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South Hall man complains of marina’s noise

POSTED: June 24, 2008 5:00 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Holiday Point resident Robert Davis says that recent parties at a nearby Holiday Marina pavilion featuring loud music is unbearable. Davis says many times the noise goes on late into the night.

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BUFORD — Robert Davis is not a fan of the amplified music played at loud volumes from an open-air pavilion some 300 feet from his house in the Holiday Point subdivision.

The 72-year-old industrial engineer said Holiday Marina is violating Hall County’s noise ordinance when weekend events are held at the pavilion. Since last summer, Davis has complained to the marina, called 911 and contacted the Army Corps of Engineers, which leases the property, all to no avail.

"When they crank this thing up, it really goes to town," Davis said. "It rattles my bedroom windows. I have to listen to four hours of people yelling into a microphone. They say they can sing."

Davis wants the marina to put a halt to the weekend outdoor music, saying they are not permitted for it. He estimates the music is broadcast at 80 decibels or more.

"If you worked in an industry, you’d have to wear earplugs at that level," Davis said.

Holiday Marina manager Vernita Loveridge said until last year, the marina had few complaints about noise. She said slip holders use the pavilion for private gatherings, usually on Saturday nights, and three or four larger events are put on by the marina, including one last year marking the 50th anniversary of Lake Lanier that featured live bands.

Loveridge noted that the marina is on Army Corps of Engineers property, saying "we abide by all Corps policies."

Loveridge said the marina honors a "quiet time" policy set by the Corps that prohibits noise after 10 p.m. Most events at the pavilion are held between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 p.m, she said.

"They said we’re staying well within our rights," Loveridge said.

Army Corps of Engineers Ranger Mike Lapina also cited hours of restrictions for when music could be played outdoors and said loudspeakers were turned away from the direction of private homes.

"It’s not an all-night party," Lapina said.

Lapina said if noise violations occurred in federal campgrounds, the Corps’ rangers would enforce the rules. But he deferred to the Hall County Sheriff’s Office for any possible violation of county ordinances.

"It wouldn’t be something we would enforce at the marina," Lapina said.

Davis said he has been told the opposite by a county official.

Susan Rector, director of business licenses, wrote Davis in an e-mail last July that Hall County had limited jurisdiction on the federal property and that complaints should be addressed to the Corps of Engineers.

Deputies who were called to Davis’ house, meanwhile, told him there was nothing they could do, he said.

"They said if it was my neighbors, they could write them a citation," Davis said. "Well, they are my neighbors. And they’re not being good neighbors."

Davis said when he phoned 911, operators "could barely hear me over the noise."

Hall County Sheriff’s Maj. Jeff Strickland said deputies were called to Davis’ address for noise complaints three times this year and that there were between six and 10 complaints phoned in last year.

Strickland, who said he was just made aware of Davis’ complaints this week, has requested that Hall County Attorney Bill Blalock and county prosecutor Ann Bishop research the matter.

"We are actively looking into this issue and we have asked for an official opinion if the noise ordinance would apply," Strickland said Wednesday. "Once we get an opinion, we’ll take action from there. Hopefully by Friday we’ll have a resolution."

Hall County’s noise ordinance states in part that "it shall be unlawful for any person to make ... noise which unreasonably annoys ... others in Hall County and which is audible to a person of normal hearing ability more than 100 feet from the point of origin."

Davis said the music is definitely annoying.

"The stuff they call music is not music to me," he said.

He said he spends much of his work week on the road and just wants a little quiet when he’s home for the weekend.

"I’d like to have peace of mind, rather than having all this noise all the time," he said. "I don’t think I’m being unreasonable."



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