high and taxes are heavy. The concertgoers only drive away afterward. No one with whom I have spoken objects to the concerts, only the unbearable loudness, the yelling, language and activity in the parking lots. I cannot believe that this onslaught can bring anything but trouble to our already plagued city.

I applaud the city's stand in this case.

Virginia Kreutz, St. Petersburg

Do not let the residents of Bayfront Tower run the city, or you might as well close down the city and go backward 30 years.

L.K. Gaedert, St. Petersburg

It is obvious the City Council does not know which direction it wishes to go. Having committed tremendous sums, which I agree with, for the redevelopment of downtown, it now allows the rigorous prosecution of a minor noise disturbance at a current downtown focal point of the city. Had I not lived here for the past 13 years, it would be incomprehensible to me to believe that a small, vocal, affluent group of downtown residents could turn the members of City Council, seemingly effortlessly, away from their professed and invested goal so rapidly. The momentum for redevelopment and a much increased tax base is already rolling forward. Those who are future investors in our city's progress through financial and business investments cannot be given continually mixed signals from our political leaders. People are not afraid of risk if the playing field is level. To continually cater to the voices of the past instead of the visionaries of the future shows that our city is not serious about its commitment and, therefore, cannot expect any type of investors to seriously commit to St. Petersburg.

David Gordon, St. Petersburg

The noise ordinance is outdated and should not be allowed to hinder activity in downtown St. Petersburg.

I live close to the downtown area and strongly feel harassing Jannus Landing is outrageous. I do feel a midnight time limit (unless for a very special occasion) is reasonable for any city activity.

I am looking forward to the growth and more activity available in the downtown area. I do not attend concerts at Jannus Landing, but I do enjoy other outdoor musical events at The Pier and Straub Park.

Marilyn Angle, St. Petersburg

I have personally enjoyed thrilling music and songsters in the Jannus Landing courtyard downtown. Why repudiate such a benefit because of occasional noise?

The old downtown was one of lifeless scenes, a languid place where dullness prevailed. The future state of downtown St. Petersburg will be one of exhilarating excitement, of bustling business with parades, plays and pleasures galore. The bottom line is the city's noise ordinance is incongruous with the invigorating downtown St. Petersburg that is soon to be.

Robert B. Fleming,

St. Petersburg

The rights of all people to protection from those who would disturb the peace has always been recognized in our country's customs and laws. The most famous example of this protection is found in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution that provides for "domestic tranquility."

The city must protect all residents against those who disturb the peace to make a profit, whether this be concerts at Jannus Landing or road races.

R.E. Marsh, St. Petersburg

In addition to a gathering spot for the young people of St. Petersburg, Jannus Landing offers a musical alternative to the glitzy, commercialized garbage that is force fed to us daily by our local corporate radio stations. The establishment offers a plethora of music that is not limited to "headbanging," but also includes jazz, reggae and other creative styles of music that are culturally important to many people in this area.

If one were to walk down Central Avenue on any given night after 9, he would see a virtual ghost town with the exception of Jannus Landing. If City Council is concerned with bringing life to the downtown area, it should think twice about removing the only beating heart in an otherwise dead downtown.

Brian Neill, St. Petersburg

We support keeping Jannus Landing open as a downtown entertainment facility. We sincerely hope that the interested parties, including ourselves, will be able to reach agreements and find compromises that will enable the concerts to continue.

As people who regularly head downtown for our entertainment and as parents who often encourage our teen-age daughter to enjoy Station Zero and Jannus Landing as an alternative to traveling U.S. 19, Courtney Campbell, Gandy and the Skyway in search of music and happenings, we want that area open as an option for all of us.

Jannus Landing is only a small beginning to major shifts and changes that this city would have to contend with as our downtown becomes that healthy and robust center that we would like to see it be. We suspect that this controversy will be viewed as a tempest in a teapot compared with the decisions yet to come concerning noise, crowds, traffic, security and inconveniences that will surely follow the downtown development and stadium successes.

We think that entertainment centers like theaters, clubs, restaurants and music venues will be earlier but as healthy and as long-lasting people magnets as the hoped for upscale retail businesses. We probably should start accommodating downtown successes like Jannus Landing and learning from them. Getting people to use facilities downtown is what the redevelopment is all about. Places like Jannus Landing are not deterrents, they are beginnings.

George & Jane Stovall,

St. Petersburg

The noise from Jannus Landing is against the law. It destroys the health and hearing. Alleged noise violations? Come on. It has been measured and measured, and it has been flagrantly high. Seems the Times would be encouraging enforcement of the law. The filthy talk on the street for up to an hour is also a great boon for downtown, after the so-called concerts are over. Does the Times want law or opinion to prevail?

James M. Miles, St. Petersburg

The City Council is exactly right to enforce the noise ordinance at Jannus Landing. I support the council members 100 percent on this issue.

I live four blocks from Jannus Landing, and the concerts annoy me. On the other hand, the noisy St. Petersburg Grand Prix street race does not bother me. The race occurs once a year for three days. It is noisy during the daytime only. This is acceptable and warrants a noise exemption.

The present city noise ordinance should not be changed.

Gerald Mahnken, St. Petersburg

Downtown should be a place of vitality and diversity for everyone. With the new development coming in, residents and city officials will have a lot more to deal with than just a loud concert every now and then. There will be more people, more traffic, more crime, more noise, more everything. Like it or not.

So why accuse an established music venue of being the sole reason for drugs, crime and vandalism in downtown? These problems exist everywhere. Jannus Landing is the only place in St. Petersburg where not only local bands can perform, but bands from all over the world can play. It's a safe, restricted environment for all who attend concerts. The people who abuse drugs and vandalize property are only a minority of the people who go there. Most of us are just out to enjoy the atmosphere of excellent music and have a great time with friends.

Hopefully, the powers that be will not close down Jannus Landing and we will have a place to gather in the spirit of togetherness.

Lisa Franc, Clearwater

The noise at Jannus Landing is not a "city issue" per se _ it is a national breach of courtesy and total lack of consideration for the rights and privileges of others, practiced by so many of our people today.

Nationally, we may all own radios, etc., which we can personally monitor, but we can't turn down our "neighbor's" equipment that drowns out ours, in which we invested for our enjoyment, without offending others.

Richard Coffman,

Treasure Island

The city should crack down on the noise at Jannus Landing. They can have music at an acceptable level if they turn the amps down.

W. Tucker, St. Petersburg

If the noise ordinances are going to be enforced, then they must be enforced for all events: Jannus Landing, concerts in the park, Grand Prix, etc. In order to revitalize the downtown area we need some noise and action.

John Jones, St. Petersburg

Jannus Landing is not such a huge area that amplification by speakers must be used. I'm quite sure that if acoustic instruments (without amplification) were used, there would not be complaints. Why not try it?

Constance Burde, Gulfport

The music scene in St. Petersburg is one of the best examples of what sets our city apart from Tampa and our other neighbors. Jannus Landing is an important cog in this. Please keep this venue open. The inconvenience to a few should not be a detriment to the enjoyment of many.

Randy Benner, St. Petersburg

As a regular concertgoer and Club Detroit patron, I have witnessed more benefits from the existence of Jannus Landing than negative effects. Just to name a few, Jannus Landing provides a safe place for St. Petersburg's youth to congregate, such an attraction increases businesses, and more business means a growing St. Petersburg. I believe that the real meat of the issue lies in the fact that residents of downtown have a hard time accepting that Tampa Bay, including St. Petersburg, will eventually become a thriving metropolis. They have chosen to live in the "center of it all" and with or without Jannus Landing, the noise level downtown will continue to increase.

Natalie Mladenov, St. Petersburg

Jannus Landing should stay open for the wide array of concerts it has offered in the past. St. Petersburg is growing each day into a real city. Why would the city officials undermine their own efforts by shutting down one of the most important cultural centers in St. Petersburg? The most serious repercussion will be that young people will move away to places that offer more. The present noise ordinance is outdated. Here are the options: Continue concerts and honor the 11 p.m. ordinance, build a roof over the courtyard, or construct a permanent outdoor pavilion in Straub Park.

Nicole Barnett, St. Petersburg