Clear Channel Reaches Noise Deal

Clear Channel Entertainment and the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission in Florida reached an agreement November 17th to reduce noise levels at Tampa’s Ford Amphitheatre by building a 70-foot-high, $2.5 million sound barrier wall.

The terms of the deal also require the company to create a community advisory committee, lower the height of house lawn speakers and pay the EPC $50,000 to monitor 10 concerts to assess noise levels once the wall is built.

The EPC has given Clear Channel until December 31, 2006, to comply. The company’s Cellar Door South division COO Wilson Rogers said CCE will have the wall up as soon as possible.

“Any time you’re under construction in the summertime in Florida, you can certainly be impacted by a hurricane,” Rogers told Pollstar. “We intend to move straightaway with the design plan.”

The EPC has agreed to not seek any additional legal action against Clear Channel while modifications are under way and plans to drop the lawsuit altogether once the conditions are met, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

If modifications to reduce noise levels are inadequate and concerts continue to violate EPC levels, the company must come before the EPC to seek a noise variance, the paper said. There’s no guarantee the EPC will grant it, and the commission reserves the right to refile the suit if Clear Channel violates levels after the modifications are complete.

Meanwhile, Rogers is happy the issue is moving beyond the courtroom.

“Litigation never was going to solve this issue,” he said. “The only thing that was going to resolve it was construction, and we’ve finally gotten enough people to listen to that and concur it might be a better way.”

In December 2004, the EPC filed suit against Clear Channel seeking to halt concerts at the 20,000-seat shed until it could meet county noise regulations. The company has previously denied violating the standards and complained the venue was treated differently than others in the surrounding areas.

Mitchell Peters