Dirt bike noise irritates neighbors in Mystic

Mystic - Residents of a Mystic neighborhood are urging police and town officials to stop a teenager from incessantly riding his dirt bike around his grandparents' 2-acre property on Richmond Lane, saying the noise is making their lives miserable.

On Thursday, a few of the residents appeared before the Stonington Board of Police Commissioners, urging members to either charge the boy and his family with a crime such as breach of peace or enact some type of ordinance to keep him from riding. One neighbor, Aaron Green, presented the board with a petition signed by 32 residents from nine surrounding streets, asking the town to address the problem.

Green said that despite complaints to police, visits by officers and a request to the parents of the teen and others who ride there, the noise has persisted. He said part of the teen's track goes right along the border of his property at 18 Richmond Lane.

The 2-acre dirt bike property is located at 12 and 16 Richmond Lane and is owned by Donald and Eleanor Weber and their daughter, Karen Fusaro.

"It's extremely loud, rude and disrespectful. My kids can't do their homework even with the windows closed," said Green.

Charlene Fowles, who lives across the street from the property, told the board said the riding can go on for as long as seven hours on weekends.

"The noise is unbearable. It's louder than a chain saw," she said. "The police come out and talk to them, but it doesn't do anything. It has to come to a stop. We can't face another summer with this noise."

Police Capt. Jerry Desmond told the residents that he sympathizes with their problem.

But he said the activity does not appear to fall under such crimes as breach of peace, disorderly conduct or creating a public disturbance as the boy's intent may not be to cause a disturbance. State law, for example, says a person can be cited for an infraction of creating a public disturbance when a person "with intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm ... makes unreasonable noise."

"It may not apply as easily as you think," Desmond said, referring to the boy's intent.

Desmond said the police department is also looking to borrow a noise meter to measure how loud the dirt bike is.

First Selectman Ed Haberek said he has talked to Town Attorney Thomas Londregan about the problem and the town is also looking at a New London ordinance that could be useful.

He said the town may also be able to cite the owners of the property with a zoning violation.

The town does have a nuisance ordinance that makes it unlawful for any person to create unreasonably loud or disturbing noise that is objectionable when heard within the confines of a home. But it only applies to noise made before 6 a.m. and after 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and before 8 a.m. and after 10 p.m. on Sunday.

The board plans to get an update on the problem at its May 9 meeting.

On Sunday afternoon, the teen was seen racing the red dirt bike at high speed around the perimeter of the property, through stands of trees and doing wheelies across the large lawn.

"They're trying to ban motorcycles from this neighborhood," said Eleanor Weber, who was unaware of her neighbor's appearance before the board. She said her grandson, now 15, has been riding since he was 3 and is limited to a half hour a day. She said there are other motorcycles in the neighborhood.

"This guy next door has been nothing but trouble," she said about Green. "The minute (my grandson) starts it up they call the police.

She pointed out the dirt bike is street legal, which means it has been modified so it creates less noise and meets other requirements to ride on the road.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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