And as temperatures rise we all know that the noisy season is approaching, and for some of us that means months of misery.
Last year, the Woodhaven Residents' Block Association collected testimony from residents in support of a bill introduced by Councilman Eric Ulrich which would substantially increase fines and give the NYPD more power to confiscate equipment. Some of the testimony, like the following, was sad to read.
“I have worked and saved many long years to purchase our home here. The amount of intrusive noise has steadily grown over the last seven years. The increasing noise levels have brought about a tremendous increase of stress in my family's home life. The lack of sleep because of this noise is taking a physical toll on me and my ability to do my job. At times, I am embarrassed to have company over. I am close to giving up.”
It is discouraging to hear a lifelong resident, a valued member of our community with deep roots, speak about giving up. And it is far from an isolated feeling. Residential noise is threatening to drive away our best and brightest lights, to tear apart the fabric of our community. Here, another resident's frustration is on display:
“I feel my property value has diminished because of these trouble spots on my block. I have nothing against parties and people having a good time, but not at a professional DJ level of volume that lasts into the wee hours of the morning. A person's home and backyard should be their haven; a refuge to relax and enjoy time with family. Not a place to barricade yourself in, with windows and doors shut tight.”
We support Councilman Ulrich's proposal and call for its passage as soon as possible. He wants to see stricter laws as much as we do, having tweeted the following at 4 a.m. one morning in January to @311: “My neighbors around the corner are still blasting music - enough is enough already!”
And so, we are trying a new approach with the formation of a group of residents known as the Woodhaven Noisebusters. On selected evenings (mostly Fridays and Saturdays) when the WRBA is notified about a loud party, an alert will be issued via text message and all of the Woodhaven Noisebusters will call 311 and make the noise complaint. Simultaneously!
Thus, a loud house party isn’t going to just get 2 or 3 complaints — it’s going to get 15 or 20. Simply put, we can't afford to sit idly by and wait for laws to pass while good residents contemplate leaving and ignorant people make their neighbors' lives miserable. We're going to shine a bright light on the ignoramuses.
And by “making some noise” about this problem, we hope to encourage a discussion that will lead to a permanent solution. For example, agents in Sound Cars should take a party's decibel reading and immediately ticket the homeowner, with fines increasing with each occurrence. In other words, treat it like garbage.
If there are non-recyclables in your recyclable bag, they don't try to identify who threw it out, they ticket the homeowner. Same thing here. Let the homeowner deal with the noisy tenant.
This approach won't stop the party that night, but once it becomes known that loud parties will receive costly fines without warning, it will have an impact.
Agents in Queens will easily rack up enough fines to pay for the program and the NYPD can get back to policing real crimes, not these nuisance crimes.
For more information on the Noisebusters program or the WRBA call 718-296-3735 or email us at info@woodhaven-nyc.