Tampa City Council narrowly avoids deadlock in repealing controversial noise ordinance
Florida, Tampa, Tampa Theater, Illuminated Marquee, Built In 1926, Art Deco, National Register Of Historic Places

Tampa 1
The city's staff will return in one month with a plan to engage the community and draft a new noise ordinance.

The Tampa City Council Thursday narrowly avoided a deadlocked vote as it repealed a controversial new noise ordinance.

The ordinance was to go into effect in June. Instead, the city’s staff will return in one month with a plan to engage the community and draft a new noise ordinance. Staff will also prevent council members with an ordinance to provide immediate relief to residents of the Channelside District who said bass from nearby bars and restaurants shakes the rebar in their buildings through the night.

With the repeal, Tampa’s current ordinance regarding noise will remain in effect.

“I think a lot of people in different parts of the city were very frustrated by the repeal because it sent the message that we’re doing nothing,” Council member Luis Viera said. “By doing this, we’re saying we’re going to get people together to deal with acutely affected areas, to balance out residential interests with business interests.”

Viera said offering a package was the path to avoiding a tie vote. During discussion, Council members Bill Carlson, Joe Citro and Charlie Miranda indicated they wanted the ordinance to stand. But Guido Maniscalco, Viera and Council Chair Orlando Gudes seemed to support the repeal. The seven-member body was reduced to six with the resignation of John Dingfelder Monday. Dingfelder, who initiated the repeal, would’ve been the tie breaker.

Nicole Travis, Tampa’s administrator of development and economic opportunity, said she agreed with Viera’s package plan. Looking at the repeal, engagement and relief for Channelside, Citro said he could support the repeal.

Council members initially approved the amendment Jan. 13. The ordinance would’ve amended current noise guidelines by eliminating outdoor amplified sound in the city after midnight, reducing acceptable noise levels after 1 a.m. and giving police more freedom in citing noise violations.

Residents said the new rules were needed to quell late-night disturbances. But the business community pushed back, saying music on patios and roofs are often major economic drivers, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m about 60% of my usual business revenue. Bands get sick and tours get postponed. I just rescheduled 20 concerts that would’ve taken place in January and February for the spring and the fall,” Crowbar owner Tom DeGeorge said about the original discussion in January. “We as owners and operators, we’re barely holding on. And I know that the strictest ordinance I’ve seen in 20 years that I’ve worked in this city is not the answer for most of our small businesses, which have already struggled so much while development continues and big box stores have record-breaking years.”

The ordinance was approved with the caveat that the city must engage different communities and amend the ordinance before it went into effect. But last month Dingfelder said he had “buyer’s remorse” in voting to approve because of the confusing message it sent. A few weeks later, Council members began the repeal process. City staff then canceled community meetings, saying those were based on directions that were changed.

The only members of the public to speak against a repeal were residents of the Channelside District. The City Council promised residents of that neighborhood expedient relief.

Daniel Figueroa IV

Bronx, NY —> St. Pete, Fla. Just your friendly, neighborhood journo junkie with a penchant for motorcycles and Star Wars. Daniel has spent the last decade covering Tampa Bay and Florida for the Ledger of Lakeland, Tampa Bay Times, and WMNF. You can reach Daniel Figueroa IV at [email protected].

One comment

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704