JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A new ordinance in Jacksonville Beach could change how you listen to live music outside.
Businesses to get a permit for their outdoor space, but not everyone is on board with what that requires. The City of Jacksonville said the new ordinance is a way to making things fair for more restaurants and bars to play live music outside, but one bar owner said it’s far from fair.
“I was blindsided,” said the Wreck Tiki Bar and Lounge managing operator Fernando Meza said. “Every bar in this area was blindsided.”
Meza said the ordinance passed by Jacksonville Beach could mean losing money, and that possibility keeps him up at night.
“I couldn’t sleep, didn’t really sleep," he said. "I was frustrated."
The ordinance is part of a pilot program meant to open-up more patios to live music. Businesses would need a permit to abide by low acoustic levels or close their doors at 10 p.m. Jacksonville Beach City Manager George Forbes explains how that is a change of how things have been over the last decade.
“We grandfather people in now that had outdoor music, but we didn’t allow anyone else to have outdoor music and that was a direct result of many, many numerous problems with noise complaints with outdoor music,” Forbes said.
Meza says police officers asked him late last week to bring the doors down at 10 p.m. to keep the music inside the bar area from leaking-out onto the patio.
But Forbes says new permits aren’t ready yet, so there is nothing to enforce. The goal, Forbes added, is so that someone can carry-on a conversation with music still playing. However, he said it is communication that the city is working to improve.
“I think as part of this roll-out there has been some misinformation, maybe that misinformation has come from us (phone beep), but we’re getting that straightened-out,” Forbes said.
Meza said that leaves him wondering how to serve-up drinks and music to his customers.
“I don’t blast music, I don’t want to blast music because people don’t enjoy that, but I want to provide that sort of ambiance that people enjoy when they go to a beach bar,” Meza said.
Forbes said the City will meet with business owners in the coming days to better explain how the ordinance will work.