Our network

Sarasota noise ordinance moves forward | News

Title (Max 100 Characters)

Sarasota noise ordinance moves forward

Sarasota, Florida -- UPDATE: Sarasota city commissioners decided Monday night to move forward with a public hearing in the fall to further discuss the issue.

About a dozen people spoke on the issue at Monday's meeting and some commissioners even mentioned wanting to discuss considering lower decibels than recommended in the ordinance.

At the public hearing, at a date not yet announced, an attorney is also expected to provide a report regarding special use permits.


Sarasota's downtown is growing with 1,000 hotel rooms and 1,000 residential units in the works, plus new businesses. The growing pains are being felt as the booming noise from some businesses collides with residents.

Sarasota City Commissioners are considering changes to the noise ordinance at Monday night's commission meeting at City Hall. Some local business owners say a tougher noise ordinance may hurt a thriving downtown.

"They talk about having more young people downtown you'll drive them away," says Elisa Graber who works downtown.

As downtown Sarasota is moving on up with more restaurants, bars and shops, but when the volume goes up on the nightlife along Main Street it's "unbearable," says Howard Salva.

He lives on the corner of Main Street and Palm Avenue. Salva says the noise is ruining his quality of life.

"We who live on Main Street pay beaucoup bucks to live in these units; we pay taxes and should have something to say about our lifestyle being bothered by businesses wanting to turn a quick dollar."

Ken Frapiccini bartends at Tequila Cantina and says the restaurant tries to comply with the existing ordinance.

"It's a shame to see how much fighting happens. I go back to, if you want to live where there is peace and quiet where nothing is happening -- you don't move to downtown Main Street Sarasota," Frapiccini says.

Sarasota city leaders are considering toughening the noise ordinance to make it easier to understand and enforce. The proposed ordinance toughens fines for repeat offenders would go up from $500-$5,000 a day and even higher to $15,000, if 4 out of 5 commissioners approve the fine. Plus, three violations in a year could end in an arrest on top of the fines.

Proposed new noise law may bring $15,000 fines

The proposed ordinance Part 1 (PDF)

The proposed ordinance Part 2 (PDF)

According to the proposed noise ordinance, if the noise is "plainly audible" meaning if you can hear it within 200 feet, it's too loud.

But what is 200 feet?

10 News downloaded an app to measure the distance and 200 feet up from Tequila Cantina to the corner are luxury condos.

"But you can hear someone yelling at 200 feet," Frapiccini argues.

Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin says commissioners will consider all options.

"It really boils down to reasonableness quality of life of all considered," says Barwin.

Ken hopes the city, business owners and residents can strike a balance.

"This is a great town. It should be lively. I hope there's a way to make everybody happy."