Advertisement
  1. News

Noise ordinance, with changes, gets final approval in New Port Richey

New Port Richey is promising to start cracking down on its revised noise ordinance, especially downtown after 11 p.m.
Published Mar. 8, 2017

NEW PORT RICHEY — A promised crackdown is coming for violators of a newly revised noise ordinance in New Port Richey.

City Council members on Tuesday night unanimously approved the ordinance, which not only keeps recently approved decibel levels for certain hours of the day in residential and nonresidential areas, but also adds language geared toward dealing with sound that meters do not pick up, such as low-level bass coming from establishments and vehicles.

Another change, which raised eyebrows on the council and among some members of the public, allows police officers to use their own ears to determine whether to issue a citation.

The original ordinance set the maximum level in residential areas at 55 decibels from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and to 50 decibels from 10:01 p.m. to 6:59 a.m. In nonresidential areas, up to 70 decibels is allowed from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and the limit drops to 55 decibels from 11:01 p.m. to 6:59 a.m. The ordinance allows police officers to take meter readings from any property adjacent to a site identified by a complainant.

As a comparison, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration lists typical sound levels for a conversation 3 feet away at 60 decibels, classroom chatter at 70 decibels and a nightclub with music at 110 decibels.

Several months after the initial ordinance was enacted, complaints over noise continued to pour in from the public as meters failed to pick up low-frequency sound and ambient noise coming from downtown restaurants and bars.

In response, the city staff added to the ordinance a provision allowing police to issue a citation if officers can hear noise that is "plainly audible from any property at a distance of 100 feet from the property line of the property which is the source of the sound between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m."

Also, the ordinance now bans "sound-amplifying equipment located on or within any motor vehicle plainly audible from a distance of 100 feet."

Passage of the ordinance nearly stalled as council members questioned whether the "plainly audible" language would hold up in court.

"Plainly audible is in the ear of the beholder, if you will," Mayor Rob Marlowe said.

Assurance from City Attorney Timothy Driscoll that such language has been approved by higher courts and is being used by other Florida jurisdictions — plus police Chief Kim Bogart's assertion that his officers can make cases that will hold up in court — led to the unanimous council vote.

Bogart said noise coming from downtown has become such a problem that he pledged strict enforcement if police receive verifiable complaints.

"At 11 o'clock, our gloves are going to come off," he said. "I'm really frustrated in dealing with this noise problem."

In other action, the council approved spending $150,000 for construction of two shade structures at Sims Parks, off Main Street. The expenditure is part of ongoing upgrades at the park over the past year that have cost more than $3 million.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. A sign seen on the front door of Pom Pom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria in March, after owner Tom Woodard stopped serving drinks with plastic straws. The St. Petersburg City Council voted 5-2 on Thursday night to ban single-use plastic straws. [CHRIS URSO  |  Times]
    The City Council tweaked its own ordinance banning single-use plastic straws, which is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
  2. Student activists with the March For Our Lives group, founded after the Feb. 2018 Parkland shooting, hold a banner that promotes their new "peace plan" to prevent gun violence, while demonstrating in the rotunda of the state capitol building in Tallahassee. Emily L. Mahoney | Times
    The 18-year-old student director of March for Our Lives Florida said school shootings are so common they are “not shocking” anymore.
  3. Steven Currall prepares to deliver an address during his investiture as the University of South Florida's seventh president Thursday at the Yuengling Center in Tampa. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    Though he started the job in July, Steve Currall is officially installed as president on his 137th day in office.
  4. Apollo Global Management has offered $130 per share for Tech Data's stock in an acquisition worth $5.4 billion. If regulators shareholders approve, the home-grown company will remain based in Pinellas County, where it employs 2,000 of its 14,000 workers. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Private equity firms like Apollo create wealth for pension funds, financial institutions and individual investors by buying assets that typically are sold later at a profit.
  5. Some of Tampa Bay's largest companies are being sold or are up for sale. Times files and Bloomin' Brands
    Tech Data is just the latest in a growing list of public companies bought up by out-of-state firms.
  6. Gov. Ron DeSantis greets local officials at Dunedin High School on Oct. 7, 2019, part of a swing around the state to announce his plan to boost starting teacher pay in Florida to $47,500. He revealed a related teacher bonus plan on Nov. 14 in Vero Beach. MEGAN REEVES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The new plan would replace the controversial Best and Brightest model that DeSantis had called confusing.
  7. The "#9pmroutine" is a core social media feature for the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. Now, the agency has a copyright on it. Facebook
    Copyrighting a key part of the agency’s social media presence isn’t meant to limit its reach, the office said, but rather to stop bad actors.
  8. USF student Gabriela Young is the owner of Earth and Ivory, an online jewelry business with items made out of clay.  [Special to the Times | Sarah Foster] SARAH FOSTER  |  Special to the Times | @sarahtheartiste
    Gabriela Young went from selling bracelets to friends to making clay wares for customers with her business, Earth and Ivory.
  9. Chief Veterinarian Mallory Offner examines a female rescue puppy at the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center in Tampa. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    With 250 of the pooches ready for adoption, each potential puppy parent has a 1-in-4 shot at getting picked in today’s drawing.
  10. Eight vehicles were involved in a fiery and fatal crash late Wednesday that left two people dead and shut down northbound Interstate 75 bridging Hillsborough and Pasco counties, authorities said. The driver of the white van pictured above, George Pagan of Tampa, said he saw the semi-trailer truck, left, sliding sideways toward him in his rearview mirror before impact. Pasco Fire Rescue
    The chain-reaction crash that closed the northbound lanes near the Pasco-Hillsborough line started when a semi-trailer truck driver didn’t stop for traffic, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement