Downtown tower dwellers to Miami dance clubs: Turn down the noise!

By Linda Robertson

JULY 05, 2017 06:30 AM, UPDATED JULY 05, 2017 10:05 PM

Imagine panoramic vistas of Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline from your balcony, sipping coffee or cocktails from a breezy bird’s-eye-view perch that places you in the energizing epicenter of the city you adore.

Then imagine having to abandon that balcony every weekend for the interior of your condo-turned-glass-cage where you must cower like a bunker occupant but still cannot escape the aural assault of an incessant, pulsating, thumping noise.

Turn it off? No. Because while you want to sleep, the patrons of the nightclubs 50 floors below want to dance into the wee and even breakfast hours to the driving bass beat of electronic music that climbs upward, seeps through closed windows and drills into your aching brain.

“Boom, boom, boom. Nonstop from Friday night to Monday morning,” said Michael Graubert, who has lived for three years in the Marquis building at 1100 Biscayne Boulevard, a few blocks from the clubs on Northeast 11th Street. “It gets louder as it travels up the buildings. This goes far beyond noise you would expect in the urban core. This is noise that disrupts your life and affects your health.”

Gail Feldman moved from Brickell Avenue to 900 Biscayne in January. She and her husband were excited by the idea of being downtown, walking their dog and chatting with neighbors in Museum Park, strolling to performances, art exhibits, basketball games and restaurants, and relaxing after a long work week in their home on the 61st floor.

“Never did I think that living in a beautiful penthouse would be like living in hell,” said Feldman, who recalled being awakened one night at 3 a.m. and traipsing bleary-eyed to the drugstore to buy earplugs that didn’t work. “I like music, but this is not music. There isn’t one square inch in our place where you cannot hear and feel the banging, blood-curdling noise. It doesn’t matter how many pillows you put over your head. It’s turning residents into lunatics.”

Tower dwellers along Biscayne Boulevard are fed up with intrusive music that never seems to stop playing. On the north end, it emanates from DJs nicknamed Thunderpony and Ms. Mada spinning techno and house from the rooftop terraces of Club Space, Heart Nightclub and E11even, whose motto is “Open 24/7. No Sleep.” On the south end, it blares from frequent Bayfront Park festivals such as Ultra and Rolling Loud and from nightly live bands at Bayside Marketplace.

When downtown Miami was a barren place that emptied out at 6 p.m., nobody cared about the music. The clubs, in fact, were lured to the Park West Entertainment District in 2000 by the offer of 24-hour liquor licenses and the city’s hope that they would enliven a blighted, crime-ridden pocket by the Interstate 395 overpass.

But as the population has grown to 88,000 in the past decade, so has the conflict between those who enjoy or profit from loud music and residents who are demanding enforcement of the city’s noise ordinance and a reduction of the number of events in the park. Soon, the Zaha Hadid-designed building with units starting at $5 million will open, as will the Paramount tower in the Miami World Center complex.

“You’re talking almost a billion dollars’ worth of real estate competing with clubland,” Graubert said. “We’ve got to find a way to co-exist.”

Paula Soares has lived on the 47th floor of 50 Biscayne for four years. She used to live in central Sâo Paulo, which, except for occasional screaming during televised soccer games, was “serene” compared with Miami, she said.

“I’m not here on vacation or able to party every day,” Soares said. “This is a residential community with working people and families. I think the city gives preference to the events that bring in money rather than respect to the citizens who pay taxes.”

Soares tries to leave when Ultra comes to town. This year, the Rolling Loud hip-hop festival was added to the already jammed calendar of weekend events. Every night, she can hear music wafting over from Bayside; on Thursday, it was a grating cover of Santana songs.

Miami’s noise ordinance states that any noise audible more than 100 feet from the source is a violation. For years, it was rarely enforced at night or on weekends because no code compliance officers worked late hours. Police could respond but could not issue citations. But in May, finally answering the complaints of residents, Commissioner Ken Russell, Assistant City Manager Alberto Parjus and new Code Compliance Director Orlando Diez made enforcement a priority by shifting staff to a midnight shift that is deployed throughout the city.

During Memorial Day weekend, Parjus was out on 11th Street when $500 citations were issued to all three clubs on Friday and Saturday night. If violations accrue beyond two, the city can pull operating licenses.

The clubs plan to appeal and may mount a legal challenge to the law at a July 20 hearing. Residents plan to attend en masse.

“We’re prepared for the backlash of ‘Boo-hoo for these rich people who can’t sleep, and didn’t they realize they were moving next to the club district?’ ” said Mark Kirby, who has lived at 900 Biscayne since 2010. “But since the clubs opened, the area has evolved into a neighborhood. People have a basic right to live in peace and quiet.”

Kirby, an interior designer who moved to Miami Beach during its renaissance to partake in the party scene, doesn’t want the clubs to shut down.

“I’ve been there, done that, and have no objection to what’s going on inside,” he said. “Just put a lid on it. Literally. This isn’t only about the three clubs. It’s about a precedent and a standard for the next 20 years of growth in Miami.”

Graubert and a sound engineer measured the decibel level within the clubs at 110, equivalent to the sound of a jackhammer or steel mill. Research shows constant loud noise not only causes hearing damage but a rise in blood pressure, anxiety and aggression. The CIA blasted Metallica, Marilyn Manson and Christina Aguilera at prisoners during interrogation sessions.

“They’ve got massive subwoofers projecting into the air,” he said. “It’s low-frequency noise pollution.”

Play VideoDuration 0:56How noisy are the noises in South Florida?

Using a decibel meter, the Miami Herald measured the volume levels on some common annoying noises in South Florida.

By José A. Iglesias

Residents are asking the clubs to enclose or soundproof their rooftops or move dancing to the ground floor. Graubert cites the example of Club LIV at the Fontainebleau Hotel, a deafening spot if you step inside its doors — but it’s insulated so it doesn’t bother guests.

“Walk around Las Vegas and you never hear noise,” Parjus said. “There are ways to mitigate the sound from leaving the premises.”

Residents praise E11even’s recent decision to silence rooftop shows and its plan to enclose the terrace. The club is also conducting a sound study in preparation for the hearing and will ask that its citations be dismissed.

“That building is a rock with noise-attenuation to the max,” said Louis J. Terminello, a lawyer who represents E11even’s owners. “I don’t think we’re guilty of any noise violations. There’s a giant municipal water chiller, a highway and Metromover right there, so what residents hear is a culmination of noise. If we’re causing a legitimate disturbance, we want to resolve it. But we also want our business to flourish.”

Terminello said that turning down the volume isn’t an option for DJs.

“They are artists who truly believe in the quality of their artistic presentation,” he said. “The residents will tell you everyone is stoned or drunk. They don’t see any art to it. They just want to sleep.”

Heart Nightclub has hired an acoustical engineer to examine ways to reduce noise after an attempt to take measurements from condo units was declined by residents who would not allow access, said Michael Slyder, CFO of Heart and president of the Miami Entertainment District Association.

Heart Nightclub and Club Space, two dance clubs in Miami, draw patrons until dawn. Residents who live in condo towers on Biscayne Boulevard have been complaining about all the noise the cluster of clubs make throughout the night. The clubs intend to fight noise violations recently issued by the city. Bryan Cereijo BCEREIJO@MIAMIHERALD.COM

Heart will “vigorously” challenge the citations but wants to cooperate with neighbors “while protecting the rights of those invested” in the district, Slyder said.

After the Memorial Day crackdown, residents say the clubs turned the music up again. Often, it crests around 5:30 a.m. when a wave of partiers arrives from the Miami Beach clubs that close at 5 a.m. Club Space invites guests to “come dance with us as our sound system roars at the moon and wakes up the sun.”

“Heart and Space are louder than ever. Why be so obstinate?” said Claudia Roussell, who has lived on the 40th floor of 10 Museum Park since 2010. She used to live in New York City and South Beach and doesn’t mind regular street noise. But she has resorted to playing white-noise recordings of “summer rain” and a dishwasher to drown out club noise. Some of her neighbors flee on weekends. “You can’t even say it’s fun music. It’s that penetrating boom, boom, boom.”

In addition to fighting for strict enforcement of the noise ordinance, the Downtown Neighborhood Alliance is circulating a petition asking the city to relocate Ultra and Rolling Loud to more “appropriate” open spaces to the west, said alliance president Amal Kabbani.

Soares has lost hope for peace. She’s planning to move.

“I am very sad because I love this place,” she said with a sigh. “But I am very tired.”

‘Like I’m in The Twilight Zone.’ Debate rages over music in Miami Beach restaurants


JULY 11, 2019 06:30 AM, UPDATED JULY 11, 2019 12:59 PM

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Several years ago, restaurant owner Gerardo Cea wanted to have jazz musicians play at his Miami Beach restaurant.

But restaurants on the island typically can’t host any live entertainment, even at a low volume, without getting a special permit. When Cea, who owns Café Prima Pasta in North Beach, contacted City Hall he learned that the permit would cost roughly $5,000 and take months to obtain.

Cea quickly gave up on the idea. “Apart from being too expensive, there were too many obstacles,” he said.

Under Miami Beach law, businesses can play music on a stereo system at ambient level without a permit, but they can’t hire a violinist to perform during dinner, for example, or host a poetry reading.

“Even if you have a mime come into the restaurant to perform, that would be a violation,” said Robert Siegmann, owner of Icebox Cafe in Sunset Harbour.

Restaurateurs like Siegmann and Cea say the restrictions make it difficult to compete with businesses in other areas of Miami-Dade County that aren’t subject to the same rules.

“South Beach is no longer the only entertainment option in town as it was perhaps in the early 2000s,” Siegmann said. “Now, of course, with the development of Wynwood and Midtown and Brickell and others, all food and beverage operators need to compete on a much more aggressive and broader scale than we ever had to.”

Beach Commissioner John Elizabeth Alemán recently proposed changing the city’s legal definition of “entertainment establishment” to allow businesses to have ambient entertainment — low enough that it won’t interfere with a normal conversation — without applying for a permit.

But the proposal was met with fierce opposition from many South Beach residents, who worry that restaurants would take advantage of the looser restrictions to host loud entertainment that disturbs the neighbors. Residents in two neighborhoods in particular — South of Fifth and Sunset Harbour — say they have worked hard to keep these areas free of the party atmosphere seen in other parts of South Beach.

“This would be a disastrous reversal of direction if applied to South of Fifth, which thrives under the zoning prohibition on entertainment within its borders,” local activist Frank Del Vecchio said in an email. “Prohibiting entertainment has been the single most effective instrument in this success. The result is a true community, for the most part free of the disruption, congestion and need for extensive policing that plagues the Entertainment District.”

Alemán has scrapped her initial idea and is now proposing a one-year pilot program that would allow restaurants to apply for ambient entertainment permits, which would likely cost less than $100 to obtain. The music would have to be indoors and wouldn’t be allowed before 10 a.m. or after midnight.

Miami Beach Commissioner John Elizabeth Alemán said she wants to bring more music to Miami Beach by allowing restaurants to more easily hire musicians. PATRICK FARRELL PFARRELL@MIAMIHERALD.COM

Under the current system, businesses with entertainment permits can appeal code citations to a special master, which makes it harder for the city to stop bad behavior. But the ambient entertainment permits would be given at the discretion of the city manager, Alemán said, which would make it easier for the city to revoke them.

“If all the sudden the Rolling Stones start playing in there, well, we’ll take the permit away,” Alemán said. “But if they wanted to have one of the New World Symphony fellows come and play for brunch, they could do that.”

Using a decibel meter, the Miami Herald measured the volume levels on some common annoying noises in South Florida.

The pilot program would likely be limited to specific areas of the city and the number of permits would be capped, Alemán said. She has promised to exclude South of Fifth and Sunset Harbour from the pilot program because of resident opposition.

At a town hall meeting at the Normandy Shores Golf Course on Tuesday evening, Alemán pitched the idea to residents while a musician visiting for the Miami Classical Music Festival played viola in the background.

South of Fifth resident Steve Jacobson said he was concerned about the city’s ability to enforce the proposed rules because code enforcement officers aren’t equipped with decibel readers. His neighborhood has had problems with businesses violating existing noise ordinances, he said, and with drunk tourists spilling out of the entertainment district and into the neighborhood late at night.

“I think you need to set some objective noise level standards that are enforceable,” he said. “Ambient to you and ambient to me are two different things.”

North Beach resident Betsy Perez, who works in the music industry, said she thought the city’s current rules were ridiculous.

“I feel like I’m in The Twilight Zone,” she said. “I can’t believe that we live in a town where we cannot play music live at the same decibel as the music being played on the radio.”

A second town hall meeting to discuss the proposal will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Murano Grande Community Room at 400 Alton Rd. The proposal will be vetted by the city’s land use and development committee at the end of the month and, if approved, will go to the full commission for a vote.


How Restaurants Got So Loud

Fashionable minimalism replaced plush opulence. That’s a recipe for commotion.
Here is an excellent article by Kate Wagner, writing in The Atlantic (November 27, 2018).

Let me describe what I hear as I sit in a coffee shop writing this article. It’s late morning on a Saturday, between the breakfast and lunch rushes. People talk in hushed voices at tables. The staff make pithy jokes amongst themselves, enjoying the downtime. Fingers clack on keyboards, and glasses clink against wood and stone countertops. Occasionally, the espresso machines grind and roar. The coffee shop is quiet, probably as quiet as it can be while still being occupied. Even at its slowest and most hushed, the average background noise level hovered around 73 decibels (as measured with my calibrated meter).

That’s not dangerous—noise levels become harmful to human hearing above 85 decibels—but it is certainly not quiet. Other sounds that reach 70 decibels include freeway noise, an alarm clock, and a sewing machine. But it’s still quiet for a restaurant. Others I visited in Baltimore and New York City while researching this story were even louder: 80 decibels in a dimly lit wine bar at dinnertime; 86 decibels at a high-end food court during brunch; 90 decibels at a brewpub in a rehabbed fire station during Friday happy hour.

Restaurants are so loud because architects don’t design them to be quiet. Much of this shift in design boils down to changing conceptions of what makes a space seem upscale or luxurious, as well as evolving trends in food service. Right now, high-end surfaces connote luxury, such as the slate and wood of restaurants including The Osprey in Brooklyn or Atomix in Manhattan.

This trend is not limited to New York. According to Architectural Digestmid-century modern and minimalism are both here to stay. That means sparse, modern decor; high, exposed ceilings; and almost no soft goods, such as curtains, upholstery, or carpets. These design features are a feast for the eyes, but a nightmare for the ears. No soft goods and tall ceilings mean nothing is absorbing sound energy, and a room full of hard surfaces serves as a big sonic mirror, reflecting sound around the room.

The result is a loud space that renders speech unintelligible. Now that it’s so commonplace, the din of a loud restaurant is unavoidable. That’s bad for your health—and worse for the staff who works there. But it also degrades the thing that eating out is meant to culture: a shared social experience that rejuvenates, rather than harms, its participants.

Luxury didn’t always mean loud, and there are lessons to be learned from the glamorous restaurants of the past, including actual mid-century-modern eateries. From the 1940s through the early 1990s, fine-dining establishments expressed luxury through generous seating, plush interiors, and ornate decor. But more important, acoustic treatments themselves were a big part of that luxury.

Surfaces that today’s consumers now consider old-fashioned were still relatively new and exciting in the interwar and postwar periods. Just as stainless-steel tabletops, slate-tile floors, and exposed ductwork seem au courant today, so did wall paneling and drop ceilings with acoustic tiles in the 1950s and ’60s.

Architects also had different conceptions of what ideal work and leisure spaces should sound like. In the early to mid-20th century, designers were startled to discover that they might have some control over the aural impression of a physical space. Just as automobiles and kitchen appliances were seen as technological solutions to problems of everyday life, so ambient noise shifted from a symbol of progress in the machine age to a problem it produced—one that demanded a solution.

Early acoustics materials focused on absorbing sound—soaking up sonic energy rather than reflecting it. That approach produced its own idiosyncratic soundscape. As the science historian Emily Thompson explains in her book The Soundscape of Modernity, absorptive materials removed reverberation, producing “clear and direct” sound. “In a culture preoccupied with noise and efficiency,” Thompson writes, “reverberation became just another form of noise, an unnecessary sound that was inefficient and best eliminated.”

Absorptive design found its way first into schools and offices, where acoustics products were marketed as essential to creating quieter interiors and thus more efficient and less distraction-prone workers (or students). These products were advertised as “sound-conditioning” devices that would purify an environment of “unnatural” sounds. In catalogs for commercial and home interiors, sound-absorptive surfaces were linked directly to comfort, sophistication, and luxury.

Today’s interior designs are often seen as throwbacks to classic mid-century-modern spaces—sparse and sleek, with hardwood floors and colorful Danish chairs with tapered legs seated beside long, light-colored wood tables. The contemporary revival of this style tends to highlight these features to excess. However, photographs of restaurants from the 1950s through the 1970s reveal that interiors were opulent in the more luxurious lounges and supper clubs. Trends that today’s diners associate with luxury, such as hard surfaces and open kitchens, were, in mid-century, mainly relegated to lowbrow spaces such as caféscafeterias, and diners. The finest eateries—such as French and specialty restaurants, exclusive lounges, and cocktail bars—were the most highly ornamented and plush. Even high-modernist interiors made extensive use of soft goods, including cloth tableclothsheavy drapescarpeted floors, and upholstered seating. Across the board, mid-century restaurants had low ceilings, often with acoustic ceiling tiles.

Until the mid-1970s, fine dining was associated with ornate, plush fussiness, not stark minimalism. In her book Smart Casual: The Transformation of Gourmet Restaurant Style in America, the design historian Alison Pearlman attributes this choice to the influence of top-rated French restaurants such as Manhattan’s Le Pavillon. Pearlman writes of the decor: “Abundant flower displays, chandeliers and/or sconces, velvet curtains and/or damask wall treatments, tablecloths, and formally structured place settings of fine china and crystal were still typical.” Those choices produced a different acoustic environment: “Sound levels were low enough to magnify not only the tink-tink of glasses and silver but also the manners faux pas.”

Since then, Pearlman argues, restaurants have become more and more casual, severing the link between luxurious interiors and highbrow taste. It started in the mid-1970s, when highly rated restaurants began to integrate lowbrow influences such as country-farmhouse decor, along with the atmosphere and casual serving styles of cafés and brasseries. Pearlman traces the origin of highbrow minimalism to the restaurant Michael’s, which opened in Santa Monica, California, in 1979. Sparsely decorated inside a modernist house from the 1930s, Michael’s also began to sever the link between fussy table service and fine dining: Its cheery, attentive staff all wore Ralph Lauren polo shirts.

Another feature of today’s restaurants that greatly increases the loudness inside are open kitchens—where the making of the food is on full display. This design used to be relegated to the lowly diner. But fine-dining restaurants began to expose their kitchens during the 1970s and early ’80s; Pearlman attributes the trend to Wolfgang Puck (though he didn’t invent the idea). Puck’s restaurant Spago, which opened in 1982, was one of the first high-profile restaurants to feature a centrally located brick oven, and was met with widespread critical acclaim. Other design trends that increased the volume of eating establishments also got their start at this time, including the communal table and full-service bar dining.

Bars and restaurants continued to merge through the 1990s and 2000s, and that’s a big reason restaurants, on the whole, got noticeably louder. Bars are raucous, and they present a different dining atmosphere from typical sit-down restaurants. As the bar and dining area began to occupy the same space, their clientele and atmospheres combined, and the result was a lot louder than either one alone. Open-concept restaurants and warehouse-style gourmet food courts have made dining out more casual and communal, but getting rid of the walls, ceilings, and soft goods that once defined luxury have also made them noisier.

Restaurant critics and journalists have long complained about noisy restaurants (San Francisco Chronicle food reporters have carried around sound-level meterssince the late 1990s), but in recent years the clamor against clamor has reached new heights. Like the open office, the loud restaurant seems to have overstayed its welcome.

That’s because loud restaurants are more profitable.

According to Pearlman, the haute-casual dining trend also helps restaurateurs run bigger and more successful businesses. Constructing interiors out of hard surfaces makes them easier (and thus cheaper) to clean. Eschewing ornate decor, linens, table settings, and dishware makes for fewer items to wash or replace. Reducing table service means fewer employees and thus lower overhead. And as many writers have noted, loud restaurants also encourage profitable dining behavior. Noise encourages increased alcohol consumption and produces faster diner turnover. More people drinking more booze produces more revenue. Knowing this, some restaurateurs even make their establishments louder than necessary in an attempt to maximize profits.

Beyond the cost in dollars, diners also pay this price in other ways. Noise levels such as the ones I recorded are linked to unhealthy food choices and excessive alcohol consumption, for one. But they also pose an occupational hazard to the staff members who have to withstand such loudness for hours at a time. For those working back-to-back shifts, exposure to these high sound levels could even violate occupational work and safety laws.

Read: The sound that comes from nowhere

The merger of fine and casual dining seems to show no signs of abating. As a result, even moderately quiet restaurants have become few and far between. Things have gotten so bad, there’s even an app for helping potential diners find quieter places to eat. The culinary establishment once aimed to dismantle the stuffiness and high cost of dining out by blurring the line between casual and fine dining, eliminating classist dress codes, and make dining a more collective experience. But ironically, that democratization of eating out has produced a new and more hidden tyranny: making people tolerate unhealthy, distracting noise for good food—and then duping them into spending more, drinking more (along with the risk of vulnerable situations that can result from alcohol), and shouting over the din to socialize. By comparison, the worst thing that could happen at one of the upscale establishments of old was using the wrong fork or running afoul of the dress code.

I’m not calling for the return of stuffy, socially stratified fine dining. After all, today’s elite restaurants are often quite pricey, and people are eating out more than ever. Rather, I’d welcome a return of a more relaxed and serene dining experience, one in which I can hear my dinner companion, avoid drinking too much, and dodge a stress headache following an after-work drink.

That change might be harder than it sounds. It took decades for quiet, contemplative dining to give way to today’s raucousness. That’s because the physical construction of restaurants had to change in tandem with the culture supporting it.

Architectural acoustics—a field that integrates architecture, building construction, and the physics of sound—is part building engineering (mitigating noise and vibrations) and part design. In the latter, more glamorous role, acousticians deploy a wide range of materials and construction techniques to sculpt pleasant-sounding spaces that service a building’s function, be it a restaurant or a concert hall. Unfortunately, acoustics is often an afterthought, something used to correct errors after construction if noise proves annoying. By then, it’s too late.

That’s because every aspect of a building’s design impacts the way it sounds: how the HVAC system is routed, the kind of wall insulation, the thickness of windows, and even how the electrical outlets are sealed. It’s a fussy, nuanced effort that’s inseparable from the architecture and construction of the space itself. A restaurant or shop that’s loud because the ceilings are too high or because there’s nothing separating kitchen or bar noise from areas for table seating has space-planning problems. They can’t be fixed by hanging some fiberglass panels to dampen the noise.

Acousticians can be expensive, and many retail designers figure that they can get away without one. Worse, commercial architectural acoustics has historically involved designs that offend architects and business owners—think of those dowdy dropped ceilings of mid-century schools and offices. For glossy retail spaces and fancy restaurants, they were too much of a drag. But then again, so were hoity-toity fine-dining establishments 40 years ago, when the shift to today’s dining din began.

There is hope, however. Inspired by the need for new solutions in tricky spaces such as open offices, industrial design for acoustics has evolved dramatically in recent years. A whole new slate of ceilings, walls, and even acoustic furniture has become available. Quiet doesn’t need to mean ugly anymore. That means choosing “good” design over the comfort and well-being of patrons is no longer a suitable excuse for restaurateurs. It’s time to take loud off the menu.

Miami Beach commissioners vote to turn down the music on Ocean Drive

The Miami Beach City Commission on Wednesday told Ocean Drive clubs to turn down the volume.

Ocean Drive nightclubs will for the next four months be more susceptible to noise complaints after commissioners unanimously voted to temporarily repeal an exemption of the city’s noise ordinance.

The ordinance could force well-known Ocean Drive businesses like the Clevelander, Mango’s Tropical Cafe and Ocean’s Ten to turn down the music if people make noise complaints. Normally, the exemption would allow the businesses to blast music without restrictions on how far the sound carries east into Lummus Park and the sand past that.

The discussion marked another turn in the ever-lively debate about the Art Deco-lined street that some residents and elected officials feel needs to be safer and more upscale. This debate has raged for more than a year and will continue as voters decide whether to cut off alcohol sales at 2 a.m. instead of 5 a.m. during a referendum in November.

Mayor Philip Levine, a frequent critic of Ocean Drive’s atmosphere who links alcohol consumption and noise to criminality, pushed the issue Wednesday.

“If you reduce the amount of noise that’s out there, you reduce the amount of chaos and craziness that we see and experience on Ocean Drive late at night,” he said.

Ocean Drive businesses disagreed, and they successfully lobbied the city to remove a provision that would allow code enforcement officers to proactively enforce the law and for anonymous complaints to trigger citations — all for noise streaming from an entertainment district into a park and beach that have no permanent residents.

“Frankly, if no one is being bothered, then why should businesses be cited?” said Alexander Tachmes, the attorney who represents the Ocean Drive Association. “The only way to really ensure that they’re really addressing a problem is if a resident says, ‘I’m being bothered by the noise.’ ”

Commissioner Michael Grieco called the move a “fake hustle” that he believes will bring on an enforcement blitz that will give the appearance of improvement with no regard for impacts on businesses, including hospitality workers who rely on the wages they earn from Ocean Drive’s busy nightlife.

“I think the mayor’s going to coordinate with the chief to have the chief do what he should’ve been doing all along, which is to properly police the area and properly deploy the right amount of staff for the area,” he said, adding that there will be “dozens, if not hundreds” of employees who could potentially lose their jobs when clubs like Mango’s and the Clevelander can’t entertain people the way they need to.

Grieco also vehemently disagreed with Levine’s assessment that less noise would lead to less crime.

“To say that there’s some correlation between noise and crime is asinine,” he said.

Grieco and Levine, who have become more frequent political foes, butted heads during the public debate before the vote when Levine called Grieco “Mr. Mango” and Grieco called Levine “Governor.” Mango’s has contributed to Grieco’s mayoral campaign. Levine is seriously considering running for governor in 2018.

Last year, a coalition of businesses worked with Commissioner Ricky Arriola to develop a 10-point plan to spruce up the iconic street. Changes that have already been made include increased lighting, an opened linear path on the sidewalk created by moving cafe tables toward the buildings, and additional police officers.

Tachmes said the vote doesn’t undermine the 10-point plan, but it takes a sledgehammer to a problem that needs a scalpel. He said the point of the plan was to limit unwanted noise, such as music blasting from loudspeakers outside T-shirt shops.

Joey Flechas: 305-376-3602@joeflech


Body Tune-Up

Songs and sounds that can help amputees walk better, safer, stronger? Frost School of Music researchers merge music, engineering, and medical disciplines to make sure there’s an app for that.

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Colby Leider Receives Phillip Frost Teaching Award

Colby Leider, associate professor and director of the Music Engineering Technology program at Frost, was awarded the 2014 Phillip Frost Award for Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship.

Colby Leider, associate professor and director of the Music Engineering Technology program at Frost, was awarded the 2014 Phillip Frost Award for Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship.

October 15, 2014 — Coral Gables, Fla. — Colby Leider, associate professor and director of the Music Engineering Technology program at Frost, was awarded the 2014 Phillip Frost Award for Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship. He and his faculty team presently work on more than $5 million in sponsored research. Leider is associate editor of Computer Music Journal and works as a consultant in patent-infringement cases involving audio and new media technologies. His research interests include digital audio signal processing, sound synthesis and spatialization, tuning systems, and alternate controllers for music making. He has received grants from the National Science Foundation and many other notable organizations. He composes music, builds musical instruments, and has received prizes and honors from the American Composers Forum and the International Computer Music Association, to name a few. He is the author of Digital Audio Workstation, published by McGraw-Hill.

Music lovers seek to pump up digital audio quality

Some experts say new formats are unlikely to take hold because most consumers cannot tell the difference. "I hate to use the term 'snob appeal' but that's really what it is," said Colby Leider, director of music engineer at the University of Miami's Frost School of Music. Leider, who has studied both electrical engineering and music composition, said while it is true much data is lost when music is compressed to the MP3 format, "it works because it removes the portions of sound that most humans can't hear."