The inevitable ( I guess)

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
My neighbors are really lucky this hasn't happened to me. I'm not one to sit and take nonsense like that. Life would become uncomfortable for them in a lot of little ways if I was no longer able to play drums because some ***** can't handle my playing from inside another house.
 

Daisy

Senior Member
Another lawyer here, although not American.

As I read it, I can't see any ambiguity as such in the noise law, but there is provision for the magistrate (or whoever) to use some judgment.

Playing the drums between 11pm and 7am is unquestionably a violation of the law, but outside those hours it "may still constitute a [violation]". IE, it might, it might not. Depends.

I would suggest you take some readings 50 feet from the boundary, and then consult a local lawyer to find out what the courts' attitude is likely to be to your situation, ie practising for no more than 30 minutes at whatever time of day you usually practice. In my neck of the woods the courts would also take into account other noise factors in the area, such as whether there's heavy traffic noise, or any industrial noise. If you live in a sleepy, totally residential backwater, you can expect more protection from neighbour noise than if you live on a busy main road, or next door to an industrial unit. (Sorry, I have no idea what sort of area Fairfax is).

I completely agree with Ohiodrummer about neighbours and responsibility, and I too get a bit annoyed with some drummers' apparent sense of entitlement when it comes to neighbour complaints. I wouldn't want to live next door to a drummer. But I don't believe noise laws (which are about public health after all) should be used by unreasonable people to persecute their neighbours if said neighbours are not actually making an unreasonable amount of noise.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
I didn't see the 55 dBA in the exerpt you posted. But if you can get a rough measurement and you are under the limit (which is pretty quiet, living near a freeway is louder) then you need to go back with a calibrated meter and make formal measurements. Some off the shelf Radio Shack meter or iPhone app isn't going to carry much weight in court. But they can tell if it's worth the effort to track down an OSHA inspector or someone with a calibrated meter.

Unfortunately for some folks, it's when they can discern something they find objectionable rather than the absolute level. Maybe you can conspire to have gardeners in the neighborhood with their leaf blowers when you practice, since you're doing it within the allowable hours. That would mask "that damn rock and roll noise".
 

slowrocker

Silver Member
I'm sorry, but if it was one of my neighbors, I would tell them if they had a problem to leave. As it is, my next-door-neighbors are plenty loud, especially at night. None of the other neighbors have complained either which is nice. I guess they are all use to noise though. My next door neighbor has shot his gun off multiple times at night at racoons. If they don't call the cops on them for shooting at midnight they won't on me for playing the drums. Some of the neighbors have actually commented on how good I sound. :)
 

sonnygrabber

Senior Member
Hi Drummerworld folks!

I'm brand new to this forum thing and I must admit I've been watching for a while, (stalking?).

I thought I'd weigh in on this one as I am having similar neighborly loving from a guy down the road.

He's got a holiday accommodation about 100 meters down and across the street. All well and good if the cat had come to me about his noise issues we would have worked something out. His tactic however has been to go to all the neighbors to sign a petition banning my playing without manning up to me, (wouldn't even know what he looks like!). He's also gone to the Shire (read County) and tried to get them to ban me as well.

Funnily enough none of the neighbors would play ball and the Shire don't touch anything that the police won't. Haven't heard a peep from the 5-0.

I try to be respectful of people and I will procure more sound insulation gear. But I tell you I'm so cheesed off about this guys approach that I want to open all of the shed doors and let her rip for about 5 hours non-stop.

Thanks for listening!
 
A

audiotech

Guest
You really have little to no chance going toe to toe taking noise level meter readings. Does anyone other than the authorities know how to obtain these readings? Does anyone other than the authorities know which type of "sound weighting" the measurements have to be to be able to be used as evidence. Several years ago I was called to gather evidence and to testify in a similar situation. I had to gather evidence in the form of time stamped audio/video accompanied with SPL meter readings over a period of several days. I also had to submit evidence containing accurate sonic information of the area when the "noise" was not being produced so the prosecution would have an established point of "reference". I could go on, but the individual had quite an uphill battle trying to pursue this.

Some of the others that say that it can't happen to them or if it did they would "get even" with the neighbor shows very little maturity and at some point, might just bite you on the a**.

I hope this does not happen to anyone, but it does and to quite a few more individuals than what really gets publicised. It does sound that she's a bit unreasonable, but not being there, I really can't say. Depending on the severity of the noise problem and to what extent she wants it gone, this could just go away or not.

PS, buy her property and evict her. ;)

Dennis
 

ohiodrummer1964

Senior Member
Ask her if she could activate her situational deafness when you practice lol.

Situational deafness. Good grief. Translation, when she doesn't want to listen.

A woman claiming to have situational deafness complaining about noise. Yea, you should get her to say that in front of the judge.

Broom Hilda Steve, yuk yuk.

And I'm sorry but if a lawnmower is say 70 decibels and drums measured at the property line of the house are say 40 decibels, why is the lawnmower OK and the drums aren't? That's discrimination IMO.
I understand your point about the differences in decibel levels, and should have brought that up when I mentioned your original post concerning that in my first post. The problem with that argument, based on what I've seen in other threads about this subject from people who actually went through it, is that lawnmowers are deemed a necessity, whereas drums (or stereos, or whatever...) are deemed a luxury. I know that can seem unfair, but if you think about it it's not. As someone else mentioned a few posts ago, even drummers don't like to listen to other drummers practice. Our problem is our instrument only covers the rhythmic aspect of music, and doesn't play any melody or harmony. Let's face it, rhythm by itself gets old pretty quickly, unless of course you're the one playing it, in which case it sounds great indefinitely :)

I still say it's better to consider other people when engaging in any activity that you know before you start has an annoying factor to it, not only as a way to be proactive and avoid future problems, but also just to be a better person. The attitudes of those who have posted since my first post taking a "screw her" and "get revenge" position is unfortunate. Think about it guys, don't you get annoyed having your peace and quiet disrupted by someone being inconsiderate about the noise they make at some hobby. We should show the same consideration to other people, and try to get along with our neighbors just for its own sake.

The one post that caught my attention that's an exception that I agree with is the gentleman who has a neighbor who shoots at raccoons, and none of the neighbors complain, and none of the neighbors complain about his drumming. It sounds like you live in more of a rural, or at least suburban area where everyone minds their own business and lets each other do their own thing. You're really lucky, that's the best solution of all in a perfect world. For those of us who don't get to have such cool living conditions, I think it's still better to go with consideration of others.
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
Tama - in your experience as law enforcement, is this something i should be talking to a lawyer about. Is it something where witness can/will be called ?
i am going to get some mutes for the drums- on the posative, they will cut down rebound so might help tecnique development - right ?lol

Ohio - no worries at all.
as far as corroborating witnesses go, i have them, but i have been trying all along to not get the neighbours involved officially. Unlike my heighbour who tried to call one over to a police car (this was the day she told the cop to ask about my immigration status.) The neighbour told her she was ridiculous and did not want to get involved.

I am trying to maintain my composure and dignity - so far so good, but i am getting close to exploding. I dont want to give her anything else to get me on, like telling her exactly what i think of her.
You are entitled to due process in any court of law,and that includes rebuttal witnesses ,sworn depositions and representtation by an attorney.In a case like this I guess it depends how far you want to go.I would document everything she does,including trying to get the police involved in your immigration status.Local police have no juristiction in enforcing immigration laws,which are federal.

Once the judge renders a decision,if you're found guilty,I imagine you will have to pay a fine.If you don't pay it,you can be jailed.So don't take this too lightly.It's not common but it is at the discretion of the judge.

Clearly,you are being harrassed at this point,which is not an afirmitive defence,but needs to be brough to the attention of the judge.Don't lose your temper,thats exactly what this psyco wants.Broom Hilda seems like the type that enjoys pulling wings off of flys,.

I would at this point consult a lawyer about the harassment,which could lead to criminal and possible civil action.You seem to have attracted the attention of a nut job.

Steve B
 
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larryz

Platinum Member
I'm not sure I read this yet (forgive me) but where do you play drums in your house? How important is it to start World War III over this? And think twice about spending money on a lawyer. Legal advice locally could help but if you choose that route state clearly that you want one hour of your time to help me resolve this. Don't give a lawyer a blank check.

Good luck. But the ordinance seems detailed. Then again her remark about calling immagration seems like a racist defamatory remark as well. You may need to pull a Country Joe & The Fish, and go to the country to get away...
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Larry you're thinking of the Canned Heat song, "Going up to the Country" I think.

Necessary noise or unnecessary noise...it's still noise. Is anyone really going to make a judgement call on which noises are OK and which are not? That's inherently discriminatory.

One of my goals in life was to live in a place where I could practice 24/7. I can't relax when I know someone is being bothered by my practice.

I think instead of lawyering up, I'd say just spend that same dough and build a soundproof room instead. You get to practice longer, (1/2 hour is not enough anyway) and Broom Hilda gets her solitude. Plus your name is not drug through the courts and the newspapers. The universe will repay Broom Hilda in it's own due time. Meanwhile you're taking the high road. I think fighting her on this in court will make living next to her even more intolerable.

I hate placating troublemakers but I think in this case it's in your best interest to do so. So I reverse my opinion, soundproofing is the answer. Is this an option? Have you considered it? Do you own or rent?
 

ohiodrummer1964

Senior Member
Larry you're thinking of the Canned Heat song, "Going up to the Country" I think.

Necessary noise or unnecessary noise...it's still noise. Is anyone really going to make a judgement call on which noises are OK and which are not? That's inherently discriminatory.

One of my goals in life was to live in a place where I could practice 24/7. I can't relax when I know someone is being bothered by my practice.

I think instead of lawyering up, I'd say just spend that same dough and build a soundproof room instead. You get to practice longer, (1/2 hour is not enough anyway) and Broom Hilda gets her solitude. Plus your name is not drug through the courts and the newspapers. The universe will repay Broom Hilda in it's own due time. Meanwhile you're taking the high road. I think fighting her on this in court will make living next to her even more intolerable.

I hate placating troublemakers but I think in this case it's in your best interest to do so. So I reverse my opinion, soundproofing is the answer. Is this an option? Have you considered it? Do you own or rent?
I'm with you 100% on the soundproofing, the only problem with that is from what I've seen on here, that's extremely expensive, like $3K to $5K. I think you can at least get it to a reasonable level for a lot less, but it doesn't sound like the OP's neighbor is reasonable at all. Moving to the country is of course the best solution, since you not only get to play your drums whenever you want, you also get a nice big yard with trees and don't have to stop at stop signs at the end of each block, etc. etc. Unfortunately, we don't all get to do that.

I disagree with you about placating neighbors in general, however. Proactive consideration towards others goes a long way towards avoiding problems, and is just a nicer, less ulcer-inducing way to live in general. Plus, as I've mentioned, when it's your ox getting gored, everyone seems to have a completely different opinion on the subject. Just human nature I guess. Of course, I can't blame you for liking to rock out and pound the drums, that is part of the fun of the whole thing, isn't it?
 
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