Noise Ordinance

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On January 17 the Bay County Commission changed the consequences of the county's noise ordinance from a civil penalty, which was a citation and a fine, to a second degree misdemeanor.

That means violators can be arrested, and that's exactly what happened Wednesday night when several neighbors around Buckwild made several noise complaints about the business.

Just before midnight Wednesday night, deputies showed up at the Buckwild Saloon, armed with a device that measures the decibel levels at the property line.

They say the levels exceeded the legal limit and made their first arrests under these strict new penalties.

"They are not allowed, during that time of night, to exceed 65 decibels at the property line, so they did and that was when the investigator went forward with the deputy and requested to see the owner, who arrived on foot shortly after that and the manager and both were arrested."

The owner is 38-year-old Eddie Ray Eanes from Panama City Beach, and the manager is 26-year-old Jason Daniel McGregor from Wewahitchka. Both were charged with violating the noise ordinance.

Since last April there have been 226 noise complaints, 36 disturbance and 23 battery complaints about Buckwild. The Sheriff's Office hopes these stiffer penalties will cut down on some of these problems.

"We feel that it may have been considered part of the cost of doing business. You pay those fines, you continue to run the noise level, there's no change in behavior whatsoever, no relief for those that live around those establishments, but now that it results in arrests, we hope some real change, some real relief for the people that live around those places."

A manager at Buckwild claims the noise coming from the bar was only .5 decibels above the legal limit. Some residents living near the bar say it's more than just the noise. There are parking and conduct issues that concern them.

Noise levels cannot exceed 70 decibels between 7 and 10 p.m. and 65 decibels after 10 p.m. in commercial areas. The acceptable noise level is lower in residential areas.