Instances of litigation over noise are on the rise across the U.S., and Acoustiblok is committed to finding solutions to noise problems before legal actions begin. Many of our customers come to us because they want to be good neighbors. However in some cases, nuisance noise isn't so easily solved.
The meaning of ‘love thy neighbor’ was challenged in court recently, when a Phoenix, Arizona judge was asked to decide between the rights of two neighbors: a church that played recorded bells through a loudspeaker 13 times a day, and annoyed residents who wanted quiet.
According to The Arizona Republic, The Cathedral of Christ the King was cited last year for violating a Phoenix “nuisance and noise” ordinance and its bishop given a 10-day suspended jail sentence after neighbors complained about the bells chiming hourly from 8AM to 8PM, seven days a week. In response, the church sued the city, claiming the noise ordinance was not only unconstitutional but written so that it was “impossible for a person to know if a noise he is making is against the law.”
A federal judge ruled that the church’s “interests of free speech and religious expression” outweighed the arguments of the neighbors. Readers of the Republic pondered the nuances of noise.
“What about all the folks riding their loud Harleys and pickup trucks up and down the street all day and night?” asked one. “How’s that any different?”
There’s “a big difference between legal (ringing bells) and moral (respecting your neighbors and not annoying them),” wrote another. Tell us what you think: Should one kind of “noise” be more protected than another? Do churches have an extra responsibility to be sensitive to their neighbors—or the other way around?
Excerpted from an article by Kathy McManus in The Responsibility Project