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Conflict dominates debate over new noise ordinance

Compromise sought in battle over Bradenton's noise ordinance

Two sides have very different ideas on the direction Bradenton should take on a proposed new noise ordinance.
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Two sides have very different ideas on the direction Bradenton should take on a proposed new noise ordinance.

Motorworks Brewing and the Village of the Arts say the city’s proposed new noise ordinance isn’t just about them. However, the ongoing conflict between the Ninth Street West brewery and village residents dominated Wednesday’s first public hearing.

“Unfortunately, we’ve become the poster child for this ordinance,” said Motorworks co-founder Frank Tschida. “We don’t want to be the poster child. This is about the community. You have other entertainment businesses and there are more to come. This isn’t a single issue or about a single place.”

But it was largely a battle between the two, and Tschida was one of a handful of people who spoke in favor of the city’s draft ordinance. It would eliminate amplified music restrictions and bump up allowable decibel levels to 80 with no time restrictions. But much of what the city initially proposed will be changed when officials vote after the final March 22 public hearing.

Among the changes include the implementation of time restrictions. City officials looked to compromise by coming to a consensus that decibel levels must drop from 80 to 65 after 10:30 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends and holidays. Officials also agreed to change the proposal to measure sound from a complainant’s property back to the potential violator’s property line.

I hope you will continue to work on something that offers a fair and reasonable solution that works to benefit all of us in the long run.

Ben Bakker, Manatee Chamber of Commerce downtown redevelopment committee chair

Councilman Bemis Smith said it was never his intention not to include time restrictions, but he wanted the draft ordinance left open ended until the public had input.

Graciela Giles Rose, wife of artist Herbie Rose and one of the original founders of the village, said she has been distressed over the direction the city has taken.

“It is distressing to see that the city of Bradenton cares little for the people who live in the area of the Village of the Arts,” she said. “First of all, I like Motorworks. The owner, however, does not live here and have to lose sleep. Do the city and chamber officials live here? If they did, they would not be in such a hurry to pass this ordinance.”

Rose, like many of the village residents, say their quality of life is suffering and any proposals to increase noise levels and hours, “is giving free reign to these businesses because, evidently, the economics are more important than the residents. I am thoroughly disappointed in my city,” Rose said.

We have to be open minded and work together to make the best of both worlds, but hopefully eliminate the bogus complaints, but also abide by the law.

City Councilman Gene Brown

Village of the Arts business owner Carrie Price Whaley argued to re-implement the amplified music restrictions, noting there is a scientific difference between ambient noise and the energy amplified music creates, but those restrictions were not changed.

Ben Bakker, chair of the chamber’s downtown redevelopment committee, said the Manatee Chamber of Commerce supports the city’s efforts, but it is looking for something more satisfactory to everyone.

“I hope you will continue to work on something that offers a fair and reasonable solution that works to benefit all of us in the long run,” Bakker said.

Vice Mayor Patrick Roff noted that several companies that deal in sound mitigation have come forward to help the city work with entertainment businesses. Smith had previously said he is in favor of developing grant funding to help businesses make that transition and the idea appears to be gaining support.

The goal, Councilman Gene Brown said, is to be, “open minded and work together to make the best of both worlds, but hopefully eliminate the bogus complaints, but also abide by the law.”

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