Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Good neighbor “Mary Ann” topples aggressive noise from Home of the Whopper

“I am having a serious problem with the Burger King located on the block behind my house,” Mary Ann wrote me in September 2008. “Their drive-thru speaker box is less than 500 feet from my bedroom. My neighbor on the other side of my street can hear the box. It starts at 6:15 a.m. and on weekends it continues to 2 a.m.”

I wrote back to Mary Ann, ending with: "The process takes time, and I'll guide you through next steps if things aren't fixed soon."

Most of us with neighbor noise issues are dealing with area residents. The management and owners of this particular restaurant had absolutely no interest in being good neighbors. They didn't have to. They don't live there, and their business's sustainability wasn't impacted by how neighbors felt about the speaker system.

So Mary Ann made them care. She contacted BK corporate, which basically laughed and belittled her. I knew her process would take some time, but it wound up taking longer than even I'd estimated, and I'm somewhat cynical about this stuff.

It took two years.

She took them to small claims court for disturbing the peace, and, "I WON!" she reported to me. "They laughed at me, but the judge didn’t find it very amusing. There are also notes in their city permit file, so that every time they apply for a permit, they will be reminded about the noise constraint law in residential areas and if they violate it, their permits will be pulled."

An LAPD detective went to Mary Ann's Burger King and put a lock box on the volume control for their speaker box. She's been sleeping like a baby ever since.

Neighbor Solutions and NeighborsFromHell.com salute Mary Ann for fighting the good fight, and making her community quieter and better for everyone.
See Mary Ann's first-person account at her blog, which provides more detail than my quick write up.

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