Quiet Nights Ahead: Tamarac Takes a Stand on Noise Restrictions and Fireworks

Residents Fighting a Loud Neighbor Feel “Intimidated and Abandoned”, Say Tamarac Needs Better Noise Ordinance

By Agrippina Fadel

Residents are advised to lower the music and save the fireworks for Independence Day and New Year’s Eve as Tamarac cracks down on noise with a new ordinance.

The city commission unanimously approved the noise ordinance in the first reading at the May 24 meeting. Still, Mayor Michelle Gomez expressed concerns about whether it will have “enough teeth” to deter repeat offenders.

Maxine Calloway, Assistant City Manager and Director of the Community Development Department said the ordinance provides Broward Sheriff’s Office and Code Enforcement with better tools to address the violations: a clear definition of what noise is and higher fines.

The ordinance defines noise as “harmful to the health, welfare, and safety of residents” and interfering with the comfortable enjoyment of life, property, and privacy of the home.

Calloway added that the ordinance has an amendment for fireworks which would now be completely prohibited to use except for three days: New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and Independence Day.

The city also reduced the distance between loud music and public spaces from 25 to 15 feet, making it unlawful to operate a radio or device of any kind that casts sound to a public place or lot 15 feet or more away from the source of the noise.

The fines for violations include $250 per day for the first occurrence and $500 per day for each additional offense, and the code enforcement board and special magistrate are authorized to fine offenders from $1,000 to $5,000 per day, up to $15,000 if the violation is irreversible in nature.

Gomez, who stated in the past that the city needs a stronger stance on noise regulations, reminded her colleagues that some residents complain about loud music during the day, not at night, and police had issues stopping the rowdy neighbors from turning the sound back up to unreasonable levels as soon as the patrol car leaves.

The mayor suggested taking away the mention of time from the ordinance, which states residents should not violate the regulations “particularly from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.”

Calloway agreed that the ordinance could be changed accordingly. Due to the rules of the proceedings, Commissioner Elvin Villalobos introduced the motion to approve the ordinance, and Commissioner Morey Wright, who seconded it, had to agree to the friendly amendment to exclude the time limits from the ordinance description.

Neither objected to the change – until Vice Mayor Marlon Bolton voiced his displeasure with the proposed amendment.

“[The ordinance] is enough as written and will have enough teeth. We can change it later if it doesn’t work,” Bolton said.

Commissioner Kicia Daniel supported him, saying that enforcing the ordinance during the day makes it too broad. “So no one can have noise? Kids can’t play?” she said.

Wright then promptly rescinded his support of the change.

“The ordinance needs to be enforceable. This is not about children playing during the day or neighbors having a party and playing music at a reasonable level. It is about excessive music to the point where people cannot enjoy their homes,” Gomez said.

The commission approved the ordinance with the existing 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. time frame. It will come in front of the commission for the final reading at the next meeting, and should it be approved, the city’s Public Information Office will inform the residents about the new rules and fines.

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Agrippina Fadel
Agrippina Fadel
Agrippina Fadel grew up in Siberia and received her master's in journalism from Tyumen State University. Agrippina is also a writer and editor at Draftsy.net. She has been a US resident for over ten years and speaks English and Russian.
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