Tallahassee city officials are recommending that city commissioners adopt a change to the current noise ordinance to address concerns noted by law enforcement.
These concerns relate to the lack of cooperation with businesses to initiate a noise complaint where large groups have gathered.
The agenda item states that the City’s noise ordinance is ineffective at addressing the current issue as it prevents Tallahassee Police Department (TPD) officers from initiating a noise complaint. The only available option to disperse the gatherings involves a business agreeing to a trespass notice, which allows TPD to clear the crowds.
However, this action includes having to close the business for the night and typically leads to parties moving from one location to the other in the same night.
The problem began during the COVID pandemic.
At the onset of the pandemic when businesses and nightclubs closed for COVID safety measures, large gatherings in parking lots became an alternative for residents seeking nighttime entertainment. These parking lot gatherings did not end when COVID safety measures changed, they have gained popularity.
Law enforcement reports that these gatherings have led to disruptions in residential neighborhoods and are responsible for illegal activity, including violent crime.
In October 2020, the City created the Crowd Control Taskforce comprised of a supervisor and eight officers, with the goal of dispersing crowds as quickly and as safely as possible. The Taskforce identifies problematic locations, works with property and business owners, and patrols the locations of the gatherings. Overall, the Taskforce has resulted in several felony arrests (181), illegal drug confiscations, and seizure of illegally possessed firearms (58).
City officials highlight that the Taskforce has used all the means at its disposal to address these gatherings. However, the issue has drawn a disproportionate number of resources, including more than 6,000 hours which amounts to over $250,000 of operating costs to date.
The recommended changes allow law enforcement to be the complainant, to initiate the enforcement of the noise nuisance, which is a standard practice for similar nuisance violations.
In addition, the changes maintain application by land use, such as urban core vs. residential, holds property owners accountable for a noise nuisance in their property and increases penalties.
The agenda item notes that Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Gainesville applies noise ordinances based on land use and allows officers to pursue violations.
The City lies about gbe noise issue bring new. It’s been going on regularly at tbe Ross Dress for Less on t3be Parkway since the 80’s or before. On one occassion I went up to a row of 6 “noise task force” cops, all parked to driver side to driver side having a nice long chat together, and I filed a formal complaint right then in person about the noise and the very prolific illegal drug use that was clearly evident. They said they could do anything without a decibel meter. So, tbe city can waste $200,000 on a special noise task force that can do nothing without a relatively inexpensive decibel meter. I don’t think those officers even bothered to put down their donuts when I was filing my complaint to them in person. Disgraceful. I wonder if they were making overtime pay to sit there chatting in the midst of horrendous noise.
I’m kinda on the city’s side on this one. The parking lot parties have become too frequent and too much of a nuisance.
The Circle K on N. Monroe at Sharer had them recur every weekend for a time. The parties made it difficult for customers to get into the store or to buy gas. The volume was turned up so high that everyone driving past the station/store was treated to somebody else’s “music”. The Circle K was reluctant to call the police for fear of alienating “potential customers” (translation: the crowd was largely black and the music rap — they didn’t want minority activists targeting them in retaliation). It wasn’t until the neighbors started complaining about the noise, still loud enough to disturb their sleeping hours, that some effort was made to contain them.
Have WCOT go out and film it, have TPD run their license tags, then run the footage on WCOT 24/7 with their names… this can replace the 24/7 promo spots ( illegal re-election campaign tv ads) that Mayor Dailey is running of himself telling everybody how wonderful Tallahassee is.
The city commission is a disgrace, they lie about everything while our community descends into a lawless quagmire, then they refuse to do anything but make matters worse.
I have to get out of here, this place cannot be fixed, there are too many dirty politicians standing in the way. All good people should leave Tallahassee to the lying, lawless cretins that are running it into the ground.
I am happy to hear that there is some interest in addressing this problem. I live directly across from one of these gas stations and am really weary of trying to wait out the noise so that I can get some sleep; or having to turn my tv up 3 times as loud just to follow what’s going on; or picking up the trash that finds its way into my yard from the businesses within a block of my home. What rights are you trying to protect when you trample my very basic right to enjoy my home in peace? It’s okay to enjoy your music, but these vehicles have stereo systems designed for a nightclub. It sounds like music to you, but for me, the excessive bass is like water torture! I haven’t heard any music for about 5 minutes now, maybe they are finally done for tonight. It’s 1:48am!!!
So true Snidely, I remember back in the mid 80’s on Friday and Saturday Nights we used to hang out on West Tennessee St after Dark. A group of us in our Mustangs would cruise to Quinsey’s Steak House on the Strip by the Round Holliday Inn for Dinner. Then we Cruised down to the Bowling Ally for a few Games. Then we cruise over to the GULF Gas Station after they closed and hang out. We filled up that Parking Lot, International Auto Parts Parking Lot and the Big Boy’s Lot plus many would be at the Varsity’s Lot and in the Lot across the Street. Many cool cars would be cruising up and down the Strip. My group consisted of 9 1970 & 1 1969 Mach 1 Mustangs. Around Mid Night we would cruise out to Street Race afterwards we would go to the Village Inn on the Parkway for Breakfast before going in to Work just to do again Saturday Night. I had 2 1970 Mach 1’s back then, an R-Code CJ and a Cleveland. Those times were awesome.
Apparently the City wants the public to believe the parking lot parties began during and as a result of the COVID pandemic. That is disingenuous, not true, or just a lie.
This has been going on since at least 2011 when I personally witnessed countless such parties at the Circle K on Appalachee Parkway across from the state Dept. of Highway Safety and at the Chevron on the corner of Orange and Springhill Road.
Well before the COVID pandemic the parking lot party practice has been a historical thing and baked into the brains of locals who want to do that sort of thing.
Why would the City want to associate the long standing parking lot party tradition with the COVID pandemic? Maybe there is a grant or some type of pandemic funding The City is setting the table for? Who knows. But bottom line is The City presented a not truthful scenario for local media to help get out there as being truthful.
If the County/City cannot solve the Homeless Problem or the Black Crime problem….by golly let’s make a problem they can solve. I hope they can waste more tax dollars and form a committee to hire a committee to solve the noise problem.
Hey Gov. DeSantis, It doesn’t help me if you keep Florida Free while allowing local County and City Governments to take my rights away.