Downtown residents hope for changes to Tampa's noise ordinance

Living in any downtown comes with its perks and challenges. Tampa's downtown continues to grow by leaps and bounds, giving residents new experiences – both good and bad. The recent topic on many minds is noise.

"The noise intrusion from Parks and Rec definitely affects our total ambiance, if you will. Our value and our atmosphere," downtown resident Doug Hardee told FOX 13.

He's lived in The Towers condos in Tampa’s Channelside district for years. When the popular bar Parks and Rec moved in a few years ago, residents started hearing loud music, laughing, and screaming into the early hours of the morning.

"You can close off part of the sound [with your door], but the bass comes through and you can hear it," Hardee said.

Residents with similar complaints will make their voices heard Thursday, as Tampa City Council considers a new noise ordinance.

"There’s currently just a tangle of different rules and requirements that are applied on a case-by-case basis, so it’s very difficult for the businesses to know exactly what the rules are," said Carole Post, the city’s administrator for development and economic opportunity.

Nightlife becomes noisy for those who live nearby

Several changes are being considered, including:

  • Citywide limits on outdoor amplified sound after midnight.
  • Police would no longer be required to give a five-minute warning before citing a business.
  • In Ybor City and around Amalie Arena, noise limits would be dependent on the time of night/morning; the later it gets, the lower the volume.

"There would be an element that takes the measure of decibel level down beginning at 1 a.m., so currently it's up to 85 decibels, 24/7. We’re looking to step that down from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m.," Post said.

Hardee wishes more could be done.

"You know, it’s just loud, UT kids and whomever else," he said. "They should be in, like, Ybor or some place that’s designated more entertainment. We’re residential."

There are two outcomes that could happen Thursday: The proposal is voted on as-is, or council members could modify it in parts.

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