December 1, 2014
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Chapel Hill: Titusville, Florida, a municipality of 43,000 people in Brevard County, has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for tolerating constant noise from a local resident who builds stock race cars in a residential community. “Race Car Man” generates constant noise from engine revving, air compressors, pneumatic tools, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, trucks, trailers, and large Sedans. This activity has been ongoing for years on residential property.
All of this noise takes places ten feet from Kathy Rosenberg’s property. In response, Rosenberg has made many trips through the years to the city Code Department and the City Council. She states that “all of Race Car Man’s activities generate noise, continually from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm or beyond. Making race cars involves cutting metal, welding, bolting doors and engines, tuning engines, installing tires, and hauling these cars onto trailers. The servicing, building, and repairing of race cars has been done in the open air. Race Car Man claims his activities are a ‘hobby’ and that he is entitled to “tinker’ with his toys. He has bulldozed his tiny property to accommodate additional cars and car parts. He has rebuilt campers in the back yard and overhauled old engines–all stored next to my property. On weekends, he takes his race cars to the local race track.”
Through the years, the city council, the code department, and the police department have told Race Car Man to remove his vehicles, license his cars, and properly cover his cars, to quiet his work and make his property appear as if it is not a business. He has been cited many times. Rosenberg was able to petition the neighborhood and successfully get Race Car Man cited for noise violations, but failed to get a “repeat violation” because the chairman of the city code board failed to fine Race Car Man. With Race Car Man, it’s citations, yes; fines: no.
Rosenberg has had to explain her extreme noise problems to five code managers, three city managers, and several police commanders. She has also written to the Attorney General, the State Attorney, and her representatives in the state legislature. They all referred her back to the City Manager. Rosenberg states that “some officials have visited my property and seen for themselves the accumulation of junk, cars, and noisy equipment that the city code seems to be unable to stop. Just last month, Race Car Man came full circle with his ‘business’ of race cars: he installed a hydraulic lift in between the ten-foot barrier between my property and his.” After each code violation, Race Car Man finds another loophole in outdated zoning laws to continue his noisy “hobby.” Rosenberg states, “I have been forced to foreclose my property, claim bankruptcy, and move out.”
The city of Titusville acknowledges that Rosenberg has taken every possible legal action and has property documented every noise or illegal event through the years. Rosenberg has managed to get a single section of the noise ordinance changed as a result of Race Car Man’s “hobby.” Rosenberg asks, “Who would want to live next door to this man? This individual has also threatened code enforcement officers and me.” Both Race Car Man and Rosenberg have been to court over the use of security cameras on each property.
Rosenberg used her own decibel meter to check noise levels from Race Car Man’s noisy activities: “In all incidents,” she stated, “noise levels were between 75 to 120 decibels–well above the acceptable standard of 57 decibels. Sound levels, pictures, and citations by the code department were all presented to the code board at different times through the years. But still, Race Car Man continued with his ‘hobby.'”
According to Rosenberg, “Compressors were running for the first three years, 24 hours a day, next to my home. I had to eventually invest in additional back yard enclosures for privacy, since he and his family would harass my daughter and me over our shared fencing or throw items over the fence at us. I was harassed all hours of the day, especially after each code complaint I made. He would stop his noisemaking activities when he knew that I had called the police and they were on their way.”
Rosenberg has made many complaints to the Titusville police department. “The police did nothing except talk to him,” she stated. “Today, a new city Manager and a new Code Manager are in place. We will see if they take action.”
Rosenberg concluded, “Race car Man’s activities clearly violate the Titusville noise ordinance. His activities are a business–not a hobby. And his rather large business, in a residential area, generates constant noise.”
Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s director, stated that “it is outrageous that municipal officials in Titusville have turned a deaf ear to this extreme noise. Race Car Man’s noisemaking antics show what happens when city officials allow extreme noise: quality of life suffers, the neighborhood deteriorates, decent people move out, and the situation gets even worse. The police and code enforcement officials in all American communities should protect the right of citizens to a clean, decent, and quiet environment.”