Judge denies neighbors' move to quiet Durham church
Posted February 18, 2013
Durham, N.C. — A Durham Superior Court judge denied a restraining order sought by neighbors of Newhope Church to tone down the worship there.
Residents of the Hills at Southpoint neighborhood in south Durham complained that amplified music and thumping bass from the church, at 7619 Fayetteville Road, could be heard inside their homes. They asked for a 10-day reprieve to reach a compromise on the music levels.
Judge Bryan Collins Jr. decided the neighbors were unlikely to succeed in their efforts and denied their request Monday.
Church officials said they have made several attempts to reduce the sound since 2011, including hiring sound engineers to run tests.
The engineers concluded that the sound during church services was less than 60 decibels at the church's property line, which is allowable under Durham's noise ordinance.
Rev. Benji Kelley, pastor of Newhope Church, said in an affidavit that the church also has installed sound-absorbing material inside and plans a major renovation that would line offices along exterior walls to reduce noise levels outside further.
"The sound levels coming from the church are not unreasonably loud or disturbing," Kelley said. "Although we have been and remain in compliance with applicable law, we are neighbors to the five families who have filed this lawsuit. We are making modifications to our church building plans to include sound attenuation materials, not because of legal necessity but out of love for our neighbors."