City Commissioners Are Preparing To Vote On A Noise Ordinance

Oct 15, 2015

Credit Jason Eppink via Flickr

The City Commission discussed a possible noise ordinance Wednesday. And while most commissioners agree it’s a good idea, some are questioning whether a blanket rule is the best choice for the city.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum says people’s noise expectations should be based, in some respects, on where they choose to live.

“Tallahassee has changed pretty dramatically over the past 10 years with people making the choice to live down town, in housing where you have mixed-use on the first level and people sleeping above," Gillum says.

Gillum says he doesn’t think it makes sense to apply the same standards across the city. He believes those who have chosen to live in the city’s more central areas should expect noise to be louder.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Nancy Miller says she’d like to give police some discretion on when to apply penalties against first-time offenders.

“Kids having a party that’s keeping families next door, or even down the street awake. They need to have that penalty. But if somebody is having a backyard party on Sunday afternoon in their neighborhood and somebody calls and complains, and it may be exceeding the level of the ordinance, for them to get a $150 fine the very first time, just seems harsh to me,” Miller says.

Commissioner Gil Ziffer says he’s not sure the commission can come up with a perfect ordinance on the first try. He’s suggesting tweaking the noise rules through trial and error.

“Let’s just plan on every three months or 60 days after implementation, let’s see where we are, what we’ve done and if we need to make adjustments, we’ll make adjustments and if there are any problem areas, but I think we monitor it and we make adjustments accordingly,” Ziffer says.

The commission is scheduled to take the issue up in a public hearing Oct. 28.