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Thursday, February 02, 2023

Complaint leads commission to consider fairground noise control

In response to an emailed complaint sent to the Gainesville City Commission last year, county officials are considering changes to noise rules at the Alachua County Fairgrounds.

In the email, originally sent to city officials in September, Gainesville resident Eva Squires wrote that at 1:45 a.m. on Sept. 22, she was awoken by noise coming from a show at the fairgrounds.

Squires lives on Northeast 17th Terrace, which is about 1.5 miles from the fairgrounds, located at 3100 NE 39th Ave. It wasn’t the first time she’s had to deal with the noise, she wrote.

“This is, in fact, the second time I have made a trip over to said fairgrounds to track rave music that I could hear clearly inside my home after 12 a.m.,” she wrote.

The show in question was part of Life in Color’s E.N.D. Tour.

During a meeting earlier this month, county commissioners discussed potential fixes for noise at the fairgrounds.

Commissioner Robert “Hutch” Hutchinson said the commission is considering time limits on amplified noise. He suggested shutting off music between midnight and 7 a.m.

“We own the fairgrounds,” he said. “We can base the rental agreement for the fairgrounds on whatever reasonable criteria we come up with, and one of those would be that all amplified music be turned off by a certain hour.”

Robert Avery, Alachua County parks superintendent, said Feb. 19 he, too, is evaluating options and will make a recommendation to the county manager and the County Commission.

The process, he said, could take four to six weeks.

Avery said a change in noise rules could affect future bookings at the fairgrounds.

He added the rules’ impact at the fairgrounds would be minimal because few large concerts are booked there.

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“Concerts will likely not rent the fairgrounds if they have to stop at midnight,” he said.

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