BELLEAIR SHORE — The town’s ordinance dealing with noise is being revised to include decibel levels that cannot be exceeded. The revision is being patterned after the county’s noise law.
A draft of the revised ordinance was presented by Town Attorney Regina Kardash at the Sept. 17 Town Commission meeting. She said it is similar to laws used by other communities and is familiar to Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies who patrol Belleair Shore.
The commission decided to look at the noise ordinance after hearing resident Doug Seith’s complaints about a neighboring home that he said is being used as a “party house,” with loud music played for hours at a time.
Commissioner Deborah Roseman, who lives two houses from the party house, backed Seith’s claims. “The music goes on for hours and hours and hours,” she said.
Commissioner Dorothy Niewiarowski said she has walked by the house, and “it was quite loud.”
The section to be added to the nuisance noise ordinance reads:
“It shall be unlawful to create or to permit to be created any noise within a residential zone that exceeds 72 dBA during the hours between 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., or 55 dBA during the hours between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. daily, measured at the nearest adjacent property line.” A dBA is a weighted decibel that is a standard unit for measuring sound.
Seith said those decibel levels are outdated and should be lowered. He said current research by the National Audiology Society says “anything over 70 decibels is considered loud, distracting, and you cannot concentrate.”
He added, “I would strongly encourage looking at a lower decibel level than 72.”
Kardash said a first violation of the noise ordinance is punishable by a $250 fine. That rises to $500 for a second violation. One citation a day can be issued, Kardash said.
Roseman, who was chairing the meeting in the absence of Mayor Robert Schmidt, said the noise issue needs to be addressed.
“We are not a party-house community,” she said.
Roseman also said the town’s noise ordinance was last revised in 1982 “and is long overdue for an update.”
Commissioner Raymond Piscitelli agreed.
Roseman directed Kardash to revise the decibel ratings using the standards of the National Audiology Society. Piscitelli said the hours should be changed to extend the quiet time later than 7 a.m.
Kardash said she will further revise the noise ordinance, guided by the commissioners’ comments. Once the wording is finalized, the ordinance needs two public hearings with votes of approval by the commission before it would take effect.