I am a morning person, also known as an early bird. I am one of those people who loves to get up early in the morning to walk or run the beach. We believe the morning is the best part of the day, especially on Siesta Key Beach.
There are a lot of early birds on Siesta Key, but, then, that should not be a surprise. I am learning from personal experience that the older we get, the less sleep we need. With a concentration of retired people living on the Key, there are a lot more of us who rise and shine before the sun does.
In addition to us older folk, there are many younger families visiting our gorgeous beaches and that are also included in the early-bird club usually because of the sleeping schedule of their youngest member. I see many of them early in the morning on the beach with their strollers or their older children diligently looking for shells.
Being an early bird does come with some well-known advantages. First of all, we “catch the worm,” which comes in handy when we want to go fishing. Second, it is also said that we become “healthy, wealthy and wise” — or at least one out of the three. On the other hand, as my wife will tell you, living with an early bird can be very irritating if you are not one yourself.
For most of us early birds who need at least seven hours of sleep, the evening usually comes to an end by 11 p.m., if not sooner. We are rarely described as “party animals.” Although we don’t ask everyone else around us to go to bed when we call it a night, we do ask the “night owls” for some consideration when it comes to the amount of noise that they make after that hour.
My wife and I live in the Village, a few blocks away from the area where most of the loud music is playing. Even from that distance we can easily and often hear the music after 10 p.m. and much later on the weekends. We don’t complain about it because we know that the decibel levels are probably within the legal limit. However, it is still annoying if we are trying to sleep with the windows open to enjoy the night air.
Last November I read about the increase in the number of noise complaints that the Sheriff’s Office was getting at night from people living around Ocean Boulevard in the Village. The article suggested there were only a few drinking establishments in the Village responsible for the vast majority of the complaints and violations.
In one of the articles, it mentioned that an owner of one of these bars that had received a citation for excessive noise was said to be “especially frustrated about the complaints because Siesta Key provides about 35% of the county’s annual tourist development tax revenue.” She went on to say she thinks they should be getting more support from the county, including the neighbors, residents and other businesses. Her quote was, “We’re the No. 1 beach; why can’t we all just be happy?”
As a representative of the Siesta Key Village early birds, young and old, let me respond to her comment and question by saying it is much easier to be happy when everyone in the family has had a good night’s sleep. There are many nights when sleeping isn’t easy to do unless we devise ways to shut out or drown out the noise.
Many of us who live in or near the Village remember a time before the late-night music began. Back then we could sleep with our windows open on cool nights. We were very happy!
The complaints about the noise coming from the Village after 11 p.m. will continue until more consideration is given to the rights of us early birds who live in close proximity to the Village. The current late-night noise ordinance in the Village should be reviewed to see if there is a fair solution for all of the people affected by it.
As a goodwill gesture, I would ask the various owners of these late-night bars to please turn down the music or better keep it indoors after 11 p.m. so we early birds can get a better night’s sleep. Then we can all be happy again.
John Gudritz is the co-owner of an investment management firm. He and his wife have been coming to Siesta Key since the 1970’s and have been property owners and seasonal residents since 2008.