Biomass Turns to Scandal As City Manager Shuts Down GPD Noise Complaint Process Reply

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Russ Blackburn MugFollowing clarification of the noise ordinance by City attorney, the City manager, Russ Blackburn apparently ordered GPD to cease taking noise disturbance complaints form Turkey Creek residents.

Larry Noegel informed the TC group of the GPD complaints shut-down on 10/4:

I called in a noise complaint to 352-955-1818 around 2:35 am. Can’t sleep so I emailed this message. They told me that they were not taking noise complaints from this area anymore. They said all noise complaints were to be forwarded to the Alachua Police Department. They were able to transfer me to the APD and my incident #13013096. It’s 10/05/13 I think. – Sleepless in Alachua, Larry Noegel

This act of desperation to protect GREC from enforcement of the City’s noise ordinance is the latest in the Biomass incinerator scandal.

Noise Ordinance:
Noise disturbance means any sound which:

  1. Disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivities;
  2. Exceeds the sound level limits set forth in this chapter; or
  3. Is plainly audible as defined in this section.

“Plainly audible means any sound or noise produced by any source, or reproduced by a radio, tape player, television, CD player, electronic audio equipment, musical instrument, sound amplifier or other mechanical or electronic soundmaking device, or non amplified human voice that can be clearly heard by a person using his/her normal hearing faculties, at a distance of 200 feet or more from the real property line of the source of the sound or noise.”

The ordinance clearly does NOT require sound level limits to be exceeded on any device in order to qualify as a “noise disturbance”.

______________

More Detail on Noise Disturbance

Noise Ordinance_City of Gainesville.pdf

The Gainesville’ noise ordinance is adequate to prevent the noise from GREC but Gainesville officials have been reluctant to hold GREC to laws or contract conditions.
 
GREC has agreed to unconditionally comply with City Ordinances in their contract to wit:
 
16. COMPLIANCE WITH LEGAL REQUIREMENTS
16.1 Governmental Jurisdiction and Regulatory Compliance. Each Party shall at all times comply with all applicable laws, ordinances, rules, and regulations
applicable to it, including,…   (Some language omitted for clarity.)
 
Below are citations from the noise ordinance that are subjective.  They do not require the use of mechanical measurements to establish that violations exist.
 
The ordinance:
Found in section 15-2 Defilnitions
Plainly audible means any sound or noise produced by any source, or reproduced by a radio, tape player, television, CD player, electronic audio equipment, musical instrument, sound amplifier or other mechanical or electronic soundmaking device, or nonamplified human voice that can be clearly heard by a person using his/her normal hearing faculties, at a distance of 200 feet or more from the real property line of the source of the sound or noise.
Noise means any sound which disturbs humans or other animals, or which causes or tends to cause an adverse psychological or physiological effect on humans or other animals.
Noise disturbance means any sound which:
(1)   Disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivities;
(2)   Exceeds the sound level limits set forth in this chapter; or
(3)   Is plainly audible as defined in this section.
 
Found in section 15-3
Prohibited acts.
(a)          General prohibition. It shall be unlawful and a violation of this chapter to make, cause or allow the making of any sound that causes a noise disturbance, as defined in section 15-2 (above).
 
Found in section 15-5
Measurement or assessment of sound
b)    Assessment without sound level meter. Any police officer or other official designated by the city manager or designee who hears a noise or sound that is plainly audible, as defined in section 15-2, in violation of this chapter, shall assess the noise or sound according to the following standards:
(1)   The primary means of detection shall be by means of the official’s normal hearing faculties, so long as the official’s hearing is not enhanced by any mechanical device, such as a hearing aid.
(2)   The official must have a direct line of sight and hearing to the real property of the source of the sound or noise so that the official can readily identify the offending source of the sound or noise and the distance involved. If the official is unable to have a direct line of sight and hearing to the real property of the source of the sound or noise, then the official shall confirm the source of the sound or noise by approaching the suspected real property source of the sound or noise until the official is able to obtain a direct line of sight and hearing, and identify the identical or same sound or noise that was heard at the place of original assessment of the sound or noise.
(3)   The official need not determine the particular words or phrases being said or produced or the name of any song or artist producing the noise or sound. The detection of a rhythmic bass reverberating type of noise or sound is sufficient to constitute a plainly audible noise or sound.
 
Found in section 15-6 Violation procedures under complaint procedure

(2)   When a complaint has been received, a designated official shall investigate the charges. If the official finds probable cause to believe the owner/operator is in violation of this chapter, the official shall issue a warning to cease and desist the violation.

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