Seeking Advice from Noise Pollution Activists
March 6, 2013 7:23 AM Subscribe
What steps could we take to improve a very serious noise pollution issue near our home?
posted by R2WeTwo to law & government (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
When we took our rental we were told that while the NASCAR speedway two miles away is loud it only operates a few Saturdays during the summer according to a schedule posted on its website. We planned to use those times be away from home. We quickly discovered that the operators do not adhere to the schedule, with the loud engines and exhaust coming frequently and unpredictably throughout the week. We have to close up the house and put in earplugs underneath vice-like headphones at these times to save our sanity, but even these measures don't block out the sound completely. They are physically uncomfortable for more than three hours and the races last summer went on for more than seven hours including warm-up. Sometimes they don't end until after 1:00 a.m. During all this time we're unable to watch TV, even with headphones, converse, or enjoy our yard and deck. When we've called to inquire why there was racing during unscheduled hours there was either no answer or we were told the track had been rented out.
We elected a new Township Supervisor specifically on his platform of noise reduction. There is a noise ordinance on the books and he promised to enforce it. He does not live within earshot of the speedway and has another home in town. Last week he held a meeting to discuss practical measures. So many speedway advocates came that the meeting had to be rescheduled for a larger venue. In the interim social media erupted with supporters from all over the country crying oppression and insisting that those of us who don't like the noise should move. Many posters claimed to be local residents who enjoy the noise. There were disturbing threats—beyond vexatious spelling and grammar—the most innocuous being to seek out those of us complaining and drive past our homes with their loud mufflers, revving their engines in a kind of reverse vigil.
The township is now backing down. When we expressed our disappointment the supervisor asked us to be on a small committee made up of two residents, two speedway reps, and the sheriff to help monitor the levels. We're reminded of that scene in Gandhi where an imperialist advises placating agitators by conferring low-level positions, though we're not sure that's his intention. The speedway has been here for many years, but what about the fundamental tenet of American democracy that another's rights end where ours begin? Clean air and quiet seem to us self-evidently basic human needs. This is severely interfering with our enjoyment of our home, with our very lives, and our neighbors feel the same way.
Has anyone been here acted for improvement? Please, no responses from racing advocates. My question is specifically for those who fight noise pollution. We've heard more than we can take from the track.