Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Police adds decibel meters to enforce revamped noise ordinance

Apalachicola Police Officer Chase Richards holds one 
of six decibel meters to be purchased by the department.

Officers with the Apalachicola Police Department will soon be adding decibel meters to their duty belts, a move undertaken after city commissioners passed a revamped noise ordinance at their May 5, 2015, regular meeting.

The intent of the ordinance is to clamp down on noise disturbance and noise pollution throughout the City of Apalachicola regardless of source. The ordinance calls for determining violations with a decibel meter.

Between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., noise that exceeds 60 decibels at a residential lot line will be in violation of the ordinance. From 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., the violation level is 55 decibels and 65 decibels for commercial areas.

People who violate the ordinance shall be prosecuted in court on misdemeanor charges and if convicted the first offense shall be punishable by a fine of $50, for the second offense a fine of $150 will be imposed; and for the third offense and thereafter, a fine of $250 or a 60-day stay in the county jail will be assessed.

According to Apalachicola Police Chief Bobby Varnes, officers within his department have been instructed to issue warnings to violators over the next 2 - 4 weeks, (unless already given a warning) to raise awareness of the new law.

For events and activities that will exceed the maximum permissible noise levels permitted by the ordinance, a special permit can be obtained by completing and filing an application with the City Administrator, anyone denied a special permit may file an administrative appeal to the city commission.