HUNTERTOWN — Members of the Huntertown Town Council plan to take a long look at the town’s noise ordinance following a heated exchange between residents and a business owner March 2. Four residents lodged new complaints against the owners of Rise Performance Training, a gym off Tally Ho Drive, claiming the business’s music is so loud they can hear it in their apartments.
While council has already considered an amendment to the town’s noise ordinance that would allow the clerk-treasurer and town manager to enforce it, council member Gary Grant said last week that the town needs to define specific hours in which residents and business owners can be in violation.
“I think the only thing we can do right now to address this is to have our town attorney revise our noise ordinance and put a timeframe in there,” Grant said.
Huntertown’s current noise ordinance prohibits any noise “which disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of others within the town limits.” However, the owners of Rise Performance told council members last week that the verbiage is both vague and unconstitutional.
Marc Deshaies, a business partner of Rise, said the business is willing to comply with the ordinance, but he asked council members to consider revising it, as the current ordinance is modeled after the city of Fort Wayne’s old ordinance, which was previously struck down as unconstitutional.
“You have to be able to define what is unreasonable noise … you have to be able to define times that it is unreasonable,” Deshaies said, adding that the business should not be at fault for incidental noises during the day, as it sits on commercial land.
Tyler Thomas, one of the gym’s owners, also spoke during last week’s council meeting, stating that his business has had several visits from Allen County sheriffs due to noise complaints, which disrupts business.
“We have people that are concerned their services aren’t being provided,” he said. “… A compliant doesn’t equal us not following the law.”
Thomas grew up in the Huntertown area and graduated from Carroll High School. He said he chose to start his business in Huntertown “for a reason.”
“We wanted to be a part of the community that we grew up in,” he said. “… We’ve never tried to cause any issues with our neighbors, but we don’t understand the law we’re actually being accused of breaking here, and we want to be clear we don’t want to have any issue.”
A group of four residents lodged complaints against Rise last week. Three of those residents have spoken publicly about the alleged noise in the past, claiming the gym’s music can be heard in their apartments as early as 5 a.m.
One of those residents, Ellen Baker, claimed she can occasionally hear music being played before she gets up for work at 6 a.m. She also complained of vulgar lyrics.
“I can’t keep quiet anymore because my home has been taken away from me,” she said. “There has to be a compromise. Does the music have to be that loud?”
Another resident, Patricia Gibson, said she has to wear earplugs in order to sleep.
Talia Johnson, the first resident to speak publicly on the issue late last year, said she has “nothing but respect” for Thomas and she is proud of his thriving business. However, she said, several residents have been afraid to come forward with complaints because of what she has gone through “as a friend” since speaking to the council.
Grant said a revision of the town’s noise ordinance should include a timeframe in which businesses can make noise, such as 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
“If these gentlemen would agree not to start that music until 7 a.m. and have it shut down before 10 p.m., that’s really the only compromise that we can come up with right now until we can enforce a new ordinance, because we don’t have a proper ordinance in place,” Grant said. “That’s our call. We’ll take the brunt of that because we’ve never been called on the carpet about our noise ordinance before like this.”