Residents at odds over noise

Michael Lewis

Imagine pulling in your driveway to an unwelcome barrage of flying spuds. Such is life for John DuBois, as he and his car occasionally get blasted by potatoes.

DuBois, who li ves on College Avenue in Kent, is one of many residents embroiled in neighborly issues between the city, council and students. Initially, he spoke fondly of his years living in Kent and the young girls who live beside him, but then his tone changed.

“The guys across the street have a potato gun,” DuBois said. “Some nights, I’m scared to come home.”

Residents gave an ear to their neighbors during the Kent City Council meeting Wednesday evening. After the meeting, some shared their experiences and concerns.

Amanda Ennis knows kids are going to be kids, but she also knows from personal experience that her neighbors on High Street have received retaliation for daring to call in noise violations.

“It’s not just a college town,” Ennis said. “There are people that live here. You can’t just do anything you want.”

She said it seems the city is constantly reinventing the wheel with the same issues that rarely get worked out. Then new students move in.

“We’re all supposed to be living here together, not segregated,” Ennis said. “I think that’s part of the problem. There’s no such thing as a student street or a resident street or a family street.”

Though she says she is not a fanatic about quietness, Joyce Harris remembered many restless nights of sleep.

“There are times I would wake up to screaming and foul language three and four times a night,” Harris said.

She thinks police and landlords have made a difference keeping the neighborhood quiet. In the last 30 years, she has never had this much sleep before.

However, Karen Andrews knows the burden of sleepless nights.

“It’s difficult to start all over with a new group of students and expect them to understand that even though they have not offended us before, our patience has been strained over the years by the situation,” Andrews said.

Junior pre-med major Luke Gibson, who also lives on College Street, wants to stay on good terms with all his neighbors.

Steve Mileski, Gibson’s landlord, said he and his wife are concerned about the passage of the nuisance ordinance, which fines landlords for repeated noise violations.

“Landlords have no more control over our tenants and their guests than you do over the person sitting next to you,” he said.

Contact public affairs reporter Michael Lewis [email protected].