I recently got a message from a community member (paraphrased) and my response (annotated):
… I have a question about excessive noise with our neighbor across the back fence and I am not sure who to turn to for help.
He really has a big sound system in the back yard with a massive bass. In past years, he has played music into the early morning hours a couple of nights in the summertime. We just dealt with it. I really don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun. This year, he’s been loud pretty much every weekend, an even weekdays.. The bass can be felt in our house! While my family is trying to enjoy our backyard, we get to hear his music every night.
I have called the police non-emergency number a couple of times, but I know that they are busy protecting us and tending to other things, so I understand it can take a while for them to follow up.
I really don’t mean to complain, start a conflict, or ruin anyone’s fun at all. I just wish I was able to get sleep and enjoy my backyard as the gentleman with the speaker is enjoying his backyard.
I have spoken with several neighbors, and they share my concern. Is there anything we can do to “quiet” this issue?
I too find this kind of thing frustrating. I thought we left all the loud party stuff behind when we left the college environment. (Don’t be tempted to retaliate by chainsawing your old dead tree at 5 am some morning after.)
The best thing, if you can, is to engage the noisy neighbor in a conversation (not confrontation). As school is soon starting, we have another reason to request cooperation. If things go well, you might even get invited to the next (not so loud) party.
The Columbus noise standards are a little subjective, but provide legal support. [2329.11 Community noise.] They stipulate a noise level not to exceed 60 dB over an hour from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., or 65 dB 7 a.m to 10 p.m. 60dB would be normal conversation, perhaps in a restaurant or office, background music, air conditioning unit at 100 feet, fairly quiet — half as loud as 70 dB. 70 dB would be office noise, inside a car at 60 mph.
Sec (C), “Prohibited sounds,” states: No person shall make or allow to be made any unreasonably loud and/or raucous noise in such a manner or at such a volume as to disturb the quiet, comfort, or repose of a person of ordinary sensibilities. Strict liability is intended to be imposed for this section. Further, it states that amplified sound should not be heard 50 feet beyond the property line. That limit is reduced to 25 feet when residential units are located within 50 feet of each other, which describes most of our homes with 10-15 foot setbacks from property line.
[So you are fully in your rights to call the police! … But our inquirer was trying to be a kind neighbor, so … ]
You might calmly advise the neighbor of what you expect — e.g. hour after which you would be forced to call police. If there are other neighbors who don’t appreciate the “sharing,” perhaps they can agree and also call when noise is too loud or too late.
One should be able to enjoy one’s music without disturbing the neighbors unduly. That’s a good sign of a lively community. But if they really want to crank it up, perhaps they should take it inside and close the windows — or invest in some great headphones. Respect must go both ways.
Hope this helps.
See you soon! It’s so good to be sharing a place we can all call HOME.
Your president, Scott Prigan.