A long-time Shawangunk resident raised concerns about continuous noise in his neighborhood during the town’s February 1 board meeting, emphasizing that his neighbors have exploited the town’s lack of a noise ordinance to blast music without any consequences.
Mark Wilson, a resident who has lived in Shawangunk for 34 years, recounted that some of his neighbors have been blaring music at night for several months. Despite Wilson and his family’s numerous requests, their neighbors declined to stop or lower the music and used the town’s nonenforcement as their justification.
“I learned the hard way from police and citizens of the town that there is no noise ordinance in our town,” he said. “And that fact has given many of its citizens permission in their minds to disturb the peace of their neighbors with no consequences.”
“We have two neighbors who have used the noise ordinance for their own personal advantage despite our complaints directly to them. The one neighbor literally told us he does not care whether he is a good neighbor to us or not,” he continued. “The other neighbor is the tenant of a four-family property, and I challenged that tenant with the music issue over six months ago. He told me he would respect my wishes; for the next six months, he broke that promise. That is clear harassment.”
Similarly, when Wilson called the police to complain about the noise, officials were unable to help him since there was no noise policy to enforce.
“I’ve called the police at least a half dozen times when they were available to check the complaint. I’ve heard the same refrain from the police over and over, ‘There is no noise ordinance in the town,’” he said. “The complaints that homeowners like me make are never reviewed by the town. The police admitted that their hands were tied.”
Wilson concluded his comment with a request for the town board to look into implementing a noise ordinance given his and others’ situation. Ken Ronk Jr., the town supervisor, received Wilson’s contact and said he would reach out to him.
“I would appreciate you revisiting the lack of a noise ordinance in Wallkill based on what my family and I have been experiencing for over six months,” he said.
In a post-meeting conversation, Ronk stated that he was unsure why the town lacked a noise ordinance but speculated that its agriculture played a part, as “farming has a lot of noise.” While not opposed to the ordinance, he explained that its process requires extensive training, studies, and equipment maintenance before the board could pass it.
As of last Monday, Ronk had not reached out to Wilson yet but planned to very soon.