The city of Jacksonville and local event promoters have worked out a deal for how to monitor noise at Metropolitan Park.
The agreement is expected to help prevent large concerts like "Funk Fest" and "Welcome to Rockville" from seeking other venues.
Event organizers had warned that uncertainty over the city’s noise ordinance could force them to move to the St. Augustine Ampitheater. Neighbors across the St. Johns River had previously complained about noise and language at some concerts.
Under the agreement, city staff will measure noise levels during concerts at Met Park for five minute intervals. If the noise goes over 105 decibels, the city will notify promoters and they’ll have ten minutes to lower the volume.
Subsequent violations will lead to fines that escalate with the decibel level.
City Council member Lori Boyer said the discussions about noise at Met Park have had a strong influence on promoters.
"Since the time that this committee began meeting and the neighbors were expressing lots of concerns just the heightened awareness has caused many promoters to try to tone it down, try to comply, and the complaints have gone down," she said.
Promoter Mike Yokan said the special events staff recommendations are a much more fair than what the city had previously proposed. An earlier version included a provision that would have allowed a concert to be shut down mid-performance if they violated noise level restrictions.
Yokan said promoters and city officials worked together to come up with a plan they could agree on.
"I think that everyone has put a lot of time and energy into this. It's a learning process, you know we've turned our stages away from the river. I think that made the most dramatic difference," he said.
"We're really excited about our event Welcome to Rockville. We sold over 300 hotel nights in six hours yesterday. We're going to keep working on it and bring people to this city from all over the country and all over the world."
Mayor Alvin Brown says he’s happy a deal was reached. He says he’d like to see more concerts and other events held at Metropolitan Park and Jacksonville’s other venues.
"But also selling Jacksonville, making it a destination where you want to come and enjoy yourself and hear some good music and listen to the arts," he said. "I think all of that is important, so it's good, but today is an example of how if we sit down and communicate and collaborate we can solve problems."
The next major concert at Metropolitan Park is the Welcome to Rockville festival in April, featuring performances by Motörhead, Korn, Avenged Sevenfold, and Rob Zombie.
You can follow Kevin Meerschaert on Twitter @KMeerschaertJax.