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Law lowers boom on noise at Planet Bubba

Under a new ordinance, authorities cite the club for its wall-rattling bass music after neighbors complain.

By JENNIFER FARRELL

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 19, 2000


SPRING HILL -- It was only a matter of time.

One week after a more stringent county noise ordinance took effect, neighbors of the controversial nightclub Planet Bubba took up the drumbeat for enforcement.

The result was the club's first citation under the new law, backed by a $500 fine.

According to a Hernando County sheriff's report, the ticket was issued in response to a complaint filed early Thursday by Mildred Hall, of 4164 Arrowhead Ave., which intersects Forest Oaks Boulevard, the street on which the club sits.

Hall called deputies at 12:18 a.m. and told them the club's thumping bass had penetrated her bedroom.

Deputy Harold Hutchinson went to the home, where he also heard the noise and noticed that the bass-heavy rhythms from the club were rattling Hall's windows.

When the deputy issued the citation at Planet Bubba, an employee agreed to turn the music down and pay the fine, according to the report.

But that cooperation sharply contrasted with an exchange that Hutchinson reported had taken place with a club bouncer about 20 minutes earlier.

Just after midnight, Hutchinson wrote, he could clearly hear noise coming from the club while he was parked at Sugarfoot Drive and Arrowhead Avenue during a routine patrol of the Weeki Wachee Woodlands neighborhood.

The deputy went to Planet Bubba, but the warning he issued apparently fell on deaf ears.

"I advised them that they would need to turn the music down, and that if a complainant called in to the Sheriff's Office about the noise, I would need to issue the manager a misdemeanor citation," the report said. "The subject working the door advised me that they are not willing to work with the neighbors, therefore, if I received a complaint I would need to do my job and cite them."

The new ordinance was drafted to quell a chorus of complaints from neighbors of Planet Bubba who say the club is too loud. The ordinance targets bass sounds and rules that noise from establishments serving alcohol should not be heard outside.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Deanna Dammer said dispatchers had logged two calls besides Hall's complaining about the nightclub around the same time. She added that once a complaint is taken, the Sheriff's Office does not keep track of additional calls on the same event.

Dammer said deputies would continue routine patrols in the area of the nightclub.

Club owners Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, a Tampa disc jockey, and Richard Fabrizi could not be reached for comment Thursday.

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