IRB Getting Serious About Subduing Noise
By Leo Coughlin
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - Noise emanating from nightclubs has long been a source of complaint here.
In the latest replay of the problem, some residents say they are being assaulted with noise and they want the City Commission to do something about it.
After dithering for months, the commission has decided to amend the noise code for a three-month trial period and thus prohibit amplified sounds from outside and those coming from indoors.
Of course, the problem pits owners of entertainment spots against the very customers, very often, they are trying to attract.
And legally the city sits as arbiter in determining the rights of those who want no noise and those who, by very definition of their entertainment venues, create noise.
The question is what is an acceptable level?
The city has been on this path before. Some years ago, decibel readings were taken and experts testified on what is annoying and even damaging to the human hearing function.
Mostly, it seems, the residents find loud music at later hours annoying.
Courts have recognized the rights of people to be protected from excessive noise, so the city has a foundation to act on the basis of the welfare of citizens.
Some of those who complain and assert their right to "quiet enjoyment" of their property confuse noise and the legal meaning of "quiet enjoyment," which has nothing to do, necessarily, with the toning down of music.
And those who operate entertainment spots where noise is part of the scene can make the argument that airports make - you knew we were here when you moved in.
Some place in between, sensible heads on the commission believe, a compromise and accommodation can be found.
One commission member points out that the Florida Constitution specifically addressees the problem and adds that "We have ordinances that forbid loud cars and motorcycles, construction before a certain hour, et cetera, so how can it be all right for people to be blown out of their homes by amplified music until 10 o'clock every night?"
The state Constitution and court decisions place the responsibility for controlling this kind of nuisance on the municipality.
Another subject, around for years, and rising to the surface again is the idea of undergrounding utilities.
The city is looking into getting cost estimates from Progress Energy, Brighthouse and Verizon.
Given the expense of that kind of project measured against the current financial crunch in all sectors, the idea will no doubt return to the back burner.
Return to Current Edition