Longbeach Village residents pushing for reprieve from the din of parties off of Longboat Key’s coast have another hurdle in their way: An official opinion from the office of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.
The Intracoastal Waterway is off limits for Longboat boating ordinances, according an official Aug. 2 opinion from Senior Assistant Attorney General Gerry Hammond. Even though Jewfish Key falls within municipal boundaries, the town has no authority over the island, which is known to attract raucous boaters and blaring stereos.
“Attorney General opinions are generally considered persuasive authority on the subject matters they relate,” wrote Town Attorney in an email to town commissioners this morning. “Accordingly, I would recommend that the Town Commission review this opinion and when the Commission reconvenes for meetings in September or October, we can revisit this subject matter and discuss whether updates to the Town’s noise regulations are advisable in light of this opinion.”
In March, town commissioners asked staff to explore an ordinance that cites specific decibel levels for violations. Currently, the Key’s municipal code is more subjective, ruling noise that’s “plainly audible, and annoyance and a disturbance” as illegal, Mooney-Portale said in a previous interview with the Longboat Observer.
Town staff had planned to ask commissioners to spend as much $75,000 for a consultant to establish decibel levels, and equipment for officers to measure those proposed levels during enforcement.
Mooney-Portale had contended that the state laws only covered noise from boat engines and equipment.
“Courts have repeatedly held regulations of nuisance sound as an inherent authority of local governments so long as there are no constitutional violations in the drafting or application of the regulation,” she wrote in the May 3 memo to Bondi.