January 1, 2018
Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet
For immediate release
Chapel Hill: United Parcel Service (UPS) has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet for imposing non-stop noise from a distribution center in an historic Atlanta neighborhood. The crashing, screeching, banging, clanging, yelling, honking, and beeping harms neighborhood residents all day and all night. For the Northcrest area, UPS is a terrible neighbor.
UPS came to the Northcrest neighborhood in the 1970s and did a large expansion in the mid-1980s. They were met with strong resistance from the community from the beginning. The location was not zoned for their type of business. Unfortunately, the land owner and the area councilmen were friends and the area was re-zoned to allow the UPS facility. The Northcrest area abutted a wetland, which assisted with flooding and wildlife preservation. UPS poured a significant amount of concrete and changed the natural topography; now there is flooding in the area.
Northcrest residents have a petition requesting that UPS implement permanent noise reduction measures. They also created a You Tube channel about the UPS noise. Neighborhood residents met with UPS officials on two occasions about the constant noise. UPS made a few changes but still failed to alleviate the problem, telling their neighbors to “just deal with it.”
In 2004, four members of the Northcrest community settled out of court with UPS for an undisclosed amount of money; they also signed a non-disclosure agreement. Unfortunately, the settlement did nothing to reduce noise levels..
LaToya Johnson, a resident of Northcrest, has lived in her home for two years and has been “plagued with noise from the UPS 24/7 facility located behind my home since moving in. We were very excited about buying this home in Northcrest due to the community and architectural style of the home, and the fact that our community has been designated as an historical district.”
Before purchasing the home, Johnson and her family visited the neighborhood on weekend afternoons. Unfortunately, Johnson discovered after moving in that the UPS facility scaled back activities on weekends. Johnson did her research and found out that “the facility is listed as a trucking center on the Georgia Secretary of State web site. There was no information online revealing any issue with noise from the facility. Looking up trucking facilities showed companies parking trucks, doing maintenance, and driver training. However, this was not the case with this facility. They are in full operation of distribution and sorting of packages seven days a week. The night hours of 11:00 pm-7:00 am are the worst, as the noise is piercing and invasive. They constantly drop items causing large crashing sounds that shake my home, producing stress cracks in my walls.”
Johnson’s home “was built in 1960 and has a very solid foundation, so it is not due to any settling of the foundation. I moved my master bedroom to the front of my home to give another wall barrier and closed door, to help muffle the sound. It helped some but not enough to get a full night’s sleep. There is a screeching noise caused by a conveyor that happens every two hours and lasts for 30-60 minutes each time. Every night at 3:00 am it wakes me up (if I was even able to get to sleep before 3:00 am). I can’t get back to sleep until 4:30 am.”
The clanging, yelling, honking crashing, banging, screeching, and beeping from the facility all day and night, Johnson notes, “is damaging my mental and physical health–and that of my neighbors. While we want them to operate safely for the sake of their workers, it does not mean we granted permission to harm our quality of life. UPS even admits that all the noises, aside from the honking and beeping, are not OSHA-mandated.”
Because of the UPS facility’s constant noise, Johnson “cannot watch television, read a book, eat a romantic dinner, or nap in my home without the invasion of their noise causing complete disruption. My family has sustained injuries from the noise such as migraines and hearing loss. I do not enjoy my home and cannot use my outdoor space, as it is too noisy. We cannot leave our windows open due to the excessive noise. UPS is a bully by the pure definition of the word. Their corporate office and birthplace is Atlanta, Georgia. It would seem they would make every attempt to be a good neighbor in their birthplace. They intrude on the quality of life of people to make money and do not care about their negative impact.”
Janice Rainey, another Northcrest resident, stated that “there is already a lawsuit in action against the UPS distribution center which backs up to the Northcrest neighborhood. I am a new resident in this neighborhood and I am just beside myself to have invested such a huge amount of my hard-earned savings for a home that is not providing the peace and serenity a home should bring.”
Rainey observes that “the extremely high level of noise from semi- pistons, backing beeps, honking, and yelling that can be heard outside as well as inside my home is well over acceptable levels and almost constant 24/7–early morning, late evening, in-between, and weekends. When visiting a home during a purchasing search, the visits consist of maybe two or three 15-minute visits, so this is not something a prospective buyer would necessarily witness at the time and since it is not disclosed, I was not provided the proper information to make my investment decision.”
Rainey states, “I am appalled to find out that an Atlanta ‘hometown’ Fortune 100 Company, which professes to be community conscious, is being so uncooperative in finding a resolution for the residents of this National Historic Registry neighborhood. UPS is jeopardizing this neighborhood’s value and the investments the residents have made. Shame on UPS! They are prospering at the detriment of the hard-working Atlanta citizens who have invested and take pride in this amazing, historic community.”
Ullainee M. Stokes, a resident of Northcrest since 1983, notes that “the constant noise of truck engines running all the time, the vibration when they back up to the dock for loading, and the loud vulgar voice of the person directing this activity is bad enough in the daytime. But when you are awakened at night from a sound sleep, UPS needs to do something about it. Instead of building the loading dock on the side of their property next to a wide street, they chose to build it on the other side, right behind the homes. It’s bad enough for me living across the street; I can’t imagine how terrible it must be to have all this constant noise in your back yard.”
Mark Ostrowski, a fellow noise victim on Eaglerock Drive of Northcrest, states that “the constant roar of UPS is the reason I regret buying my house.. The noise from beeping horns, crashing trucks, and employees yelling permeates the walls of my home and is a constant disruption to my life. UPS has no regard for the safety and well-being of their neighbors.” Ostrowski is unable to enjoy his back yard, is unable to work at home, and has great difficulty falling asleep. He is also concerned that the vibrations caused by UPS trucks driving and crashing could be deteriorating the foundation of his home; he also fears that he will not be able to sell his home.
Ted Rueter, director of Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet, commented that “UPS claims they are committed to environmental sustainability. However, they continuously fail their responsibilities to the Northcrest neighborhood in Atlanta. UPS is producing a constant barrage of unhealthy noise, invading the homes of nearby residents nearly every minute of every day. UPS should take strong measures to dramatically reduce noise levels and protect the health and welfare of area residents.”
Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet is a national citizens’ organization opposed to excessive noise. UPS also won the Noisy Dozen award in May 2014 for encouraging its drivers to honk their horns to signal their arrival in residential neighborhoods.