Enough with the Newark noise, neighbors say

KEARNY

It won’t be the U.S. cavalry rushing to the rescue like in the Old West, but definitely expect to see uniformed personnel from the other side of the Passaic River.

That will likely be the response to Kearny residents’ complaints about loud music blaring from a location on Verona Ave. in Newark’s North Ward.

And even worse, that hard-driving club-type music which, residents say, has persisted through the summer and now, into the fall season is played into the wee hours, depriving adults and kids of slumber.

It makes it tough for folks who work the next day or for youngsters going to school.

About 50 long-suffering residents voiced their common concerns Oct. 2 at a Town Hall meeting convened by Mayor Alberto Santos to try and come up with a solution.

A representative from the Hudson Regional Health Commission which is empowered to monitor noise regulations said the agency is hampered in this case because it has no jurisdiction in Essex County.

Moreover, as noted last week by HRHC Executive Director Carrie Nawrocki in a phone interview, “the state noise code only allows certain categories of property to be enforced,” and, because the property at 9 Verona Ave. has – according to Kearny Health Officer Ken Pincus – reportedly been taken over by the city of Newark in a foreclosure action for non-payment of taxes, it is classified as “abandoned” and, therefore, exempt from noise enforcement.

Additionally, Nawrocki said, on the basis of police investigation, the noise “seems to be originating from mobile speakers” set up at the Verona Ave. site, and that’s not enforceable, either.

Still, Nawrocki said, the HRHC plans to “set up a modified noise investigation” by sending an investigator during “off-hours” to measure noise levels at Kearny locations.

Those readings, she said, will be furnished to the appropriate law enforcement agencies to reinforce any public nuisance complaints they may bring against the offenders.

“It’s really a police matter,” Nawrocki said.

For the record, state regulations limit enforceable noise levels to no more than 50 decibels between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. and 65 decibels from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., according to HRHC Deputy Director Angelina Dequina.

Council President Carol Jean Doyle credited Santos with “setting up a plan going forward” by putting key Newark officials on record about the situation and getting a list of their emails so they can be alerted to any future incidents. Effort effort will be made, she said, to get Newark authorities to crack down on the noisemakers before taking possible further steps.

In a Sept. 26 letter to Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and City Council members Anibal Ramos and Luis Quintana, Santos wrote, “As far as we can tell, the noise comes from an open area of a vacant industrial property [at] 9 Verona Ave., where cars assemble and play music on speakers late into the early morning hours on most nights.

“The most recent noise complaints I received were on Saturday, Sept. 23, informing me that the noise continued non-stop through 2 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 24.”

Santos said the Kearny Health Department and the HRHC “are trying to work with their counterparts in Newark and Essex County to address our concerns.”

Kearny Police Chief John Dowie told The Observer the KPD, on a late Saturday night near the end of August, “sent a couple of cars over” to the Newark site where officers “found vehicles at the extreme east end of Verona Ave. off Rt. 21.”

Dowie said his understanding of the situation is that individuals “pull up with vans and Jeeps, get out speakers and start booming. … I’d characterize it as a ‘pop-up’ party certainly not the kind where they take out a permit — they’re taking advantage of a desolate location.”

And, the chief said, “the sounds project right across the [Passaic] River with no barriers.” Washington Ave. residents seem to be getting much of the brunt of it. But folks on surrounding blocks are also hearing it.

Unfortunately, Dowie said, “we don’t have enforcement powers” in Newark and the NPD have their hands full.

“In all honesty,” the chief said, “we’ve gotten a better response from the Essex County Sheriff. They’ve had complaints about this group in the past.” They get chased but when officers leave, they return, he said. “If you don’t keep pressure on them, they’re going to keep coming back.”

Doyle, a S. Midland Ave. resident, said the music “woke me up at 11:30 last Friday (Sept. 29) night. It was a nightmare.”

“I don’t get why [Newark PD] can’t ticket them for noise nuisance, disrupting the public,” the Kearny lawmaker wondered. “Nobody wants to be bothered 24/7 by a party you weren’t invited to.”

Ron Leir | Observer Correspondent

Ron Leir has been a newspaperman since the late ’60s, starting his career with The Jersey Journal, having served as a summer reporter during college. He became a full-time scribe in February 1972, working mostly as a general assignment reporter in all areas except sports, including a 3-year stint as an assistant editor for entertainment, features, religion, etc. He retired from the JJ in May 2009 and came to The Observer shortly thereafter. He is also a part-time actor, mostly on stage, having worked most recently with the Kearny-based W.H.A.T. Co. and plays Sunday softball in Central Park, N.Y.