Sounding off

Noisy Fredonia event upsets neighbors

OBSERVER Photo by M.J. Stafford Suzanne Militello speaks Monday at the Fredonia Board of Trustees meeting.

Several Central Avenue residents complained about a noisy Oct. 2 event to the Fredonia Board of Trustees Monday.

Suzanne Militello read a statement on behalf of the group. She said she lives at 64 Central Ave. and the event, which she said was advertised as a music festival, took place in the backyard of 60 Central Ave. and was hosted by the college student residents of the house. Militello offered trustees copies of the flier advertising the event.

“A huge, big tent was set up in the backyard, along with a stage, a sound system and light show, equipment that is specifically used for concerts,” she said. “While originally (we were) told there would be about 100 in attendance, there were upwards of 200 people.” There was a cover charge for attending, she added.

“It is something that should have been hosted in a public venue, based on the number of attendees,” Militello continued. “The decibel level was such that it basically forced the neighbors to either leave their home for several hours, or suffer with a volume that was truly unbearable and prevented even the most basic activity of daily living from taking place without complete stress — things like talking, eating and watching TV. It was unacceptable.”

Militello said the event started at about 3 p.m. while music started at 4 or 4:30. It wasn’t just the music — the crowd’s cheering was also an issue, she said.

“The windows in our homes were literally rattling and this went on from about 4:30 until 9 p.m. when the live concert was shut down,” she went on. “The police came twice within this time frame but initially had no effect, until 9, when they finally shut it down.

“While we understand the noise ordinance starts later in the night, this event was more than just some loud music,” Militello asserted. “This was a full fledged concert, lasting over four straight hours. While living on Central Avenue, most of us have had experience coexisting with the students and are proud that we have gotten along well with our neighbors over the years. This, however, was a large scale event… with a sound system that was made for a different type of venue.”

Militello said she and her neighbors don’t feel it is fair that they have to leave or suffer when backyard concerts happen. She said they suggest such concerts be held in more public venues such as Barker Common, somewhere at SUNY Fredonia or even Russell Joy Park.

Asking if there is some code that would prevent such large concerts in a residential area, Militello also questioned whether they would need permits.

See NOISY, Page A3


She concluded, “To keep Fredonia integrated with families along with students, we are asking the trustees to recognize the need for rules and regulations to be in place and documented to help prevent disruptive, large scale events right in one’s backyard.”

“Am I deaf, did I miss it?” wondered Trustee EvaDawn Bashaw. Trustee Roger Britz also said he didn’t hear the concert.

Mayor Douglas Essek said he was out of town but was contacted about the event by a resident. He said he would have Chief Code Enforcement Officer Charles LaBarbera contact Militello “to explain what we have on the books.”

“If you set up a stage for a wedding in the backyard, that’s one thing,” said Trustee Roger Britz. “But when you start charging admission, then we need to consider taking a look at something.”

Another Central Avenue resident who attended, spoke from his seat and did not give his name, said they were used to a certain amount of partying from the college students who live in the area, “but in 35 years this goes beyond anything we’ve experienced.”

Bashaw noted a very similar event happened during the first week of college in the East Main Street event. A third Central Avenue resident said a young entrepreneur was putting on a series of concerts around town. “One we can deal with, it’s over,” she said. “We know it’s a series, so we don’t want the series.”

Essek reiterated he would have LaBarbera contact the residents. “We will review what we have and if the landlord or tenants were in violation with anything, we will deal with that,” he said.


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