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Kee Wee told to turn it down

Winter Springs' Kee Wee Entertainment District has drawn crowds with its rock music outdoors, but nearby neighbors have complained about the noise.

Winter Springs' Kee Wee Entertainment District has drawn crowds with its rock music outdoors, but nearby neighbors have complained about the noise.

Sarah Wilson

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The loud music rocking through the walls and double-paned windows of Mike McDonald’s home isn’t his. But he says the live bands performing at Kee Wee Entertainment sound as clear as if they were right next door.

Melissa Wells says she too in the past couple months has been kept up many a Friday or Saturday night from the pounding bass from music coming from Kee Wee down the street from her home.

The two are among what was a growing petition of Winter Springs residents having complained both to the Winter Springs Police Department and the Winter Springs City Commission about the noise since July.

“I can’t enjoy my weekends at home anymore,” resident Terri Lilly said addressing the Commission. “…[The noise] is in the air, it’s just permeating the whole air.”

Officer Chris Deisler said the police department has received 22 calls to the business from July 21 to Sept. 9. He said Kee Wee has been issued one written warning on Aug. 31, but that distinguishing whether or not the business is breaking city noise ordinance code is difficult, with the police not having the appropriate frequency-measuring device to monitor the sound frequency. The lower the frequency, the more the sound can rattle and vibrate windows and walls.

The night of Friday, Aug. 31, Deisler said the police department went out to Kee Wee and the neighborhoods where residents were complaining to measure the frequency with a device borrowed from specialist with the University of Central Florida. At press time, those results were still waiting to be analyzed.

Mayor Charles Lacey, who accompanied the officers when measuring the sound, said the noise that weekend and the next seemed to have been lowered slightly.

“We’re hoping Kee Wee can find a way to offer quality entertainment at a lower level,” he said.

Kee Wee’s manager, Diana Pienaar, said after hearing residents’ complaints, the family owned business has been trying to find ways to keep the volume down and business up at the same time.

Kee Wee Entertainment is located at 780 E. State Road 434 in Winter Springs. Live music is offered every Friday and Saturday night, and occasionally on Sundays. The bass from the late night live music is what residents say has been keeping them up at night since early July.

“We’ve been more cognizant of it, and working with the bands to keep it down,” Pienaar said. “We definitely want to be a good neighbor and part of the community…We don’t want for people to feel like its us versus them, we think we’re one of them too.”

She said the business has worked to try and end outdoor music by midnight, and is looking to install an acoustic fence to absorb some of the sound.

Deisler said Kee Wee has been cooperative and receptive to the police department’s feedback, and the number of complaints lessened over the most recent weekend.

Lacey said the Commission is continuing to monitor what residents are saying, waiting for the frequency results to come back, and hoping they can find a compromise between supporting a thriving local business and acknowledging residents’ concerns.