REDINGTON SHORES – Town officials, along with the community police officer, have decided that a combination of cooperation and enforcement, rather than stricter laws, is the best way to deal with noise complaints.
The Redington Shores Town Commission took another look at the town’s existing noise ordinances after receiving input from residents and business owners on how to deal with an increasing number of complaints about noisy music and patrons. Restaurant and bar owners also wanted advice and direction on limiting objectionable noise.
Commission members, the police, affected residents and business owners agreed the existing noise code, which bans “loud and raucous noise” without specifying limits, is sufficient, with minor changes to deal with the problems.
The ordinance relies on police judgment to determine what noises are “loud and raucous.” A proposed addition says the noise must be considered loud and raucous when heard from a distance not less than 50 feet from the source of the noise.
The commission also decided to put a cutoff time of 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 11 p.m. on weekends for amplified music in restaurants and bars.
Adams said he had looked at more comprehensive ordinances from other communities and decided that is not what is needed in Redington Shores.
“I look at Indian Rocks Beach – that (ordinance) would take an engineer and four attorneys to figure it out,” Adams said. “Also, they have a lot more businesses than we do.”
Police Sgt. Jeff Rawson said stepped up enforcement will be a key in eliminating objectionable sounds. Cooperation from business owners also was promised.
A number of complaints, which have been mostly about patron noise rather than music, target the Fort Knox Bar and Grill, 17850 Gulf Blvd.
Resident Joe Perez said noise from the bar’s customers cheering on football nights is louder than outdoor music. Vincent Radcliffe, who also lives near the bar, agreed. “When a game is on, it’s louder than music,” he said.
Patrons in the parking lot are also a problem, Radcliffe said. Police attention, so far, has been ineffective.
“I call the police, but by the time they get there, the people are gone,” Perez said.
Fort Knox owner George Bachert agreed to close the doors to his bar at 7 p.m. and the windows at 10, and to put warning signs in the parking lot. Bachert said he would take additional steps to cooperate if asked.
“Tell me what to do, and I’ll do it,” he offered.
Mayor Adams said, “George (Bachert) is willing to do whatever is necessary to help out. If he doesn’t, let us know.” But he warned residents living near the restaurants and bars not to expect total quiet. “This is a business district,” he said. “It’s going to be a little noisy.”
The residents working cooperatively with the police and business owners can find workable solutions to noise complaints, Adams said.
The town’s current ordinance gives the police what they need for effective enforcement, Rawson believes.
“It has ‘teeth’ and also lets us use common sense in enforcement,” he said.
Adams said the residents need to alert the police to problems.
“If people are hanging out, the police can handle that,” he said. “If the police come out four or five times, people will know they can’t hang out.”
Also, “If somebody complains, the police go down and decide. I have faith in their judgment.”
Sharing of building services proposed
Building official Steve Andrews will be doing building inspections in neighboring Indian Shores under an agreement worked out between Adams and Indian Shores police chief E.D. Williams.
If the two towns approve the arrangement, Redington Shores will receive a $600 a month fee for the services.
Redington Shores officials plan to give Andrews a 2 percent salary increase (about $1,700 a year) as compensation for the extra work.
The arrangement relieves Indian Shores building official Larry Nayman, who broke his hip recently, of the inspection chore. Indian Shores would continue to handle other parts of the building permitting process, Adams said.
Adams indicated the fee, which he said is based on an average of 15 inspections a month at $40 each, is in line with the amount charged by other communities.
The fees provide Redington Shores with an added source of income, and the arrangement could lead to additional sharing of building services in the future, Adams said.
“We see this as a first step, a baby step to consolidating services down the road (with Indian Shores), if Larry retires,” Adams said.