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Noisy nightclub closes in wake of sound law

A sign in a window at Planet Bubba blames Hernando County and the Sheriff's Office for putting the club out of business.

Since it opened a year ago, neighbors of the controversial Planet Bubba have complained that the nightclub's bass-heavy music has disturbed their lives.

Last week, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office lowered the boom on the club, citing owners under a new law and slapping them with a $500 fine.

Saturday, signs in the window declared that Planet Bubba had closed.

"The unemployed former employees would like to thank the Hernando County Sheriff's Department and the County Commission for their part in this," read one black and white sign. Another thanked the club's customers and promised that Planet Bubba will open a "newer and bigger" location soon.

As far as Roberto Arrastia knew, Saturday was to herald the start of "Sink or Swim" where patrons could drink all night for $5. But the former Planet Bubba bouncer said he was told the club had been closed for good after Friday night's crowds left.

"I didn't expect them to just close up like that," said Arrastia, who has a job prospect at the new Suds & Jugs Carwash in Spring Hill. "I was surprised."

Last week, Arrastia defended Planet Bubba to county commissioners, telling them the club should not be held responsible for the actions of its patrons outside the building.

Earlier this month, commissioners said Hernando County businesses licensed to serve alcohol would face fines and possible jail time if noise levels disturb neighbors. The "unlawful sound" ordinance covers the bass-heavy music neighbors say shook their rafters.

"We are very happy about this," said Jeanette Sprague, a neighbor who fought to have Planet Bubba silenced. "The object was not to cost anyone money, it was to get our neighborhood back."

Armed with video cameras, Sprague said she and other concerned neighbors chronicled what went on outside the club each week. "Everything they said doesn't go on, we have on tape," she said.

Sprague said she shared with Hernando County Commission members videotape of patrons carrying alcohol outside the club, taking drugs and urinating in the bushes outside.

"I'm just happy that it's over," Sprague said.

Club owners Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, a disc jockey, and Richard Fabrizi could not be reached for comment Sunday.