Key West tables noise law for more tweaking

Posted on Sunday, March 2nd, 2014 at 1:46 pm
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Faced with stiff opposition, the Key West City Commission on Tuesday postponed adopting more-restrictive changes to the local noise-control law.

Public vetting of new rules proposed by District 1 Commissioner Jimmy Weekley pit regularly at-odds interest groups in the Old Town business community against residents looking to turn down the volume to increase their quality of life.

“It’s not trying to unplug the music we have in this city,” Weekley said in the lead-up to two-hours of public comment. “There’s a lot of people that come here to listen” to live music. “But by the same token, we also have residents that are impacted. We have to pull the rein; we have to pull it in a little bit to find that balance.”

Senior Code Compliance Manager Jim Young, who oversees enforcement of the rules, echoed Weekley: “This ordinance isn’t trying to put anyone out of business.”

As it stands, for bars, restaurants and other venues that feature live music in the downtown mix of residential and commercial spaces, the rule is no amplified music louder than 75 decibels as measured from the property line.

Proposed technical modifications to the law would make it easier for the city’s Code Compliance officers to issue citations, which could result in a $500 fine. They would take into account the impact of amplified bass, which isn’t measured now.

Maureen Johnson, owner of Willie T’s open-air bar and restaurant at 525 Duval St., said
music and nightlife are a driver of Key West’s tourism economy and the proposed new ordinance is “too restrictive.”

She cited Monroe County Tourist Development Council research that says, “The top recreational activity is dining out and the No. 2 reason tourists come here is the nightlife. Duval Street is clearly Key West’s epicenter. It is imperative to our entire island economy and tax base to continue to treat it as such.”

Before the postponement on a vote, Weekley asked for approval but was met with no votes from Mayor Craig Cates and commissioners Mark Rossi and Tony Yaniz; Commissioner Clayton Lopez was absent.

The matter is scheduled to come up again on March 18, beginning at 6 p.m., in Old City Hall on Greene Street.

Original Story – http://www.keysnet.com/2014/03/01/495003/key-west-tables-noise-law-for.html

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