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CCPD to present noise issue data

By Staff | Mar 12, 2020

Cape Coral’s controversial noise ordinance will again be discussed, with the Cape Coral Police Department presenting data on Monday over the last month on the noise levels at the city’s hot spots.

Overall, if you look at the averages, many of the downtown businesses do a decent job mitigating noise before 11 p.m., while three missing their mark after, according to the CCPD. However, there are ways these businesses can improve, which is also expected to be discussed.

Police Chief David Newlan will give a presentation on his findings during the noise study done throughout the month of February at seven locations citywide, five of them downtown.

The current ordinance is 75 dB between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. and 65dB between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., and while the maximum decibel levels went above ordinance requirements (with one place nearly reaching 100 decibels before 11 p.m., on average, they were meeting the requirements.

Backstreets (77.1), The Dek (72.9) and Rack’em Billiards (71.3) had decibel levels that, on average, exceeded legal levels after 11 p.m., according to the CCPD collected data.

Rusty’s Raw Bar & Grill, which has been cited, had average levels that were well within acceptable range in the area facing Southeast 46th, with 67.8 before 11 p.m. and 58.7 after, though max levels were at 82.9 and 69.6, respectively, above the limit. The levels facing Club Square easily made required levels.

The study was done Thursday through Saturday during the four full weekends of February.

Newlan is expected to discuss the use of sound mitigation products for indoor and outdoor use. Among them are acoustic fencing and panels, the latter of which is more effective and have a hurricane rating.

He will also discuss sound management that is said to allow for excellent audio while minimizing sound spillage.

Ultimately, the discussion will center around altering the ordinance citywide, designate the entertainment district as a separate zone with different requirements, encourage businesses to adopt sound mitigation measures and require sound mitigation through new building codes and ordinances.

Nicole Isner, with Rusty’s, said the city failed to determine that the noise they were hearing was echoing off the water in the canal from Rack’em, when they had their windows open.

“We were getting in trouble for things that weren’t from us. We didn’t have live music,” Isner said. “They made the decision to change an ordinance without getting the full scope of everything. It was very one-sided. This study shows that we are in compliance.”

“I don’t know how you can legislate that. Decibel levels are subjective, so it’s hard to make a law with that,” Councilmember Rick Williams said. “Whoever listens to it will determine how loud it is.”

Williams said he supports the residents, as they were there long before the entertainment district and want a nice, peaceful life.

Mayor Joe Coviello said he hasn’t had many complaints come forward, but there was an issue with “amplified sound.”

“If you’re on your lanai and have the TV on, that’s amplified sound. We need to revisit the wording and see the results of the study,” Coviello said.

“Rusty’s just got here and these residents have been here for years. They had to realize they were on top of a residential area, but there are ways they can mitigate the sound,” Coviello said.

After fierce debate, the city passed a noise ordinance in December despite concerns over what it would do to downtown businesses, siding with residents who live nearby the entertainment district who have complained about the downtown noise.

In the aftermath, Rusty’s was cited for multiple noise infractions, as its proximity near residential areas made it difficult for them to have live music or even a DJ, causing protests by the owner and patrons.

Isner said they have added soundproofing on the outside and buffering inside, and are pleased the city has given them a chance to rectify matters.

“We have always wanted to be a community involved restaurant. We’re happy they’re giving us the time to show we did everything we were asked,” Isner said. “We were able to commit to a better plan that works for both parties.”

Cape Coral City Council meetings begin at 4:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall on Cultural Park Boulevard.