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Charlotte Amalie
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HomeNewsArchivesLoud Music Shatters Coral Bay Peace

Loud Music Shatters Coral Bay Peace

Coral Bay, St. John, always had a bit of a noise issue when the Sputnik bar occasionally hired bands to play into the wee hours of the morning, or when one of the other bars, from time to time, cranked up the music level a bit too high, but the opening of Cases by the Sea several months ago has pushed the problem to a new level.

Music starts up mid-afternoon on both Saturday and Sunday, ending late in the evening, and sometimes contining uninterrupted for the whole weekend. On Labor Day, the music played late Sunday night, began again around daybreak, Monday, went off and on until 9 a.m., and then continued at top volume until late Labor Day evening.

The problem is compounded by Coral Bay’s bowl shape. Hills surround Coral Bay Harbor, which funnel the music up to the growing number of homes and vacation villas that dot the hillsides.

Residents had been putting up with it, grumbling to themselves and their neighbors, until Sputnik had an extremely loud band that began playing at 11:30 p.m. Sept. 23. Residents closed their windows, put in earplugs, and tried to sleep. By 2:30 a.m. the volume was so intense that nothing helped. They began calling the police, and when the police arrived from Cruz Bay around 3:30 a.m., the music stopped.

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Residents emailed Police Commissioner Raymond Hyndman and Deputy Police Chief Darren Foy, who told residents at that time that playing loud music was breaking the law because such activities had to be contained in a closed building. Foy said loud music was not going to be allowed.

Coral Bay area residents had two weekends of peace until last weekend, when Cases by the Sea started up again. Calls to the police got two different responses: one person was told that a police officer went to the bar and decided it wasn’t too loud, another resident was told the bar had a permit to play music.

Residents wanted to know what changed.

“The officer dropped the ball, and I’m dealing with it internally,” Foy said Tuesday.

He said that although the police officer was told by Cases by the Sea that they had a permit, the officer didn’t ask to see the permit. Additionally, Foy said he didn’t sign any permit. He also said that he later learned Cases by the Sea claimed it was having a fund raiser.

Foy, who said he was upset by this latest turn of events, also said businesses such as Cases by the Sea and Sputnik must respect the community where they operate.

“I don’t want any issue with loud music,” Foy said.

Cases by the Sea is not in the phone book, and a call to owner Owen Krigger was met with a “mailbox is full” message. The number listed for Sputnik was not a working number, the phone company said in a recorded response.

There is a law on the books that would seem to halt this music. It’s long, but it says, in part, that noise disturbance means any sound that is or may be harmful or injurious to the health, safety or welfare of any individual and unreasonably interferes with the enjoyment of life, quiet, comfort or outdoor recreation of an individual of ordinary sensitivity and habits. Further, the law states noise or music can be plainly heard at a distance of 100 feet is prohibited.

Shayla Solomon, spokesman at the Licensing and Consumer Affairs Department, said the department has received some complaints about the noise issue in Coral Bay. She also said the department is trying to get some enforcement officers to deal with St. John issues, and the Licensing Division is investigating to see if Cases by the Sea has an appropriate license.

Karen Baranowski, who owns Windspree, a vacation villa management company, is concerned about the impact the loud music will have on the villa rental business.

“The valley is a megaphone,” she said.

While she’s not had any complaints – no one in her villas during September – Baranowski said she has recently been to some of the houses she manages and the music was loud. She added she can sometimes hear it at her house, which is not on the hills above Coral Bay, but further out above Route 107. She also said that people can put up with one night, but every weekend is too much.

“Not everybody is into it,” Baranowski said.

Sandy Mohler, who lives on a hill above Coral Bay, wasn’t happy to have her peace disturbed.

“Nobody likes that racket all night long,” she said.

Geography is everything when it comes to who hears the noise. William Wade, who lives in Bordeaux, said the music wasn’t loud. Lorelei Monsanto, who lives much lower down in the Coral Bay valley, said her house is situated so she doesn’t hear the music at all.

In response to the Coral Bay issue, as well as continuing noise issues in Cruz Bay, Sen. Craig Barshinger called a Nov. 3 meeting at the new Legislature building adjacent to the police station in Cruz Bay. It will run from 6 to 8 p.m.

To view the sections of the V.I. Code related to noise pollution, visit http://www.visenate.net/folder/Chapter%2062.%20Noise%20Pollution%20Control.pdf

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Coral Bay, St. John, always had a bit of a noise issue when the Sputnik bar occasionally hired bands to play into the wee hours of the morning, or when one of the other bars, from time to time, cranked up the music level a bit too high, but the opening of Cases by the Sea several months ago has pushed the problem to a new level.

Music starts up mid-afternoon on both Saturday and Sunday, ending late in the evening, and sometimes contining uninterrupted for the whole weekend. On Labor Day, the music played late Sunday night, began again around daybreak, Monday, went off and on until 9 a.m., and then continued at top volume until late Labor Day evening.

The problem is compounded by Coral Bay’s bowl shape. Hills surround Coral Bay Harbor, which funnel the music up to the growing number of homes and vacation villas that dot the hillsides.

Residents had been putting up with it, grumbling to themselves and their neighbors, until Sputnik had an extremely loud band that began playing at 11:30 p.m. Sept. 23. Residents closed their windows, put in earplugs, and tried to sleep. By 2:30 a.m. the volume was so intense that nothing helped. They began calling the police, and when the police arrived from Cruz Bay around 3:30 a.m., the music stopped.

Residents emailed Police Commissioner Raymond Hyndman and Deputy Police Chief Darren Foy, who told residents at that time that playing loud music was breaking the law because such activities had to be contained in a closed building. Foy said loud music was not going to be allowed.

Coral Bay area residents had two weekends of peace until last weekend, when Cases by the Sea started up again. Calls to the police got two different responses: one person was told that a police officer went to the bar and decided it wasn’t too loud, another resident was told the bar had a permit to play music.

Residents wanted to know what changed.

“The officer dropped the ball, and I’m dealing with it internally,” Foy said Tuesday.

He said that although the police officer was told by Cases by the Sea that they had a permit, the officer didn’t ask to see the permit. Additionally, Foy said he didn’t sign any permit. He also said that he later learned Cases by the Sea claimed it was having a fund raiser.

Foy, who said he was upset by this latest turn of events, also said businesses such as Cases by the Sea and Sputnik must respect the community where they operate.

“I don’t want any issue with loud music,” Foy said.

Cases by the Sea is not in the phone book, and a call to owner Owen Krigger was met with a “mailbox is full” message. The number listed for Sputnik was not a working number, the phone company said in a recorded response.

There is a law on the books that would seem to halt this music. It’s long, but it says, in part, that noise disturbance means any sound that is or may be harmful or injurious to the health, safety or welfare of any individual and unreasonably interferes with the enjoyment of life, quiet, comfort or outdoor recreation of an individual of ordinary sensitivity and habits. Further, the law states noise or music can be plainly heard at a distance of 100 feet is prohibited.

Shayla Solomon, spokesman at the Licensing and Consumer Affairs Department, said the department has received some complaints about the noise issue in Coral Bay. She also said the department is trying to get some enforcement officers to deal with St. John issues, and the Licensing Division is investigating to see if Cases by the Sea has an appropriate license.

Karen Baranowski, who owns Windspree, a vacation villa management company, is concerned about the impact the loud music will have on the villa rental business.

“The valley is a megaphone,” she said.

While she’s not had any complaints - no one in her villas during September - Baranowski said she has recently been to some of the houses she manages and the music was loud. She added she can sometimes hear it at her house, which is not on the hills above Coral Bay, but further out above Route 107. She also said that people can put up with one night, but every weekend is too much.

“Not everybody is into it,” Baranowski said.

Sandy Mohler, who lives on a hill above Coral Bay, wasn’t happy to have her peace disturbed.

“Nobody likes that racket all night long,” she said.

Geography is everything when it comes to who hears the noise. William Wade, who lives in Bordeaux, said the music wasn’t loud. Lorelei Monsanto, who lives much lower down in the Coral Bay valley, said her house is situated so she doesn’t hear the music at all.

In response to the Coral Bay issue, as well as continuing noise issues in Cruz Bay, Sen. Craig Barshinger called a Nov. 3 meeting at the new Legislature building adjacent to the police station in Cruz Bay. It will run from 6 to 8 p.m.

To view the sections of the V.I. Code related to noise pollution, visit http://www.visenate.net/folder/Chapter%2062.%20Noise%20Pollution%20Control.pdf