Neighbor upset about loud church service, city to hire mediator

Posted by Colin Campbell on October 23, 2013 

— City leaders plan to hire a professional mediator to settle a dispute between a Glascock Street church and a next-door neighbor who says its worship services are too loud.

John Seitz lives next to the Glorious Church in the Oakwood neighborhood, and he and neighbors have repeatedly called police with noise complaints. Officers told a city council committee Tuesday that they’ve used a decibel meter and determined that the sound level violates the city’s noise ordinance. But police haven’t issued any citations.

“I’m sympathetic to the right to worship, but the main problem is stuff that’s amplified,” Seitz told council members. “All they have to do is turn down the volume and it would make a world of difference. ... This is a violation, and I don’t see how city council members can overlook that.”

But Councilman John Odom said he’s hesitant to restrict how people worship on Sunday mornings. The city council first took up the complaints last year and called for the two sides to meet to discuss a solution. At one point, neighborhood leaders were considering a fundraiser to soundproof the sanctuary, but that effort fizzled.

“This was very controversial at the time, very heated,” Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin noted.

The full city council will vote Tuesday on hiring a mediator, and police will continue to monitor noise levels during Sunday services. The council committee will review the issue again in two months.

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