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Noise complaint against Durham church tossed

Posted March 12, 2013

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— A Durham County judge on Tuesday dismissed a noise citation against a church, but prosecutors said they plan to appeal the ruling.

Rev. Benji Kelley, pastor of Newhope Church, was cited in December with a violation of Durham's noise ordinance, but a District Court judge dismissed the case when prosecutors asked for a delay.

Residents of the Hills at Southpoint neighborhood in south Durham have complained that amplified music and thumping bass from the church, at 7619 Fayetteville Road, can be heard inside their homes.

They have filed a civil suit against Newhope Church, but a judge last month denied their request for a restraining order to quiet the church's services.

Church officials said they have made several attempts to reduce the sound since 2011, including hiring sound engineers to run tests that concluded the sounds from the church were within limits set by the city. 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, officials said.

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  • kornfan2448 Mar 14, 2013

    "When they stop having “rock” concerts with amplified thumping bass that seems to be above the legal levels at times."

    I have not been to the homes, but have hooked my computer up to my stereo system that has 12" woofers and listened to videos posted by one of the neighbors, and I honestly can barely hear any "thumping bass", could be the recording device though. Now in the parking lot, it can be heard, but it is barely audible when in the car. I guess I just find it difficult to believe that houses built so close together and so close to a heavily traveled road have barely detectable church music as their only problematic noise. In the end, I personally just want a peaceful and reasonable resolution that allows for both sides to be satisfied.

  • Lightfoot3 Mar 14, 2013

    “I can't hear anything except crickets on any of these videos.” – Bewitched


    Me either, but I think the problem is the amplified bass, which you might not readily hear like loud music, but it will drive you crazy.


    “When does it not become the fault of the church” - kornfan2448


    When they stop having “rock” concerts with amplified thumping bass that seems to be above the legal levels at times.


    “so can I sue someone if they drive by my house with a loud stereo?? ;)” - friendlyman


    No, but they could be cited by police.


    “that was the most significant.. that is why in every part of the world this observation takes place..Easter that is..” - lexusjones64

    Easter is celebrated in other parts of the world because there are Christians there, not because it’s some universal significant event. The mythology is significant to Christians ... and retailers. :)

  • lexusjones64 Mar 13, 2013

    to "Iak Hsehpen"
    as for your reply on my comment..Easter observes the resurrection of Christ and before that the crucifixtion.. Jesus was on trial and persecuted and prosecuted for blasphemy..so yes persecution has been around for a long time..but that was the most significant.. that is why in every part of the world this observation takes place..Easter that is..

  • friendlyman Mar 13, 2013

    so can I sue someone if they drive by my house with a loud stereo?? ;)

  • kornfan2448 Mar 13, 2013

    "You don't need a courtroom to work this out."

    The church is not the one that pursued this in court. They have taken many steps and plan to take further steps to appease the neighbors, but nothing seems to be good enough. When does it not become the fault of the church and become possible that no matter what, short of stopping services, nothing will be good enough?

  • must b crazy Mar 13, 2013

    You are a church. You are commanded to be a good neighbor. Literally. You don't need a courtroom to work this out. You need some tact and humility.

  • mbjsbarbour Mar 13, 2013

    So thankful charges were drop for Newhope Church. My opinion, the neighborhood should be thankful it is a church & not other things it could be. Also, if they were in church there or somewhere they would not be home to hear it. They would be in a service to enjoy it & also God's Word. I know everybody don't see things like I do.

  • Bewitched Mar 13, 2013

    I watched/listened to several of the videos on YouTube posted on the account "NewHope Church Noise", with the volume turned all the way up on my computer. I'm no fan of churches or organized religion at all, but to be honest I can't hear anything except crickets on any of these videos.

  • kornfan2448 Mar 13, 2013

    "The church's own FAQ claims that the measured the sound level at their property line as being 53-54 db. Obviously they are mistaken because the youtube video shows that much further away, the noise level exceeds 60dB".

    In this youtube video, taken by a neighbor and not the church at the property line, the db level peaks at 62 for a split second and hits 60 @ 3 times in the 2 minute video, but stays primarily between 45-55 db. I am curious as to why there are no sound levels tested inside the homes since that seems to be one of the reasons for the complaint. That they can't sleep, have to move their nurseries, alter child eating times and my personal favorite, have to "use headphones to watch TV".

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2D5UfP-PXFo

  • kornfan2448 Mar 13, 2013

    "For all the judge knew, the pregnant woman was sick or was miscarrying or was having the baby right then."

    Why is it assumed that this person is the only one that could be present to represent the neighbors? In the motion against the pastor and the church, there are 9 names listed on the document, "as well as all those similarly situated" as plaintiffs.

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