Did you know that YOU can help us keep our neighborhoods peaceful?

As tax paying citizens of Montgomery County, Texas, we have the right to enjoy a reasonable level of peace and quiet while at home. It is a very important quality of life issue.

Although some noise in our daily living is unavoidable, such as the routine repair and maintenance of our homes and communities, it is most often controlled by community association deed restrictions. The deed restrictions usually include language that prohibits loud garden and construction machinery between the hours of 8 pm to 7 am so as not to disturb its citizens’ time for rest and relaxation.

One of the most difficult problems to deal with is the question of noise. Noise issues vary greatly, from your neighbor’s late night parties, barking dogs, to the noise generated by highways, railroads, etc. But one of the most troubling problems with intrusive noise is that which is propagated by disrespectful neighbors.

In Montgomery County, there are no laws governing loud noise, such as the Noise Ordinances adopted by the City of Houston. The ordinances were implemented so that others rights are not violated and citizens have some control over conditions within their own neighborhoods. After much research and noise testing the City determined that 65 decibels of unwanted noise from a neighbor constitutes a daytime violation; at night, the number drops to 58. Those numbers lie between normal conversation (50 decibels) and a vacuum cleaner (70). The Montgomery County Sheriff's Dept. is restricted by Texas Penal Code Title 9, Chapter 42.01 which states an 85 decibel limit 7 days a week, 24 hours a day which is difficult to enforce and equates to somewhere between Houston rush hour traffic at 78 decibels and an airplane landing at Hobby Airport measuring 96 decibels. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 55 decibels is enough to annoy and distract someone outdoors; inside, it takes only 45 decibels.

Houston’s ordinances are laws that must be obeyed by everyone and violating them can earn you a fine of up to $2,000. In the tiny town of Montgomery, the fine is $500.

So what do WE do when we have neighbors who do not care about their communities’ peace and quiet and feel they have the right to do whatever they please in their own home, no matter how offensive and intrusive it is to the rest of the community? They may party and play loud music into the early morning hours, or frequently argue and fight with family members and friends on their lawns, or they may amuse themselves by squealing their car tires, blowing their horns or setting off their car alarms, or simply allowing their pets to bark all night in the yard.

What can YOU do about it in Montgomery County?

You can:
1. Attempt to have a civil conversation with your neighbor
2. Send your neighbor a letter requesting they stop the noise, or
3. Call the sheriff's dispatch and have them enforce the Noise Ordinance.

Oh, wait, I forgot, we do not have a defined Noise Ordinance in Montgomery County, and so, unfortunately, the sheriff's deputies are left with option 1 only.

Having personally experimented with all of the above for one whole year, I can tell you that not only does it not work, it only intensifies the situation.

Being a good neighbor means respecting each other's rights. Some people are just plain rude. They are self-absorbed and have no desire to respond to neighbor complaints or work on settling these disputes.


Help us petition for a Noise Ordinance in Montgomery County, Texas. (send an email to Noisyneighbors100@gmail.com)

Let us know if you are behind us by answering our survey, and write a blog about your situation.

Don’t let your family be victimized by unconscionable neighbors.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Noise Next Door - My Story

Seriously, I do not know how to begin. I have NEVER encountered a situation like this in a residential area. It is like having a 24/7 bar next door! No one goes to work and they begin pouring alcohol down their throats as soon as they can get out of bed and onto their feet. No, I don't live next door to a dorm; these are adults (and I use that term loosely) who should know better. They sit outside or in their garage playing loud music drinking, arguing and "woohooing" all day and into the wee hours of the morning. This can and has gone on until as early as 5 a.m. They believe that this is "their" place, "their" house and that they should be able to do as they please. If we don't like it, we should move. We've been cursed at, threatened and our property has been damaged. The police have been called a number of times and all they can do is ask them to take the 'party' inside or turn the music down. As soon as the police leave, the party relocates outdoors and they crank the music up louder. One time, after the police left, I witnessed one of my neighbors joking and laughing as he repeatedly slammed a piece of fire wood on the lid of a smoker just outside my bedroom window. It sounded and felt like someone had kicked our front door in. . This was taking place at 2 a.m. and the police had just left for the second time that evening. Even Christmas is not off limits for these people. Their family get-togethers during the holidays turn into all night domestic arguments OUTSIDE! Many people ask, "Where do you live?" and "How old are these people?" We live in a planned community and 'these people' are in their mid-50's! I like to think of it as "Seniors Gone Wild!"

We are not moving. We are going to sign this petition and get a Noise Ordinance passed so that there will be tangible consequences for such inconsiderate behavior.