Shake, rattle and roll

By on October 15, 2014

A literal interpretation

A neighborly view of Rock Lititz. (photo by Stephen Seeber)

A neighborly view of Rock Lititz. (photo by Stephen Seeber)

“It will be addressed, and it will be addressed immediately.”

That’s the sentiment of Logan Myers, chairman of the Warwick Township Board of Supervisors, in response to dozens of complaints of mind-numbing noise coming from the Rock Lititz studio.

Neighbors living along the property line had an unsettling and unwanted front row seat to the sound checks and rehearsals for Rock Lititz’s most recent client, rumored to be Usher. Low frequency bass reportedly shook walls, rattled windows and made people physically ill. The first complaints were logged Oct. 1, according to Regional Police Chief David Steffen. The calls began to rise last week, and the problem reached its zenith over the weekend, after a corn crop that served as a buffer was harvested.

The Warwick Township government never anticipated this being a problem, but they have been on the phone daily with Rock Lititz in search of a solution, according to Dan Zimmerman, township manager.

“From the township perspective, we were told there would not be an impact,” Zimmerman said.

That being said, the township is moving forward, hoping to solve the problem quickly and keep it from happening again.

“We don’t want to repeat this situation,” Zimmerman said. “We want to learn from this.”

He said daily conversations and weekend meetings with Rock Lititz has convinced the township that the entertainment industry giant is committed to being a good neighbor. Rock Lititz has reportedly run multiple tests in an attempt to fix the problem, but Zimmerman said he is unsure at this moment what the ultimate solution will be.

Some light on the noise nuisance may be shed Wednesday night during the township’s regular board meeting. A large crowd of emotional neighbors is expected to come seeking answers, and the township has arranged for sound experts and Rock Lititz representatives to be present for questions.

“I’m sure we’re going to hear that side of it,” Zimmerman said in regard to disturbed residents. “And that’s good. That’s good information for us.”

He also pointed out that this is not a “black and white issue.” It involves a legally-operating business that can’t simply be shut down, and it involves a noise issue that isn’t addressed in a township ordinance.

He also strongly believes that Rock Lititz will do what’s right.

“They’re well-established in the community. They will address it,” he said.

Pat Lorraine has lived at 141 Moorland Court, within view of Rock Lititz, for 16 years, and she says a reasonable amount of noise has always come from the Clair Global building.

“Like a low bass from time to time, it was kinda neat,” she said. “It was never as drastic as last week.

“Last Sunday (Oct. 5) my windows were vibrating, and again on Friday night. It was pretty bad.”

She said Rock Lititz invited the neighbors to a meeting in the summer, and assured everyone that they were going to keep the noise in check.

“It was a great meeting, but now the consensus in the neighborhood is that they’ve gone back on their word. I know it’s a business, but they aren’t being a very good neighbor right now, like they promised.”

As far as Wednesday night’s meeting goes, Lorraine won’t be able to attend. Regardless, she’s not sure what to expect.

“They’re saying all the right things now,” she said.

“You can feel the thumping in your head,” said Shawn Marley of 348 Coventry Lane. “I don’t sleep very well.”

Marley, who works for Tastykake, gets up at 2 a.m. to start his deliveries. He’s not confident that the problem will go away anytime soon.

“Because they’re very wealthy, and I think there are some hidden agendas behind it,” he said. “But hopefully it will get fixed and we won’t have to move.”

Eric Fry of 350 Coventry Lane can see Rock Lititz from his deck. After four nights of loud thumping, as if a bass-heavy car stereo was parked in his driveway, he was convinced the problem wasn’t going away on its own. He was told that Rock Lititz was running a monitor system at 25 percent capacity.

“Holy moley, if that’s 25 percent… Our wall was vibrating, picture frames were vibrating,” he said. “Outside it sounded like thunder. Inside it was like pressure you could feel in your ears. You felt it as well as heard it.

“I left the house on Saturday and I started feeling crazy. My ears were ringing and my stomach didn’t feel right. I was disoriented, dizzy. I don’t know how to describe it. I felt nauseated and dizzy. We drove around for a few hours because we didn’t want to go home. And that’s the worst part, you don’t want to go home.”

He said the feedback on social media sites, mostly from people depicting the neighbors as fussy complainers, adds to the unsettling situation.

“They’re insensitive,” he said. “There are children in this neighborhood, and it’s not just a few people complaining. This is 25-30 homes.”

To make matters worse, Fry’s wife Jen is recovering from lymphoma. She’s in remission, but can’t even relax in her own home.

“This is like the absolute worst thing that can happen right now,” he said.

He said he wasn’t too worried about Rock Lititz during its planning stages, figuring “the largest sound company in the world would take precautions.”

Fry is an electrical engineer with a professional background in audio. He said he’s no expert on the scale of Rock Lititz, but his suggestion would be to bring in a consulting firm to help with the resolution process. He’ll be at Wednesday night’s meeting to pitch that idea and hopefully go home with some relief.

“I’m hopeful,” he said. “I want to find a resolution without conflict if we can.”

As head of the township supervisors, Myers wants to reassure everyone that the government is on their side.

“First, I want to apologize to any of the citizens who have been affected by this excessive noise that came from Rock Lititz,” he said. “As we’ve said from the beginning, if issues arise Rock Lititz will be held to accountable standards. And we’re doing that. That’s paramount. And we’ve talked to Rock Lititz, and that’s their objective too.”

Myers is convinced that a solution is near and last week’s unforeseen noise torture will not be a recurring situation. He’s also prepared for a contentious meeting.

“It will be very emotional for people, and we understand that,” he said, “but we will hear everyone who wants to speak, and we will have sound experts there. It’s not something we’re taking lightly.”

Stephen Seeber is the associate editor for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at sseeber.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4423.

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