WEST ORANGE, NJ — At the Sept. 25 West Orange Township Council meeting several residents complained about the noise coming from the recently opened Aron’s Market on Eagle Rock Avenue, saying that delivery trucks and the lack of garbage collection are lowering their quality of life. The kosher grocery store opened in early September and is the third store in the Aron’s chain to open, with other locations in Teaneck and Queens.
“Aron’s Market built an additional freezer onto the original building and the cooling machine is very loud,” Leslie Cui, who lives on Kenz Terrace behind the market, said at the meeting. “The machine is running 24 hours a day and never stops. In addition, the store’s delivery truck and the garbage collection start working at about 3 a.m. and wakes up my family.”
Cui said Essex County officials tested the noise levels in September and the results showed 61 decibels, which is 50 percent higher than the 40 decibels that the West Orange noise ordinance allows. She also said that although police Chief James Abbott and health officer Theresa DeNova both requested that Aron’s reduce the noise, nothing has changed.
“We can hear the noise and feel the vibrations every minute in my house,” Cui said, detailing the toll the noise has taken on her 4-month-old son. “The constant noise is dangerous. It has an effect on children’s development. It could permanently damage children’s physical, psychological and cognitive health.”
She said her son has not been able to sleep well since the noise began and that he has lost weight. To fix the noise issue, the market has a 30-day grace period that ends Oct. 22, a month after the county took noise samples. Cui said that the town should take action if nothing changes.
“I hope if Aron’s fails to make corrections by Oct. 23, a violation will be issued,” she said.
Sydell DeMaio, another resident of Kenz Terrace, also complained about the noise from the market and added that it is not properly disposing of garbage. DeMaio said there are bags and cardboard surrounding the property instead of in the Dumpsters.
“It’s constant and it’s steady,” DeMaio said at the meeting. “With our windows closed and our TVs blasting and our air conditioning on, we can hear it. As victims of the noise, our quality of life cannot be sacrificed any longer. This is a public building and it is a threat to the health and safety of the entire community.”
Council President Susan McCartney said she had called the garbage collector and resolved the issue of trash collection, and Business Administrator Jack Sayers added that the problem with trash at Aron’s is not with the collectors but with employees not disposing of waste properly.
Councilwoman Michelle Casalino asked at the meeting if anything could be done to expedite the process of reducing the noise, and Sayers said that not much could be done before the 30 days are up.
“They have 30 days to clear it up,” Sayers said at the meeting. “Once they were issued the notice, they have 30 days to remedy the situation. But every day the chief and I are out there talking to these people. We’re going to get to a point where nothing works and we’re just going to have to start summonsing.”
Councilman Jerry Guarino agreed with Casalino that something should be done faster and before the 30 days are up.
“Thirty days is a long time for these people and their families and their children to be surrounded by this environment,” he said at the meeting. “Their quality of life is diminished and I think maybe we need to do a little bit more within the law to see if we can go faster than 30 days. These people didn’t come to West Orange and pay their taxes and buy their home to live by an environment that could be on the turnpike.”
At the meeting, assistant township attorney Kenneth Kayser said it might be possible to speed up the process because it could be considered an emergency situation, but in an Oct. 5 phone interview with the Chronicle, Kayser said that, after researching it, the town wouldn’t be able to expedite the process because the situation wouldn’t be considered an emergency without going through the court. That process would take longer than 30 days.
“Any enforcement of an ordinance, regulation or statute through the regulatory and court system is going to involve more rather than less time,” Kayser said in an email to the Chronicle on Oct. 8. “The fastest and best way to resolve all of these noise issues is likely to be through voluntary actions taken promptly and in good faith on the part of Aron’s Market and its product delivery and garbage disposal vendors. I am hopeful that Aron’s Market, in consultation with professional acoustical engineering advice, can come up with solutions quickly. They may be able to swap out relatively noisy motors for quieter ones in their refrigeration system. The township will do all that it can to enforce reasonable delivery and pick up times.”
Councilman Joe Krakoviak said at the meeting that because Aron’s wanted to open in advance of the Jewish High Holy Days, it was done very quickly. He said that the effect of this is being seen now, and the owners should be granted some leniency due to religious obligations.
“I’m sure the owner of the store is practicing his religious obligations and may not be able to give as much attention to this as he should, but it’s been three weeks now,” Krakoviak said at the meeting. “If it’s not clear to them they need to fix the garbage problems, then we have to take it to the next level; we have to start enforcement of this. I think some of these things we’re talking about tonight could be fixed more quickly.”
A manager at Aron’s, who asked not to be named, said in an Oct. 5 phone interview with the Chronicle that the store has been in contact with both the town and county, and is working to resolve the noise issues.