Recommendation anticipated by mid-June on cost for extra staff monitoring of Siesta noise complaints

Photo by Norman Schimmel

Sarasota County’s director of planning and development services hopes to have a proposal prepared before mid-June regarding the costs of part-time and full-time code enforcement work in Siesta Village to handle noise complaints, The Sarasota News Leader has learned.

Rob Lewis has been charged by County Administrator Randall Reid with researching that information for a report to the County Commission.

Lewis said May 30 that he hoped to complete the report in time for its consideration during the County Commission’s workshops June 12-13, to address the county’s 2013 fiscal year budget.

The cost of a full-time code enforcement officer working in Siesta Village to deal with the noise ordinance would be about $44,000, according to a memo Lewis sent Reid on May 4.

During comments at the end of the County Commission’s regular meeting on May 23, Commissioner Nora Patterson had asked her fellow board members for support in delaying any action on the recommendations Lewis had included in the May 4 memo.

“The restaurants and the bars are making a real effort again, and right now there’s peace again” in the Village, Patterson said.

Lewis’ memo suggested the County Commission could enact new regulations regarding live entertainment in Siesta Village, using a City of Indian Rocks Beach noise ordinance as a model. That ordinance requires the issuance of “outdoor entertainment” permits that are good just for one year and are specific about decibel levels. Any violations a business has incurred during the year are taken into consideration when the business applies for renewal of its permit.

The memo suggests that such entertainment permits could be required of restaurants and bars in Siesta Village, along with special exceptions for entertainment after 10 p.m.

Referring to Siesta Key businesses, Patterson said, “You can’t go back to the ones we’ve already given special exceptions to and put a condition on them like that …”

The memo also suggested the county use only code enforcement officers to handle noise complaints, Patterson noted, while Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office deputies have been working in conjunction with code enforcement staff to deal with reported problems.

Patterson said she felt deputies still should help with the situation. Nonetheless, she added, “we should have some code enforcement out there in the evenings, at least on a sporadic basis.”

Reid agreed that evening hours and weekends were the most common times for noise ordinance violations to be reported in Siesta Village.