Church attempt to get noise complaints dismissed falls on deaf ears

By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers

RIVERVIEW – Metro City Church officials’ attempts to have noise complaints against it dropped have been denied, City Attorney Randall Pentiuk told City Council members during a Feb. 6 study session.

“They attempted to have the charges thrown out,” Pentiuk said. “The judge ruled against them, and we are continuing to have dialogue with them. Meanwhile, it’s still a court case.”

The church is contesting a dozen of the citations, Pentiuk said.

Police Chief Clifford Rosebohm said there have been more than 60 noise complaints filed by residents against the church.

City Manager Doug Drysdale said the complaints have been filed by residents living on Cranbrook and Dundee streets.

Multiple complaints have been filed by two households on Cranbrook, Rosebohm said, with occasional complaints from other residents on the street.

“They are not as engaged in the process as the other two complainants on Cranbrook,” Rosebohm said. “They were the complaining witnesses on the 12 complaints. To be factually correct, there was one citation for noise, and I believe the magistrate ruled in our favor.”

Drysdale said city officials are continuing to meet with church officials to resolve the vibration issue.

Pentiuk explained to council members that while the city will issue citations for violations, they are not the complainants. The city is facilitating based on a violation of the ordinance.

“Technically, the case is brought in the name of the people of Riverview, enforcing our ordinance based on complaints filed by these residents,” Pentiuk said. “So we didn’t initiate this, we didn’t go looking for it, our peace wasn’t disturbed, the noise issues weren’t the city’s issues, they are the complainants’, they are the neighbors’, whether they are on Cranbrook or Dundee or whatever.

“The dozen cases that we have are brought on the signature of the two residents on Cranbrook. However, should this go to a hearing, other people whose peace has been disturbed will be called as witnesses.”

Pentiuk said it is a vibration issue more than anything else.

“We are still in dialogue trying to work things out,” he said. “Ultimately, win, lose or draw, the problem needs to be addressed, for the complainants as well as the other residents, whether they live on Cranbrook or Dundee or anywhere else in the city. This is an ongoing problem that needs to be addressed.”

Pentiuk said the people at Metro City Church have indicated a willingness and desire to address the issues, and the city has continued a dialogue with them.

Councilman Dean Workman said the city has dealt with issues like this in the past with dynamiting and vibrations from the Sibley Quarry.

“We went through all of this,” Workman said. “I don’t want this to become another one of those situations where  the council starts venturing into ‘us against them.’ That’s not what it is. And I want to make sure that, whatever side you are on, the council is not involved in it.”

(Sue Suchyta can be reached at sue.suchyta@yahoo.com.)