Live music is playing to an audience in Bradenton Beach that is a driving force for change.
Recently, noise concerns in the city have escalated and the city commission has added a discussion of the noise ordinance to the agenda for its April 20 meeting.
Live entertainment at the Freckled Fin Restaurant, 101 Bridge St., resulted in nine complaints to the city from April 2016 through March 21, 2017.
The most recent complaint, April 5, led to owner Scott Lubore’s arrest for a misdemeanor noise violation — the first known in the history of the city.
“The establishment had been warned verbally, given numerous violations and warned again that we would arrest the person in charge the next time this happened,” Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale said during an April 13 department head meeting. “We have the right within our ordinance to do this and enough was enough.”
A call to action posted April 14 on Facebook by Freckled Fin co-owner Eileen Lubore reads, “If the noise ordinance is not modified and they continue to arrest managers and/or owners as has been stated, unfortunately outdoor music in BB will cease to exist.”
Earlier in April, Bradenton Beach resident Eileen Suhre, who resides on Church Avenue, adjacent to the live music venues on Bridge Street, spoke at a commission meeting about excessive volume.
She said the assigned decibel limits for the city, per the noise ordinance, are not sufficient.
“Let’s get rid of that and create our own control,” Suhre said.
When asked about the flexibility within the ordinance to amend the accepted decibel limits, Speciale responded in an April 13 email, “It’s set by the city and the city can change it.”
Speciale said owners of live music venues on Bridge Street recently expressed concerns with decibel limits in the ordinance. He said he told them the ordinance was adopted in 2013 and the city has not had many problems with it, until now.
The city also is considering tackling the issue through changes to its land development code.
Amendments proposed by the Bradenton Beach Planning and Zoning Board would increase space between homes and limit structure size for new construction, limiting the number of people a structure can hold.
P&Z member Reed Mapes said he does not know if the proposed changes will make a difference.
“We’ve got a noise problem and there isn’t a damn thing we can do about it,” Mapes said April 12.
He said changes to the LDC will help, smaller houses will lead to less people, but the responsibility rests with the owners and rental agents to make sure people know their vacation rentals are adjacent to residents’ homes. He said the agents could threaten fines or place limits on pool time to persuade guests to keep it down.
Mapes said he has multiple noise-blocking sound machines in his bedroom, but noise frequently exceeds decibel levels through his soundproof windows.
“It’s not our job to police the area,” Mapes said.
Speciale said he wants people to call the BBPD when they hear excessive noise.
“We want to be the ones dealing with it, not the angry neighbors,” Speciale said April 13. “The people causing problems aren’t going to mess with us and create bigger problems.”
The city commission will be discussing the noise ordinance during its next meeting at noon Thursday, April 20, at Bradenton Beach City Hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.