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OUR VIEW | how to address the noise

Inform the revelers. If they know they can be fined or jailed, they’ll change their behavior.

  • Longboat Key
  • Opinion
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It wasn’t all that long ago when Longboat Key had the reputation as the one place you didn’t dare try to speed or challenge the law. It was well known Longboat Key just didn’t tolerate much in the way of errant behavior.

The town police were vigilant watchdogs, with high visibility, seemingly patrolling every inch of the Key and stopping anyone who acted suspiciously. Mainlanders always accused the town police of profiling.

They were just doing their job: being tough on crime.

And it worked.

When you write a lot of speeding tickets, tail “unusual” vehicles and issue a lot of minor citations, the word spreads. The bad guys stay away.

We remind you of this in light of the noise disruptions each weekend in the Intracoastal Waterway between Longboat Key and Jewfish Key.

What happened to the enforcers? Where is the show of Longboat Key force and intimidation? Since when doesn’t the Longboat Key police force  become a nuisance to the nuisance creators?

After all, Longboat Key has a reputation to uphold: zero tolerance.

The town commissioners appear to be capitulating.

Purchasing and employing $4,000 decibel meters is not the answer. Nor is buying another police boat, hiring more marine-patrol officers or revising a town ordinance.

Indeed, it was rather incredulous to read the Town Commission instructed the town manager to return in the fall — after the three peak months for noise-making boaters — with cost estimates for increasing the town’s marine-patrol efforts. 

The nuisance is now.

How about a little creativity and law-enforcement moxie? Everyone is so spooked now because of Ferguson, Baltimore, New York, Dallas, et al. 

But when a three-alarm fire breaks out, one fire truck doesn’t attempt to handle the blaze. Other forces are redeployed until the fire is out. 

Improvise. Redeploy the town’s police assets; reschedule police manpower. Address the issue with what you have. Or borrow. Surely there are other marine patrol boats and resources that could be used.

Imagine, for instance, what all those boaters would do if they arrived at their spot on the Intracoastal, only to be greeted for the next three to four weekends by officers in the town’s marine-patrol boat. Imagine what they would do if the marine-patrol boat stayed in that spot for the entire day.

Imagine, too, what all those noise-making boaters would do if, when they arrived in the Intracoastal, Longboat police and volunteers handed out flyers to each reveler explaining the town’s noise ordinance and warning of the consequences of violation.

You can bet soon enough, the boaters would get the message: Loud noise could be costly. Sick of the hassles from Longboat Key, they either would tone down the noise or go elsewhere. 

And Longboat Key’s reputation would stay in tact: Longboaters are cranky (not really),  and it has Zero Tolerance. 


130.02 - Sound regulations.

(A) Policy. It is hereby declared to be the public policy of the town to reduce the ambient sound level in the town, as so to preserve, protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare, and the peace and quiet of the inhabitants of the town, prevent injury to human, plant and animal life and property, foster the convenience and comfort of town inhabitants, and facilitate the enjoyment of the natural attractions of the town. It is the public policy of the town that every person is entitled to ambient sound levels that are not detrimental to life, health and enjoyment of his or her property. It is hereby declared that the making, creation or maintenance of excessive or unreasonable sound within the town affects and is a menace to public health, comfort, convenience, safety, welfare and the prosperity of the people of the town. The provisions and prohibitions hereinafter contained and enacted are for the above-mentioned purpose.

(C) Unreasonable sound prohibited.

(1) No person shall make, cause, allow, or permit to be made any unreasonable sound within the geographical boundaries of the town or within those areas over which the town has jurisdiction, including the waters and beaches adjacent to, abutting or bordering the town.

(2) Any of the following acts and causes thereof are declared to be unreasonable sound in violation of this chapter, but the following enumeration shall not be deemed to be exclusive:

(a) Radios, phonographs, tape players, television sets, musical instruments, drums or similar devices. Operating, playing or permitting the operation or playing of any radio, CD or DVD player, tape player, phonograph, television set, musical instrument, drum or similar device which produces or reproduces sound in such a manner as to annoy, disturb, injure or endanger the comfort, repose, health, peace, or safety of a reasonable person of normal sensibilities.

(3) The standards which shall be considered in determining whether sound annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of a reasonable person of normal sensibilities shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:

(a) The volume of the sound.

(b) The intensity of the sound.

(c) Whether the nature of the sound is usual or unusual within the town.

(d) The volume and intensity of the background sound, if any.

(e) The proximity of the sound to residential sleeping facilities.

(f) The nature and zoning of the area within which the sound emanates.

(g) The time of the day or night the sound occurs.

(h) The duration of the sound.

(E) Warning and penalty.

(1) When a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a violation of this chapter has occurred, he or she shall issue a warning to the person or persons responsible for the violation. The warning shall advise the person or persons of the violation of this chapter and specify a reasonable time to comply.

(2) Absent special circumstances, “reasonable time” shall mean 15 minutes.

(3) If the violation is not eliminated within a reasonable time after the warning as prescribed in this section or the violation recurs within one year of the issuance of the warning, the person or persons so warned and not complying shall be charged with a violation of this article and, upon conviction, shall be subject to prosecution under the provisions of subsection (G) of this section.

10.99 General Penalty

(A) Whenever in this code or in any ordinance of the town any act is prohibited or is made or declared to be unlawful or an offense … or the failure to do any act is declared to be unlawful, where no specific penalty is provided therefor, the violation of such a provision of this code or any ordinance shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment of a term not exceeding 60 days.


Raul Castro and Pope Francis. Courtesy photo
Raul Castro and Pope Francis. Courtesy photo

Dear Pope Francis:

Apparently, Your Eminence, you were denied an important part of education. Or maybe you didn’t pay attention or bother to read such luminaries as Smith, Bastiat, Von Mises, Hayek, Friedman or Rand. And perhaps that explains the affection for the Castros. 

If you had read any of the aforementioned authors — better yet, just look at the world — you would understand that no other “ism” in the world’s entire history has done more to protect the earth and raise people out of poverty than has the “ism” you disdain — capitalism.  

In business, there is a wise encyclical: Stick to your knitting. Stick to the 10 Commandments and the texts of Jesus. 



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