Lithonia resident Eleasea Allen said a tough, new noise ordinance that went into effect this year is not working for her.
“It’s a joke,” Allen said. “It’s really a joke. “We went to a new noise ordinance, and here we are dealing with the same thing,” Allen said.
Allen and her husband Nathan said they have been aggravated by an extremely noisy neighbor for 18 months.
The couple has placed more than 100 calls to emergency 911, obtained a restraining order and have recorded more than 100 CDs of their neighbor’s noise.
The couple has even teamed up with four other neighbors in filing lawsuits against the tenant, Sharell Smith, of 6117 Dana Court in Lithonia; and David Jordan, who was the landlord/owner of the house.
On June 22, a magistrate judge ruled that Smith and Jordan were in contempt of court for willful violation of a restraining order. The two defendants were each ordered to pay the Allens $5,000.
The couple has not received a penny from the judgment and the noise has not stopped.
“We don’t care about the money,” Allen said. “We just want some peace back in the house.”
No one the Allens have contacted has been able to solve their noisy problem. Not the county’s CEO, commissioners or police. They have contacted state elected officials and the White House.
“I know people are laughing about the White House,” Allen said.
The couple even hired a private investigator to record and witness the noise levels in her house.
Allen said her neighbor has been cited three times for violating the noise ordinance, but there are no real consequences. He has not even shown up for any of the court proceedings, Allen said.
The noise ordinance makes it unlawful for anyone to make any sound that is “plainly audible anywhere within the interior of a sealed” single-family dwelling between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. For multi-family dwellings, the sounds cannot extend into the common areas of the residential area including hallways, stairwells, lobbies, parking lots and recreational areas.
The ordinance also states that any police officer who is invited into a home can determine if a sound is “plainly audible.” This means it “can be heard or detected by the unaided or unimpaired human ear,” even if the words are not discernable, the ordinance states.
But Allen said that when an officer came to her house after midnight when the noise usually occurs, the officer said department policy does not allow officers to go into a home at night.
Mekka Parish, public information officer for the DeKalb County Police Department, said the department is “working intimately with [Allen] to solve her problem.”
And DeKalb officers have entered the Allen home several times and witnessed the noise, Parish said.
“We have done everything we can do within the confines of the law and the ordinance,” Parish said.
But Allen said she will not be satisfied until the noise stops.
“I am very upset,” Allen said. “We pay our property taxes and we can’t get the services. We shouldn’t have to leave our own house because of him.”