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Tallahassee Residents, Business Owners Meeting To Shape Noise Ordinance

Shargel and Campbell
Jessica Palombo
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WFSU News

Tallahassee is getting closer to putting a noise ordinance before the City Commission after a judge ruled two years ago the city could no longer use a state law to fight noise. A citizen stakeholder committee is meeting for the first time Tuesday evening.

The panel includes people with potentially competing goals: neighborhood association members, restaurant and other business owners owners and university reps. If the group reaches consensus, they can present recommendations to the City Commission.  

Mia Shargelrepresents the Woodland Drives neighborhood.

“The thing that the neighborhoods are primarily concerned about is sound that goes on into the night and that you can’t escape," she says. 

Shargel says residents in her neighborhood and even farther east can hear music all the way from nightclubs next to the FSU campus because of their high elevation. Other residents have complained about concerts in Cascades Park and house parties.

Shargel says she's relieved the city scrapped last year's proposal to allow higher decibel levels originating from "entertainment districts." 

“They had not somehow realized that if it’s 85 decibels at the border line between the park and a residential area that on the other side of an imaginary line, it’s still going to be 85 decibels and that sound doesn’t decay conveniently because it hits a boundary," she says. 

She and her neighbor, Susan Campbell, say the city should equip police with hand-held noise level readers to be used at the source of the complaint. And they hope the ordinance will allow for immediate relief during night time hours. 

Recess club
Credit Hunter+Harp
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Hunter+Harp
Recess nightclub co-owner J.T. Burnette is one of the noise ordinance committee members.

Meanwhile Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce VP of Public Policy Ben Pingree says the chamber is cautiously optimistic about the negotiations.

“We want to make sure that whatever is enacted is clear, it’s fair, it’s implemented across the board, and it provides for quality business as well as calm neighborhoods," he says. "And I think that it’s a goal that’s completely achievable.”

Tuesday’s meeting is open to the public. It’s in City Hall’s Tallahassee Room at 6 p.m.