Neighbors complain Falcon's Fury is too noisy

Tampa, Florida -- Some Tampa neighbors living near Busch Gardens have had enough of the noise coming from the theme park's newest ride, Falcon's Fury, and it hasn't even officially opened yet.

Falcon's Fury was supposed to open months ago, but it's the screeching sounds from the test rides at all hours of the day and night that are already driving neighbors crazy on both sides of the park.

Homes sit in the shadow of Busch Gardens off 30th Street to the west and N Malcolm McKinley Drive to the east with the ride right in the middle. The noise is traveling into the neighborhoods.

It's rising to the level that certainly aggravates these neighbors. 10 News measured the noise level and while the ride isn't as noisy as a jackhammer, it's louder than the city allows. Tampa Police say as the ordinance stands now, there's nothing the city can do to stop it.

"It sounds like an auto accident, eeerkk," says neighbor Jim Froonjian.

"It goes up, then when it comes down it goes whoosh," describes neighbor Neisha Wright.

RAW VIDEO: Noise from Falcon's Fury ride

It's the sound of their new neighbor, Falcon's Fury. Plunging from 335 feet in the air, it's not the screams from test riders causing them to cringe, but the sound of the ride roaring to a stop.

"It sounded almost like a semi accident, like a big bang crash. Everyone comes running out, and you don't see anything. Then you hear it again, and it's like, 'oh my God, that's what it is,' " says neighbor Tara Gonzalez.

Neighbors fought with the theme park over construction noise last summer. Now, as Busch Gardens works to open North America's tallest freestanding drop tower, neighbors say test rides are running around the clock.

Froonjian says he talked with Park President Jim Dean about his concerns, "Are we going to hear this all the time? And he said, 'Yeah I'm afraid you're stuck with that,'" says Froonjian.

"It's alright, but in the middle of the night they do it like 3:00-4:00 in the morning," says Gonzalez.

10 News measured the noise level in the neighborhood from the ride, it peaked at 70 dBA, that's louder than allowed in Tampa's noise ordinance:

"Within the Central Business District, the Ybor City Historic District and the Channel District as each is delineated in Chapter 27, City of Tampa Code, the maximum dBA and dBC sound levels permitted on any property shall be as follows:

The average measurement taken between ten (10) and twenty (20) seconds shall be no greater than the maximum levels set out below. The measurement shall be taken from the property line, or individual lease boundary in the case of property which has been subdivided by the execution of individual leases, of the noise generating property:

a. Eighty-five (85) dBA or eight-seven (87) dBC between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m.

b. Sixty-five (65) dBA or seventy-five (75) dBC between the hours of 3:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

(2) In all areas of the City of Tampa other than those areas listed in subsection (b)(1) above:

a. The average measurement taken between (10) and twenty (20) seconds shall be no greater than the maximum levels set out below. The measurement shall be taken from a receiving property at the property line closest to the noise generating property.

1. Sixty (60) dBA or sixty-five (65) dBC between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

2. Fifty-five (55) dBA or sixty-five (65) dBC between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m."

Tampa Police tells 10 News as a theme park, Busch Gardens is exempt from the ordinance.

"They are not accountable for what they do. There's no apology, no nothing," says Froonjian.

Neighbors will try to peacefully coexist with the park.

"What else are you going to do, you know? I don't expect a barrier, it's a big theme park," Gonzalez says.

"I wish they would just buy us out to get us out of here, because we're not going away and they obviously aren't," Froonjian says.

Busch Gardens' spokesman Travis Claytor tells 10 News that the theme park wants to be a good neighbor and is working to keep an open line of communication with neighbors.

Claytor says Busch Gardens operates within the legal guidelines, but is researching who governs the noise levels of the theme park. He also tells 10 News that if there are ways to mitigate the sounds for the neighbors the park will look into it.

The ride testing has now been turned over the operations department. They're periodically doing test runs with park guests to improve the ride experience. Claytor says Busch Gardens plans to reveal a date for the official opening "very soon".


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