Roof Design Blamed For Noise

The Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission in Florida is blaming alleged noise violations at Tampa’s 20,000-seat Ford Amphitheatre on an alteration that was made to the venue’s roof design.

The allegation comes in the middle of an ongoing lawsuit filed by the EPC against Ford Amphitheatre operator Clear Channel Entertainment and the Florida State Fair Authority, which owns the land.

According to the commission, there have been about 800 violations of the noise ordinance since the facility opened last summer. The EPC is seeking civil penalties and a temporary halt to concerts until the matter is resolved.

Two more lawsuits have also been filed: One is a countersuit against EPC by Clear Channel, and the other is against Clear Channel by the EPC and two residents, according to The Tampa Tribune.

Meanwhile, the EPC is upset because before the $23 million amphitheatre opened last year, Hillsborough environmental regulators concluded it probably would not cause noise problems. But the venue that was built is not the one that was approved, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

The roof is about 40 percent higher than the approved design, and the speaker configuration is different, the EPC reportedly said. The unapproved changes, the EPC says, are the reason why the shed has received nearly 300 complaints from neighbors.

The EPC also contends that certain lawn speakers were not part of the original plan.

But Clear Channel attorney G. Donovan Conwell Jr. said, “There were no major changes to the plan, only minor modifications. It’s just a big misunderstanding at the EPC,” the Tribune reported.

Conwell added that the EPC knew about the lawn speakers and that the higher roof “has minor if any impact on sound.”

Apparently, the commission doesn’t want Clear Channel to rebuild the facility; its main concern is that the company puts on concerts that abide by noise requirements.

The next hearing for the lawsuit is scheduled for July 11th in Hillsborough Circuit Court.