Residents And Bars Work To Balance The Noise

Posted On 12/18/2015 by St. Pete Chamber
Earlier this year in May, the city listened to the concerns of St. Petersburg’s downtown residents about the level of noise at night in downtown St. Petersburg. While there were only a few downtown establishments causing most of the complaints, a large showing of downtown residents and bar owners attended a lively meeting at City Hall where they provided their input on everything from noise decibels to enforcement. After the May meeting, city staff and Councilman Karl Nurse took the input and looked at comparable noise ordinances around the country, as well as how to make incremental improvements to the noise ordinance rather than one broad sweeping change to the noise ordinance. Councilman Nurse promised the group that the city would invite the group back later in the year to provide input again on the proposed changes.
This week Councilman Nurse and city staff hosted a follow-up meeting on the proposed changes to the noise ordinance, which included:

Proposed Noise Ordinance Changes:  Applies to sidewalk cafes in the right-of-way

•    Speakers shall be permanently mounted and oriented downwards or directly toward the sidewalk café.  Speakers shall be identified on the approved plan for a sidewalk café permit.

•    Indoor speakers located within 20 ft. of the doorway which opens onto the street right-of-way shall be oriented away from the doorway.

•    No speakers may be placed in the right-of-way unless the abutting business has an approved plan in a sidewalk café permit which identifies the speaker locations.

•    Privately owned outdoor places:  whenever possible outdoor speakers shall be oriented away from the right-of-way and residential properties

After an hour of thoughtful discussion between Councilman Nurse, city staff, downtown residents and downtown bar owners, it was agreed that requiring establishments to have permanently mounted speakers point downwards or directly toward the sidewalk café was a good starting point, but wasn’t going to be the only change. This week’s meeting was a prime example of how a growing city like St. Petersburg should work to balance an active downtown with the quality of life for residents. The St. Pete Chamber will continue to work with our downtown Chamber members and residents to inform them of future city meetings and changes to the noise ordinance.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Travis Norton at 727-388-0682 or

Category: Advocacy