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Fort Walton Beach noise ordinance

FORT WALTON BEACH   -- Now that Fort Walton Beach has approved a downtown entertainment district, they've made some rules to keep the party from getting too loud.

The entertainment district ordinance creates special rules for noise levels, drinking alcohol in public, and street closures during certain hours every week. It takes effect next week. City leaders have set fines for going over the noise limit.

Laura Hussey "This sound equipment is being set up for the Musical Echoes Festival at Fort Walton Landing. Noise levels here shouldn't be too much of a problem, the city is the landlord. Soon there will be new rules in place for everyone"

Live music already sets a mood downtown, especially during events like this Friday night Art Walk.
More music and events are expected, now that it's been designated as an entertainment district.

Brendon Grimes/TSC Productions "It's nice to have a small band in there, but sometimes they bring larger bands in, and the larger bands have their own audio engineers, and they expect it to be very much louder"

Sound consultant Brendon Grimes says with so many outdoor venues, some limits make sense.
Downtown is a mixed-use area, with a number of residential condos.

Laurie Schumacher/downtown visitor "Out of courtesy I think that there does need to be some restriction, because....they were here first, pretty much"

The city council set noise limits when it approved the entertainment district.

A maximum of eighty decibels will be allowed until midnight Monday through Thursday, and until two a-m on weekends.
City staffers say that's comparable to a medium-sized truck.

Brendon Grimes "They need to have DB levels set, and they need to have a metric to measure it by, so it needs to be a distance."

Police will have decibel meters, to check levels from a hundred feet away if complaints are made.   
As of May 1, property owners will be fined up to two-hundred-fifty dollars for breaking the rules.

Laura Hussey "While the system of fines is progressive, the ordinance also says that even on a first offense, violators could be asked to cut it off for 24 hours."