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Mystic - Stonington police are scheduled to be on Richmond Lane this afternoon using a sound meter to test the noise level of a dirt bike that neighbors want silenced.
The controversy over a 15-year-old teenager riding the dirt bike on his property escalated Monday night when the neighbors reported an illegal fire in the yard where the rider, Mason Fusaro, his mother, Karen, and grandparents live. When police and firefighters arrived, they discovered the Fusaros and two other people enjoying their fire pit, according to police.
The incident angered Karen Fusaro, who charged that it was just another example of her neighbors harassing her and her son.
"These people are ridiculous," she said. "It's getting out of control."
Last week, several of the neighbors urged police and town officials to stop Mason from riding his dirt bike around his 2-acre property, saying the noise is making their lives miserable.
They asked the Stonington Board of Police Commissioners to either charge Mason 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 asking the town to address the problem.
Neighbor Charlene Fowles told the board the noise is louder than a chain saw and said residents cannot face another summer with it.
Fowles said Wednesday night that she felt bad about the situation.
"I've been friends with the family for a long time, and they've been good to me," she said.
Police Capt. Jerry Desmond told the residents 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. The town does have a nuisance ordinance, but it only bans unreasonably loud or disturbing noise at night.
Desmond said Wednesday that he would also be talking to the New London State's Attorney's office about what laws may apply. "We'll look at the issue, see if it's something enforceable and then talk to all parties involved to come up with a solution," he said.
State motor vehicle law does set noise standards for motor vehicles, but those typically apply to vehicles being operated on public roads.
First Selectman Ed Haberek said last week that he has talked to Town Attorney Thomas Londregan about the problem and that the town is also looking at a New London ordinance that could be enacted here. He said the town may also be able to cite the owners of the property with a zoning violation.
Fusaro said she bought her son a new motorcycle this Christmas that is much quieter than the one he has ridden in the past. Still, she said her neighbors began to call police as soon as he began to ride.
"They're making him out to be this awful kid, and he's not. He's not inside watching television and playing video games. He's outside being active," she said, pointing out that for years, her son has shoveled the driveways and done yard work for some of those now complaining.
She said she has kept a log of when her son rides and it's never the five- to seven-hours-long sessions her neighbors claim.
Fusaro said that when her neighbors have asked him to stop riding, he has complied, and he does not ride if he sees they have visitors.
She said her neighbors should have to pay for the police and fire response on Monday because they knew there was no emergency and only did it to harass her.