St. Augustine Beach reviews noise ordinance

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Members of the St. Augustine Beach City Commission recently asked planners to see if changes can be made to the current noise ordinance.

The ordinance currently prohibits bands from playing outside restaurants. However, music at the Pier is an exception.

Planners believe the noise ordinance is fine the way it is. Commissioners aren't sure.

"I think it should stay as it is," said Curt Nordeen, who lives in St. Augustine Beach. "This is a quite peaceful town. We don't need the upscale, loud bands. So yeah, it's a good idea."

The ordinance prohibits noise more than 200 feet from the property line.

However, the city doesn't have the "proper equipment" to measure the noise and distance, one commissioner said.

The owner of Panama Hatties said it has live bands set up inside but because of the ordinance he has to close the doors on the top deck to make sure he's following the rules. He said it gets hot up there.

But Curt Nordeen, a regular at the bar, said he thinks it's respectful to the apartment complexes nearby.

"St. Augustine is a very touristy area," Nordeen said. "It's quiet and low key. It's not like going down to Daytona where the high rises and noise. It's laid back and people want to keep it that way."

Pat Heffron thinks times have changed and the ordinance is a thing of the past.

"A lot of the ordinances were made a long time ago when people had different views of what should be permissible on the beach," Heffron said. "Times have changed, and in the economic climate now, it would benefit a lot of these businesses if they could allow entertainment on the beach."

According to the city, only two people have complained in the last 10 years, but one of the commissioners said that doesn't mean it isn't a problem. The City Council plans on discussing the ordinance and what to do about it June 9.