Sarasota News Leader

10/19/2012

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Sarasota News Leader October 19, 2012 more of a headache for local business owners to feature live music." "The Lemon Coast was shut down many times," said Claire Franklin, referring to a for- mer downtown venue. "We played at the Met- ro Café on Osprey, and even inside a closed building we were shut down." Franklin has played in town for 20 years. Rich Swier Jr., one of the founders of The HuB — the private group that supports a wide range of entrepreneurs — said, "The law is so extreme it does not allow us to build an econ- omy around music and art. There has to be a middle ground." Sarasota native Steve McCalister said, "Go downtown now at 11 o'clock, and it looks like a retirement village. These [noise] com- plaints should not be anonymous. We want to celebrate life; we want this place to be a music destination." Floribean Restaurant Manager Rafael Perez said, "I got citations. I got written up. They even wrote me up for a guy with a piano. I did 12 hours of commu- nity service the first time. The city gave me fines. Then I took them to trial, and the city dismissed the case and apologized. Why is a property owned by the city allowed to play music blasting outside while we who own property can't do that?" One place downtown does have special rules. Mattison's Café on Lemon Avenue can allow Page 25 music to be played until 11 p.m. For every- body else, the cutoff is 10 p.m. One resident of the Savoy condo downtown told the group, "Most of us can accept 10 p.m., but certainly not 11. Let's compromise and re- duce the volume." THE REALITY For a decade, the city's one-size-fits-all noise ordinance has strangled amplified music downtown. The cause celebre was the Lemon Coast Grill at the corner of Pineapple Avenue and State Street. Professionals Group] board from 10 years ago on my office wall. Half of them are gone today. I have a picture of the [Young Casey Coburn Sarasota resident Dubbed "the downtown beach bar," the open- air pub bounced live music off the blank wall of an adjacent office building to "entertain" residents of the newly erected downtown condominiums. The Lemon Coast's owners rebuffed any and all attempts to moderate their noisy endeavor. In what was to be the first test of Sarasota's emerging "condo com- mandos" versus "don't tread on me" musical libertarians, the result was the day the music died — and stayed dead for a decade. The noise ordinance contains several pro- visions making it more than the usual bark- ing-dog measure. Any complainer may remain anonymous. Normally it takes a real person to make a complaint about an ordinance vio- lation, but the situation is different with this regulation. As a consequence, investigators cannot mea- sure the sound scientifically at the point of

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