Friday, April 14, 2017

The Politics of Noise

From 2009-2016 there were 27,638 calls to police for noise and no citations were issued for businesses or residences

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin

Last week, I published three articles written by Robert Neff detailing his lengthy struggle with the City of St. Petersburg regarding the City's noise ordinance. The Series will continue next week.

"Based upon the data, my conclusion is simple. The City of St. Petersburg has the worst noise ordinance in the nation because no business or residence has been cited for repeated offenses. – Robert Neff

In case you missed them, here are links to each of Mr. Neff's previous articles.

Mr. Neff's struggles with the City are about a specific location and a specific business, but the greater issue is why it is so difficult for the City St. Petersburg to come to grips with the noise issue.

St. Pete is not alone see Robert Napper, Tampa Bay Times correspondent; Noise ordinance, with changes, gets final approval in New Port Richey.

Excessive noise is an elusive target, often gone or changed by the time  police or enforcement officials are on-site and in many cases difficult to quantify.

There have been any number of high profile noise cases in St. Petersburg, Janis Landings and Bayfront Towers, a long battle over excessively loud car stereos in South St. Pete and citywide.

According to Mr. Neff's research, " From 2009-2016 there were 27,638 calls to police for noise and no citations were issued for businesses or residences."

That statistic indicates a complete failure on the part of the City to adequately construct an enforceable ordinance and give law enforcement working tools to deal with the noise issue.

Noise ordinances usually affect business, and business interests are always going to try to carve out a special exception for their own benefit. That is what makes writing a workable noise ordinance so difficult.

Mr. Neff has invested a lot of time and effort into his research regarding his specific problem. Reactions from City Council members and the Police department are surprising to say the least.

It is time for the City Legal Department to develop and City Council to adopt and require enforcement of a workable noise ordinance.

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