Noise pollution becomes hot issue at Irvington council meeting

Council President Renee Burgess at the Aug. 9 meeting

IRVINGTON, NJ — During the Irvington Town Council meeting on Aug. 9, a resident complained of incessant music other residents are playing in her neighborhood, which continues every weekend, beginning late at night and well into the morning hours. Exhausted from attempting to handle the problem herself multiple times, she brought up the issue to the council herself to see if anything can be done about it.

Routinely, residents who desire to speak during the public comments portion of the meeting have 3 minutes to voice their thoughts.

In her comments at the meeting, Elmwood Terrace resident Elice Fitz, age 65, said the music starts at 8 p.m. and doesn’t stop until 3 a.m. 

“I put my name on the list to speak on behalf of the issue that I’m having with the extremely loud music and noise that seems as if it has been taking over this township,” Fitz said at the meeting. “The music is being played in my area. I live up here near 40th Street behind Florence Avenue School, and this has been ongoing for years.”

She complained specifically about a business property that is one block away on Florence Avenue.

“The business owner, who has a huge driveway, covered the entrance and they have hundreds of people there,” Fitz said. “The music starts at 8 o’clock and never ends until 3 o’clock a.m. When I call the police, it seems like the police never get there until 3 o’clock. How I know this is because I get up out of my bed, get in my car and I drive around there. That’s when the police are just arriving.”

According to Fitz, this property is not the only one in the area assaulting her ears. She questioned the town’s noise ordinance and asked why it isn’t being enforced.

According to the township’s noise ordinance, “It shall be unlawful for any person to make, continue or cause to be made or continued, directly or indirectly, including on any private property within the Township, any loud, unnecessary or unusual noise, or any noise which does or is likely to annoy, disturb, injure or endanger the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of others within the Township.” Additionally, according to the town’s ordinance on peace and good order, “No person shall, within the Town, shout or make a noise either outside or inside a building during the nighttime to the annoyance or disturbance of any considerable number of persons.”

Fitz is certainly annoyed and disturbed by the loud music she continually hears.

“Lately, it’s every weekend someone in this area is throwing a party. All you can hear is the really loud noise,” Fitz said. “It has gotten so bad that even the stores on Springfield Avenue near 40th Street have started putting speakers outside and blasting the music. When you walk down the street, all you hear is music. When you’re in the car with someone, you can’t even hear them speak. It’s like living in a Mardi Gras or Las Vegas.

“So, I’m wondering when did the township change their policy? Why is everyone allowed to have DJs and loudspeakers in their backyards? It feels like you’re in a club. They tell you to call the cops, but why am I calling the cops every weekend? I thought we had a noise ordinance in this township. Why is it not being enforced?”

At the meeting, council President Renee Burgess offered to have someone from the police department get in touch with Fitz.

“We apologize for what you’re going through right now,” Burgess said at the meeting. “I would definitely have someone from our police department contact you tomorrow. We do have an ordinance regarding noise pollution when it comes to music. It takes residents such as yourself to let us know, because it’s on a case-by-case issue when it comes to a resident not following the ordinance correctly.”

The Irvington Herald reached out to Public Safety Director Tracy Bowers regarding this issue.

“Our officers do issue summonses under our town ordinance,” Bowers said Aug. 10. “However, we may need to take steps to strengthen the ordinance to achieve greater compliance. Our residents should enjoy themselves but not at the expense of other residents.”