The Sarasota County Commission Sept. 11 voted unanimously to hold a public hearing for an amendment of the county code that sets sound-level restrictions in Siesta Key Village.
Sarasota County Assistant Zoning Administrator Donna Thompson recommended commissioners extend the Nov. 18 sunset date when the Air and Sound Pollution ordinance will be repealed automatically.
That will give staff time to plan public meetings for resident input about the part of the ordinance that sets decibel-level restrictions, which has been a source of some controversy on Siesta Key, Thompson explained in an interview with the Pelican Press.
Staff also recommended that commissioners waive an economic impact assessment of the amendment, because, Thompson explained to the County Commission, there is none. She said county staff uses a 37-point checklist to determine the effects of an amendment.
Thompson said if additional staff or overtime hours were approved for sound-enforcement duties that would be considered a fiscal impact and require an impact statement. County commissioners earlier this year discussed adding 10 to 15 overtime hours for weekend code enforcement, which would cost an estimated $21,000.
County staff will begin changing the ordinance to fit new state regulations, specifically sections related to open burning, and county commissioners will consider public comments at the Sept. 25 hearing. The state will take on more enforcement of controlled burning regulations, Thompson said.
“Additionally, it will allow zoning coding-enforcement staff the opportunity to engage citizens with input in regard to noise-level enforcement and penalties,” Thompson said to commissioners during the meeting.
County Commissioner Joe Barbetta said holding a public meeting to amend the ordinance could be problematic because burning brush and enforcing permitted sound decibel levels are dissimilar topics.
County staff has considered migrating the noise regulation out of its current chapter in the county code, Thompson said, and that will be discussed with the public.
“We’ll certainly be working with our neighborhood groups to get community input,” Thompson said. “It will have to happen some time now and between the now sunset date.”