South Orange: 'No Good Solution' to Curbing Early-Morning Noise in Park
Friday, October 12, 2012 • 9:03am
SOUTH ORANGE – Requiring groups to obtain a permit to use village parks is not the answer to complaints about early-morning noise, members of the South Orange Board of Trustees decided at their meeting Wednesday night.
Residents whose homes border the north end of Meadowland Park/Floods Hill have told the trustees that a “boot camp” exercise group that meets in the park is too loud and creates a litter problem.
“There is no good solution to this problem,” village counsel Steven Rother told the trustees before outlining provisions of an ordinance drafted as a joint effort of the public safety and recreation committees. He said if groups are required to get a permit, the Recreation Department could place reasonable restrictions on the time and place for group activities. One problem, he noted, is the definition of “group use.”
Recreation Director Kate Schmidt said that other athletic activities, such as tennis or soccer, are not scheduled at times that might be disruptive to the neighborhood. “I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask groups of people who exercise early in the morning not to do it in the residential areas,” she said.
“The expectations of the neighbors have to be managed as well,” Schmidt said. “It’s not illegal for a bunch of kids to go out and play volleyball in the park. It’s not illegal for a group of women to walk around the park for exercise in the morning.” She said the problem is people who are “setting up in a particular area at very early hours of the day.”
Village President Alex Torpey commented that it’s very difficult to find a “legislative fix” to cover such a specific problem.
“I just don’t think this is the right answer,” Trustee Mark Rosner said. “I don’t see this as the solution.” Trustee Janine Bauer agreed. “This ordinance – I would never vote for,” Bauer said. “I think that … it would be subject to all sorts of problems.”
Trustee Michael Goldberg, head of the public safety committee, noted: “Something needs to be done. We’re trying to come up with creative ideas.” He urged fellow board members to share ideas with him and with Trustee Nancy Gould, who heads the recreation and cultural affairs committee.
The board also debated the choice of the company Metarhythm to redesign, rebuild and host the village’s website. Some trustees questioned the $16,800 price tag, which they thought was actually too low.
“We’re getting a pretty good deal,” Torpey said, explaining that the company is interested in breaking into the government sector.
Goldberg was concerned about the size of the company and the provisions for service. “It raises flags for me about long-term viability,” he said.
The resolution to award the contract to Metarhythm was approved 5-1, with Goldberg voting against it.
In other action, the board:
heard from two Irving Avenue residents regarding a pending case in municipal court about a house being used as a rehearsal space for musicians. Village Administrator Barry Lewis Jr. said he has become “personally involved” with the case in an effort “to get this thing finally resolved the way it should be.” The owners of the property being used as a rehearsal space have been cited for an “illegal use” of the property in an area zoned for residential use.
introduced an ordinance that updates regulation of recycling to bring it into line with the switch to single-stream recycling last summer.
- approved two contracts for purchase and installation of network and computer hardware to upgrade the village’s information technology infrastructure totaling $144,775.84.
The reporter is participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.