The city beautiful wants to turn down the volume on loud parties in downtown Orlando. There's a new proposal to make the city noise ordinance tougher. The noise ordinance, the hotly debated alcohol ordinance and new rules for sidewalk cafes are part of Orlando's effort to attract more people downtown.
Orlando city leaders want to keep it down to keep the peace, especially downtown. It's a place where bars and clubs can be right next to high rise apartments and condos and late night sounds can keep people awake and potentially away.
Here is City Commissioner Robert Stuart. "We want to attract them to downtown. We don't want to drive them away because of the noise."
Stuart says the city council just took a first vote and approved a plan to change Orlando's chapter 42 noise ordinance. The new rules would mostly affect people living near Main Street or downtown and people jolted by sounds from special events.
Stuart say the special event might be, "A St. Patrick's Day event or new year's party where someone is four, five or six blocks away and they hear noise that wakes them up at night or doesn't let them go to sleep."
City leaders are suggesting three ways to improve the noise ordinance. They want to reduce the amount of time police must measure the noise for it to be a violation. They want to lower the decibel levels that are permitted. They also want to measure noise levels where they come from at a home's property line instead of measuring noises where they are heard.
Stuart says Orlando police have enforced the noise ordinance for many years, but now they will have some high tech help that offers accurate measurements. "We've taken and provided sound meters to all of our downtown officers as well as all of our squad commanders."
Cortnety Pagano moved into 55 West on Church Street four months ago. She says people who live on the side closest to the Church Street clubs do hear some noise late at night but she lives on the other side of the high rise building.
Pagano says people should know what to expect in any downtown setting. "If you're going to move downtown, you understand you are moving into an area where clubs exist and there might be some noise. No one ever tried to hide that from me when I signed my lease."
The city council will take a second vote on the ordinance in mid-September, and if it passes as expected, it will go into effect before the end of the year.
Stuart says the city could move to toughen the noise ordinance again in the future, trying to reduce deep, loud bass sounds.
Stuart adds the city is also working to implement a new sidewalk café ordinance. It requires the city's ninety sidewalk café's to point any speakers back into the building, instead of pointing them outside a building to attract a crowd. The city is in the process of educating sidewalk café owners about the changes across the city.