Polk County approves first step in establishing a tougher noise ordinance

POLK COUNTY, Fla. - A noisy debate is heating up in Polk County where commissioners are beginning to beef up the county's noise ordinance.

The board took the first step on Tuesday to force violators to turn down their music or pay up.

"It has reached a point where some citizens are demanding action," Commissioner Ed Smith said.

On Tuesday, commissioners authorized code enforcement to start issuing fines to violators who are too noisy at home -- whether it be with loud music or barking dogs.

Smith said it opens the door for the next debate later this month: Loud stereos on the road.

As other counties have discovered, the issue is a slippery slope.

"That's what we constantly struggle with in government is don't trample on anybody's rights on either side," he said.

Auto mechanic Charlie Webber told ABC Action News it has reached a point where he can't hear his phone half the time while at work due to a constant rumble or vibration from a loud stereo passing by.

"Some of these noises could actually be considered bullying," he said. "They are forcing something on me, and I can not retaliate."

Webber is part of the growing push to toughen up Polk County's noise ordinance.

The Sheriff's Office stopped its enforcement a few years ago when the courts ruled the state law is unconstitutional.

A sheriff's spokesperson said the agency supports a clear ordinance they can enforce.

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