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Alachua county residents concerned about air boat noise ordinance not being enforced

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For over 20 years Bill Halback’s home near Orange Lake has been a place of peace and quiet, but he says noisy airboats running at all times of day and night are taking that away.

" It's annoying and people should be able to enjoy their property and privacy without people intruding on that,” Halback said.

Halback says the airboat noise is disrupting the quiet atmosphere around his home and causing him to lose sleep.

" The airboats that come by here are so loud that it actually shakes the windows and the dishes.”

A noise ordinance was passed in Alachua County several years ago to impose a curfew on airboats between the hours of 7 pm to 7 am, but residents say its not being enforced.

The Alachua County Sheriff’s office says part of the problem is that they don’t have an airboat and it could cost up to $60,000 to get one.

" We're in a car responding to the area where the airboat is making the noise. Obviously, we can't get to them in a car on a body of water and we don't have an airboat." Alachua County Sheriff’s spokesman Art Forgey said.

Deputies say the boats they do have are not equipped to handle the areas where the airboats mostly run.

" Its an open water boat and not for areas that have a lot of vegetation and shallow water such as where these airboats are being run."

However, residents like Halback say even without an airboat there’s more law enforcement could be doing to enforce the ordinance.

" We have suggested some things throughout the years that don't require an airboat or large sums of money, but they do require a little bit of effort on the sheriff’s part and so far we haven't seen that,” Halback said.

In response to that the sheriff’s deputies say they are open to exploring other options.

" If anybody has a suggestion or a better way to do it we're open to that, ”Forgey said.

Right now, the penalty for violating the airboat ordinance is a $250 fine and a $500 dollar fine for any additional violations.

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