Live music and other noise from restaurants and other properties in unincorporated Manatee County will now be allowed later into the night.
Higher decibel levels will be allowed until 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until midnight on Friday, Saturday and the day prior to any federal holiday. The higher levels had previously been restricted to 10 p.m.
Manatee County Commission adopted the new noise ordinance in a 5-2 vote Tuesday, with commissioners John Chappie and Robin DiSabatino dissenting. The new ordinance is expected to take effect in about two weeks.
“This is an effort to compromise, to some degree,” County Attorney Mickey Palmer said.
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The County Attorney’s Office presented two drafts to the commission Tuesday — one that addressed potential constitutional issues in the current ordinance and the second that addressed the issues while also making the policy changes.
Other changes made in the noise ordinance adopted Tuesday include increasing the range of where amplified sound can be heard from motor vehicles from 25 feet to 50 feet, allowing only civil penalties for excessive amplified sound from motor vehicles, and reduction in fines for the first and second violations.
While Commissioner Betsy Benac said she has not heard noise complaints, she would be happy to revisit it if the new ordinance causes problems.
“I understand the desire to have viable urban nightlife, but we live in an area where we have to accommodate all kinds of people,” she said.
Commission Chairwoman Vanessa Baugh said if the noise ordinance presents problems, they can come back and make changes.
“We aren’t going to know until we try as to what effect it might have,” she said.
A survey by the Manatee Chamber of Commerce responded to by more than 500 members showed most in favor of allowing higher decibel levels until later into the night. The chamber is in support of the draft adopted by the commission Tuesday, Palmer said before the vote.
“It meets with their approval,” he said.
In recent months, cities in Manatee County have been talking about whether they want to piggyback onto the county’s noise ordinance. As of Tuesday afternoon, Bradenton was still unsure whether it wanted to adopt the county’s ordinance.
“We want to take a closer look at it, because we are confused about some of the language,” said Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston. “In one sentence, it says it covers municipalities and in the next sentence, it says it doesn't. So until we see the document, I'm not sure what happens. I haven't talked to the city council yet, but it looks like the county did a good job and made some compromises.”
Poston said he will have city attorney Bill Lisch take a look at the ordinance, “to make sure we are good with it.”
Palmetto declined to go along with the county's ordinance as previously written and it doesn't appear the city will act quickly with other priorities at hand. The city is currently looking at rezoning its downtown corridor and establishing boundaries, as well as an entertainment district.
“Until we finish the rezoning, we probably won't do anything with the noise ordinance,” said Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant. “We are trying to be very cautious of where that corridor will lay out, and we need to finish that to make sure everything works in tandem, so right now, we are not prepared to move forward with a new noise ordinance.”
Urban Affairs reporter Mark Young contributed to this report
Noise decibel limits
- 60 dBA or 65 dBC during 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 a.m. through midnight Friday, Saturday and the day prior to a federal holiday
- 72 dBA or 77 dBC if the receiving land is a residential use adjacent to a commercial use during 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 a.m. through midnight Friday, Saturday and the day prior to a federal holiday
- 55 dBA or 60 dBC during the hours of 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and midnight to 7 a.m. Friday, Saturday and the day prior to a federal holiday