“It’s not really music,” [Olga Lopatina] complained of the hymns as she stood in her backyard one recent evening after yet another unwelcome serenade. “This one, it sounds like a teenage iPhone recording, like the first generation ring tones that you pay 99 cents.”
Larry Miller said not only is the noise intrusive but he finds it offensive from a religious perspective. “It’s not my religion,” he said.
The chimes ring three times a day on top of during funerals and weddings.
Burlington has an ordinance that prohibits “unreasonable noise,” but there’s no definition for what constitutes “unreasonable.” Furthermore, no one has challenged the church on whether it’s crossing the line. A meeting is scheduled for May 18 with a mediator to see if a resolution can be found without involving lawyers. (Quick solution: Limit the bells to once on Sunday. For everything else, use a bell inside the building.)
In 2013, something similar happened in Rhode Island. The city of Narragansett also had a noise ordinance… but it contained a religious exemption allowing a local church’s bells to keep ringing loudly. A lawsuit brought against the church was later dismissed.
You have to wonder if Vermont would be quicker to act on this problem if the sounds were coming from a mosque. Or maybe the Satanic Temple can start holding some outdoor services…