Via Bossip– The city of Oakland is threatening to impose $500-a-day fines on a church that has long served residents in Oakland after a neighbor complained that the late-night noise of the church choir was too loud.
Via SF Gate:
Pastor Thomas A. Harris III of the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church said he was surprised to receive a letter from the city’s nuisance abatement division on Aug. 31, saying the “excessive noise” of organ, drums and amplified vocals during the church’s weekly choir rehearsals is a nuisance to neighbors — and violates city law.
According to the letter, the church could be hit with a $3,529 initial fine, and penalties of $500 a day, until it abates the noise.
“This is strange,” Harris said, adding that it’s “quite unheard of for a church to be fined because of joyful noise.
The problem, according to a copy of the complaint to the city, is that the loud music goes on sometimes until 2 a.m. The copy of the complaint was sent to the local NAACP head, George Holland, but excluded the name of the person who complained, self-described as an 11-year resident of West Oakland who had never had problems with the church noise until 2014.
Harris said the choir practice ends at 9 p.m. He also said he didn’t know which of his neighbors complained but assumed the person must be a newcomer to the area.
“We’ll try to work with the community,” he said. “We don’t want to disrespect them, but we don’t want to be disrespected.”
During one particularly joyful week in August, the peal of gospel music resounded “around the radius of the church” and could be heard from half a block away on all sides, according to a diagram the neighbor sent to city officials.