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Council to consider new noise ordinance

By Staff | Jul 18, 2019

Cape residents will get an opportunity to weigh in a proposed noise ordinance Monday when Cape Coral City Council reconvenes after its summer hiatus.

A first hearing will be held on the measure which addresses noise regulations for both the South Cape entertainment district and other areas citywide.

Councilmember John Gunter, whose district include the South Cape, said neighbors have complained about the loud music and other noise coming from bars downtown.

Current regulations are unclear and subject to interpretation and do not specify certain noise such as from motor vehicles, which made it hard to enforce, officials said.

“In order to be good neighbors, we need to have an established policy when it comes to a noise ordinance,” Gunter said. “Before, we didn’t have the specificity. We would measure the decibels but there wasn’t much clarity to it.”

If approved by Council after a second public hearing, the ordinance would eliminate decibel readings except for downtown, and allow an officer to issue a citation without witnessing a violation and it would extend to motor vehicles.

This makes things more practical and useful for property owners and enforcement and increases the chances for judicial success against the offender, according to the city staff.

The city considered changes to the noise ordinance last year.

At the time it looked at whether to have an area exempt from noise regulations, centered on Cape Coral Parkway and Southeast 47th Terrace between Del Prado and Coronado.

“The idea is that we have Bike Night and the occasional outdoor concert, and we didn’t want to regulate them out of existence,” said Wyatt Daltrey, planning team coordinator for the city. “We don’t want to throw out a number and then not be able to have Bike Night anymore.”

Gunter said with special events there could be some latitude, but the main complaints are from the outdoor music playing later at night.

“The condos that are in close proximity to that business can hear the music,” Gunter said. “There is a common ground that can work for everyone. We don’t want to hurt the businesses, but the residents should have some relief on the issue as well.”

Councilmemember John Carioscia said there is agreement on the times when outdoor music can be played, but more talk needs to be done on decibel levels.

“Hopefully, we’ll hear from residents who will voice their opinions and council will react to what they want,” Carioscia said. “Business owners also invested a lot of money here and they realized the volume allowed them to do things to attract customers. Lowering the volume may not even be practical.”