SALEM - A Jennings Avenue resident reported what she called a case of noise harassment by her neighbor and asked Salem City Council members for a solution.
"There has to be something that can be done," Patricia Lutz said.
Council President Mickey Cope Weaver said there wasn't much they could do as a council, but asked for Councilman Brian Whitehill, who chairs the Traffic and Safety Committee, to talk with the police chief about the situation and get back to Lutz.
"We can't make it go away, but I can certainly empathize with you," she said.
Lutz addressed city council Tuesday night about her neighbor's loud music and said he feels he can blast his music as much as he wants whenever he wants. She's called the police about 40 times over the years since 1999 and has tried replacing her windows and doors to muffle the sound.
She said the neighbor asked her to call him instead of calling police, but then she said she got disrespectful comments. She said she was told by police that the houses are too close, but her house was built in 1920 and all the houses are close. She said she knows other neighbors have called, too, but the other neighbors don't want to deal with him.
Lutz questioned whether something could be changed in the ordinance about the distance the noise has to be heard from before anything can be done. According to Councilman Rick Drummond, the ordinance says the noise has to be heard more than 80 feet away and also sets certain hours.
She said she doesn't have a problem with the police. She feels they have more important things to deal with than noise problems and wants some type of solution. Weaver suggested she get some of the neighbors together to talk with the police as a group about the noise problem.
Lutz's brother, William, also spoke briefly and said he disagreed with a statement made by Councilman Clyde Brown, who said the police don't have the equipment to measure whether something is too loud. He said an officer previously recorded loud music in his neighborhood and told the offender he could face charges if they had to come back. He asked what could be done for his sister, noting he's talked to the previous police chief, previous mayor and prosecutor's office.
"She's a prisoner in her own home," he said.
In another noise-related issue, former councilwoman Mary Lou Popa complained to council about the truck traffic in town and questioned whether a truck weight station could be placed somewhere with help from the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
She again questioned the lack of a citywide cleanup she's been requesting and asked the mayor if he had checked with other communities about their cleanups. Mayor John Berlin responded that it's not up to him whether the city has a cleanup - it's a decision for the Finance Committee and told her the next Finance Committee meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday. He suggested she talked to Councilman K. Bret Apple, the committee chairman, about putting it on the agenda.
"I believe this issue is being ignored," Popa said.
Later in the meeting, Brown mentioned the idea of the cleanup and was asked by Apple to put together some ideas to present to the Finance Committee.
Brown raised a pair of his own issues during the meeting, saying he walked around downtown and wants to see the city do some sidewalk repairs. He also questioned city Law Director Brooke Zellers again about the Downtown Metals Recycling business, alleging they're in violation of the zoning and asked if an injunction was going to be filed in court.
Zellers said he needed information on any violations to come from Planning and Zoning Officer Patrick Morrissey, who's been monitoring the situation and keeping him abreast of any problems. Brown said the business needs to be inspected on the inside.
Morrissey, who was asked about the situation after the meeting, said he has not witnessed any violations on the exterior of the property. As for going inside, he didn't think he could do that by law. At issue was whether the business was doing any cutting up of material outside.
In other business, council approved amended resolutions dealing with the employee contributions for police and fire pensions to reflect an increase in the employee contribution set by the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund. The resolutions had been passed previously, but due to some problems with the language, Berlin vetoed them so necessary revisions could be made to fix the problems.
Council also went behind closed doors for an executive session for personnel at the request of the mayor, but took no action after returning to open session.
Besides the Finance Committee meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday in council chambers, other upcoming meetings include the Rules & Ordinances Committee at 6 p.m. June 12 and a meeting at 10 a.m. June 15 for Second Ward residents with Brown, both in council chambers.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org