Proposed Countywide Noise Ordinance

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Groovegirls, May 1, 2009.

  1. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    Ch 7, 10pm news last night, covered both bed tax and noise ordinance. More of the noise ordinance.

    From experience, I can tell you that simple objections to parts of the proposed ordinances are not enough for the County to reject the ordinance as written. The Commissioners want suggestions for changes, and they are not likely to come up with them on their own.

    In my opinion, we wouldn't be having this discussion if we had zoning in Walton County. Many of our bars and restaurants are located in neighborhood plats, which have commercial use, and typically back up to residential properties. If our area had been planned, we would have buffer zoning between commercial and residential property. It will be almost impossible to implement zoning, without disrupting current businesses.

    As for Noise Ordinances, they are difficult at best to enforce in a Court of Law, if you have a half-way decent attorney representing you. Regardless of how the noise is quantified, there are problems which cause cases to be tossed out.

    The Sheriff said something at last night's meeting, which is spot-on accurate. (and I'm paraphrasing) He said that you are trying to legislate people to be neighborly. He spoke the truth about that.

    No musician who spoke seemed against having a noise ordinance. They just want to know how to play by the rules. It would be like not having a posted speed limit, but having law enforcement enforce the speed by an eye gauge. "They look like they are going to fast, so I'll give them a ticket." Most speeding tickets issued use radar guns as their evidence against the speeder. If the officer is not radar certified, the Judge may throw out the case, if the attorney calls them on it. No difference here in my opinion. Give people standards. The Sheriff also noted that if a deputy came on the scene to a noise call, he would give everyone a warning, and would walk out to the distance (50ft) of enforcement, to show that the sound was audible. The only problem with that is that if the amplified musician is the alleged violator, how will they be able to hear themselves if they have to stop playing to walk 50ft from the property?

    Regardless of how this ordinance is written, it will likely be deemed unConstitutional by a Court, if called in question. (I'm not a lawyer. I just read a lot.) It may require some jail time and defense funds, but it sure seems legally unenforceable regardless of the method of measurement.

    The four speakers in favor of the ordinance (some came with proposed amendments), were all victims of wedding houses being next door -- very legitimate complaints of commercial operations being thrust into a residential neighborhood. None made reference to restaurants and bars having music. I think their issues are bigger issues, which should be handled by existing laws on the books. They don't need noise ordinances to handle their situations.
     
  2. Camellia

    Camellia Beach Fanatic

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    Does the democratic party of Walton County still video the BCC meetings?
     
  3. Groovegirls

    Groovegirls Beach Fanatic

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    Yep. I still haven't seen anyone publically complain about the music scene. Just the Weddings. I also feel like creating an ordinance that is constitutional is unlikely but I would gladly settle for something that works for Walton county. I still have issues with the accuser remaining anonymous. It seems unfair and makes defending oneself difficult at best. Also, the ordinance states nothing about the rights of the accused. The Sheriffs policy says that the 3 warning system will be used but I am not confident that it will happen that way. So far it has been one warning equals jail. Again the ordinance says nothing about that. The sheriff says that is his policy but yet we have not seen that in action. The ordinance certainly needs some reworking but I am more nervous about the enforcement. I asked if a noise violation was a civil or criminal offense. It starts out civil and can escalate to criminal. Being a civil offense means you do not have the right to confront your accuser. Next time, I would rather see this issue addresed in a seperate meeting because we were rushed through our comments in the interest of time. We spent too much time talking about the proposed design of the public bathrooms at Inlet Beach. Apparently someone thinks that having a breezeway will attract homeless pervert drug using loiterers to said bathroom. I appreciated the comic relief. The next meeting will be at the courthouse in Defuniak Springs on June 23rd. In the meantime you can email your commisioners to make comments or ask questions from the following link.. Walton County, FL - Home Page - Commissioners
     
  4. Groovegirls

    Groovegirls Beach Fanatic

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  5. Groovegirls

    Groovegirls Beach Fanatic

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    Just got off the phone with the paper. They are calling around to get info. We have their attention so lets put it to good use!
     
  6. Groovegirls

    Groovegirls Beach Fanatic

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    Here is what News Channel 7 has to say on their website

    Homeowners say Noisy Neighbors Need to Go
    Posted: 10:37 AM May 12, 2009
    Last Updated: 10:37 AM May 12, 2009
    Reporter:
    Alex Denis


    For months, some Walton County residents have complained late night music has disrupted their way of life.
    At tonight's Walton County Commission meeting, commissioners considered a proposal for a new noise ordinance that would put stricter limitation on sound levels.
    As Newschannel 7's Alex Denis tell us, both musicians and residents got the chance to explain their concerns in hopes to win commissioners support.
    The question at Monday night's packed county commissioner's meeting was how loud is too loud.
    For months, residents have been battling noise levels they claim are unlivable.
    But homeowner's main concern isn't with local musicians.
    It's with a wedding home doing business in a residential area.
    "Noise over tvs. Noise over closed houses. Noise into your bedroom. Noise so loud you can't hear a conversation sitting next to the person at your own pool," says homeowner Sandra Luchtefeld.”
    Homeowner's want county commissioners to shut down their noisy neighbor
    They've suggested the board expanding the existing "Grayton Beach Noise Ordinance" countywide.
    The Grayton ordinance is more restrictive than the current county ordinance and allows law enforcement[​IMG] to determine the "breach of peace" infraction.
    Although Grayton Beach resident, Billy Bezzett helped form the "Grayton Beach Noise Ordinance", he thinks the ordinance is too specific to apply to the entire county.
    "I'm not here to advocate that you take our Grayton Beach solution and oppress it on the rest of the county. I don't know what the rest of the county's problems are," says Bezzett.
    Business owners and musicians fear the modified noise ordinance could hurt local business.
    "If we pass a law that says we can't make any noise past 10 o'clock, people aren't going to come here anymore. They're going to go to Destin and they're going to go to Panama City and we'll lose millions of dollars in revenue," says concerned resident Coya Boyman.
    Residents say they will compromise on a solution as long as the late night noise stops.
    "Whatever we do need to be enforceable and has to provide for permanent solutions to nuisance locations," says Mr. Luchtefeld a concerned homeowner.
    Commissioner will hold a second public hearing to discuss this issue on June 23th in Defuniak Springs.
     
  7. John R

    John R needs to get out more

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  8. Groovegirls

    Groovegirls Beach Fanatic

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    How exactly does a guitar and a fiddle "boom" 400 ft away?
     
  9. Will B

    Will B Moderator

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    Yeah...that's a good one. Sounds like a case of he said she said, and if not decibel readings were taken there is no sound justification to go forward. My guess is that it gets dropped. Sounds more like a personal beef to me.

    I did get a kick out of this quote. I won't tell you what's wrong with it...
    "We had it at about 60 decimals," he said. "Coconut Radio has one guitar and a fiddle."
     
  10. Groovegirls

    Groovegirls Beach Fanatic

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    Exactly why we need verification to protect our rights. And it does sound like a personal problem. Richard Stafford apparently feels that Brandon changed the style of music and brought in bigger bands. I remember before Brandon when The Wacos and other "bigger" bands started playing there. When exactly did Mr. Stafford move into that house? I think this a perfect example of one persons interests given preference over the people as a whole. I always say that I want to hear from everyone who has a problem with the music scene. If there are not more than 1 or 2, then what's the problem?
     
  11. Cactus Jack

    Cactus Jack Beach Lover

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    I heard someone called rap music AFRICAN RAP MUSIC LOL
     
  12. jodiFL

    jodiFL Beach Fanatic

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    More news coverage is exactly what is needed. Once the Sandestin's and Cash Moore's (Freeport) etc. get wind of what is trying to be done here I think the entire thing will go away. There is no way they will allow something as vague as this ordinance once they realize that it could possibly interfere with their businesses that are allowed to serve and entertain until 2am.
     
  13. Groovegirls

    Groovegirls Beach Fanatic

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    SanDestin was heavily represented last night. Unfortuneatly they left after the Bed Tax increase was passsed.
     
  14. Danny Burns

    Danny Burns Beach Fanatic

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    I doesn't! Even with a substantial PA system this isn't a possibility.
     
  15. weatabix

    weatabix Beach Lover

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    Actually, some of the heavy hitters from Sandestin stayed for the noise ordinance issue.....I know they are being affected as well by some of the residents at Baytowne and don't want more problems with the countywide issue coming into play......
     
  16. Danny Burns

    Danny Burns Beach Fanatic

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    Does anyone think it would do any good for someone like me to offer assistance to this situation. I have been a recording/technical/live sound engineer for over 30 years and am quite experienced in all forms of audio measurment. I am available to advise, measure, train or assist anyone who is willing to help both sides come to an agreement that we all can live with. I would be willing to do this all for free just to help settle the issue once and for all. Like SJ said in a earlier post, no law without a measurable, defined standard can be enforced or prosecuted.

    My wife and I are musicians and would like to begin playing out in SoWal, but this situation is quite disturbing to me. Should I spend time rehearsing and hard earned money on gear to be shut down by complainers being appeased by the WCSO to simply get them to shut up and stop calling them. What is better for tourists to do at night than go out to listen to local music that employs hundreds and entertains thousands of us here in SoWal? Do we satisfy a handful of complainers and in the process eliminate millions of dollars from the local economy?

    Does the saying "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" ring a bell?
     
  17. Danny Burns

    Danny Burns Beach Fanatic

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    :lolabove: It just shows exactly how out of touch with reality some people actually are. Even an old man of 56, like me, knows Rap started in The Bronx in the early-mid '80s. They obviously don't know how to use "The Google".
     
  18. wrobert

    wrobert Beach Fanatic

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    The people I spoke to from Sandestin told me that they wanted the Grayton ordinance passed in their area because of the Baytowne music. Everyone wants to be able to sit out on the porch and enjoy the quiet all night long.

    What we need is better shows on television to give people something to do, inside.
     
  19. Matt J

    Matt J SWGB

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    The only shows that are going to get these people in side is Glen Miller Idol or the Shush Hour with Librarian Gertrude.

    Email them this, it might distract them for a moment.

    Hulu - Saturday Night Live: The Lawrence Welk Show@@AMEPARAM@@http://www.hulu.com/embed/Ehx5rv4H2X8P37EooR3hWQ@@AMEPARAM@@Ehx5rv4H2X8P37EooR3hWQ
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2009
  20. John R

    John R needs to get out more

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    'or the one'. Spock
     

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