MILTON, Fla. (WKRG) — Speaking too loudly or playing music for too long in Santa Rosa County could now lead to a hefty fine.
The Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners passed a new noise ordinance Tuesday morning that says residents cannot have noise louder than 60 decibels coming from their property line between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Sixty decibels is about the same as a normal speaking voice.
Commissioner Bob Cole said the old ordinance wasn’t cutting it for residents.
“You had to be able to complain about an audible noise inside your home with your windows and doors closed,” Cole said. “I just don’t think that’s fair when someone gets home from work in the afternoon or hard day at the office, you want to be able to enjoy the property you worked for.”
The new ordinance will require deputies and code enforcement responding to noise complaints to record the sound with a decibel reader. The county plans to order about a half dozen of the readers.
Anything above 60 decibels heard from outside of a Santa Rosa County property line for more than a minute could lead to a fine if it persists. Cole said $100 to $500 fines are possible, depending on the noise level.
“If you want to walk around your backyard and sip a beer or sip a cup of tea and just enjoy what you worked hard for, and you have a neighbor that doesn’t have a concern for noises he’s creating in his yard, I’ve got a problem with that,” Cole said.
Residents will be warned and repeat offenders will be fined.
“If they continue that action and won’t be responsible citizens and have concerns for their neighbors, then they need to be fined for that,” Cole said.
It will take some time for the county to get the decibel readers. Once they do, the ordinance will be go into full effect.