According to one local funeral home, it’s getting more and more difficult to have “dignified funerals,” in part because of noisy neighbors.
Clyde Sholar, co-owner of Sholar Funeral Home in Pleasureville approached the city commission recently to tackle what he sees as an increasingly noisy problem.
Whether it’s loud music or barking dogs, Sholar said “people are not respecting when we have visitation and when we have funerals.”
The funeral home went so far as to take neighbors to court, “because you could not hear the minister when we were having funerals because of dogs barking.”
In 2011, he added, a band was performing nearby, making it difficult to hear. “You could not hear yourself talk inside the funeral home,” Sholar said. In another instance, he said, he had to collect beer bottles from a church parking lot.
At the time, Sholar called the state police, who said there was little they could do because the city doesn’t have a noise ordinance.
He asked that the commission consider such a rule.
“I don’t know of a city that would allow a band to play right in the middle of a residential area, next to a funeral home,” he said. “…I’m really concerned about the way things are going.”
City Attorney Bill Brammell said there is a state statue that would, theoretically, prevent activity that would be disturbing to neighbors.
But that, Commissioner Dianne Perry said, isn’t much help. “That is there, and it is in place, but it’s very hard to get anyone to enforce it,” she said.
Brammell said that an additional problem is noise ordinances are hard to enforce in part because of a simple question: what constitutes a band?
“Is one kid practicing the trombone a band, or two kids that get together and play a trombone and a saxophone?,” he said. “Is it only a band if it’s paid to come in?”
He added that the noise level itself can be difficult to define and measure. “Some cities have addressed this by getting a decimeter,” to see if the noise making exceeds certain limits.
Sholar simply wants to know if there’s anything the city can do, like setting up a permitting process that might help curtail some f the noise.
“I’m not against people having a good time… but if any of your family is at our funeral home, I would not want that show of disrespect,” he said. “Last year, it was just atrocious.”
Brammell told the council a noise ordinance or permitting process is within their abilities, but that they would need to define the boundaries. The council took no immediate action on the matter.
Perry contended that forcing people to be respectful during a funeral was, perhaps, a losing battle.
“The only solution to that is then you can only have one permit in a public place,” she said. “You’re still going to step on some people’s toes here, because you’re going to have someone that wants to fight that. The noise, it’s not just your funeral home, it’s everywhere. It’s constant, and the lack of respect is constant.”
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