In the City of Johns Creek, there is a very interesting battle taking shape over a proposed noise ordinance which is meant to address sound(and the sound waves that generate vibrations) from a commercial business, which is detrimental to the homeowners nearby.
At first glance, it would seem to be a rather easy situation to address. There are the usual questions people like to discuss:
Should residents next to a commercial property expect to hear silence?
Does the commercial property owner have a right to do business?
What is an acceptable level of sound one should be expected to tolerate?
The list could actually be somewhat endless. Why? Because in this day and age, too many parties want to do as little as legally possible. They choose not to remedy the harm they have caused to another party, and will try to as little as law mandates.
That is a shame.
Are we in a society where we wait for the government to tell us what is the right thing to do? Apparently so. This issue has dragged on for two years. Children go without sleep on school nights. People cannot enjoy their own homes more than half the evenings in a week.
I can empathize. I live in the same neighborhood as those affected, although I cannot hear the music or the vibrations from my home. What I have struggled with for the last ten years pales in comparison, yet is along the same lines. Lawn care companies have arrived on my street on Mondays and Fridays and just after 7:00 am have started with the relentless leaf blowers and lawn mowers. Because they do multiple homes, this goes on for hours. Twice a week.
I am a night person. The intrusion of sound is loud and continuous. So I can only imagine how terrible it is for my neighbors.
I even heard several of my neighbors speak for the establishment in question. I have been there myself and enjoyed it. I can understand the attraction.
I heard City Council members speak out about what might be a remedy and what it might cost.
I heard supporters speak out on the venue about the money invested by the owners.
They seem to be forgetting one thing. We are talking about rights. As a Libertarian I am a firm and complete believer in rights. And in this case, even if it was just one home with one resident being negatively affected, it is one home too many.
Individual rights are the cornerstone of the American system of justice. And despite how it appears at times, we are not granted “more” rights because we are part of a group. That may be the way inept politicians have attempted to deal with things, but it was a boneheaded approach and should be reversed.
Because the individual has rights, they must be protected even IF another party suffers material losses.
Why? That’s simple. In this case the business had the burden of making sure that they did not violate the rights of anyone as they went into business. Was it up to the homeowners to make sure the business did their due diligence before opening? No. That rests completely with the business.
Sure, it sucks for the business. But that is their job and not the job of the residents.
We cannot have a society where we look at some residents and say “you must make a sacrifice because there are more of us than you, and we want it”. Especially when it is a for profit business at the expense of your residents.
Were I to be causing damages to my neighbors, I would not wait for a law to be passed to address it and tell them tough luck. I would do all within my power to remedy the situation on my own.
The City Council of Johns Creek needs to start with one basic purpose: protect the rights that come with the property for BOTH parties.
Unfortunately, for the business involved, one does not get the right to generate vibrations which are then sent into the homes of neighboring residences, which then reduce the rights of the homeowners to enjoy their own property.
If the homeowners had some way to reduce the rights of the business to operate to the full enjoyment of the business, we’d have already been in court and had this situation resolved.
Rights start with the individual. Another party does not have the “right” to diminish your rights for the benefit of themselves. To do so would effectively eliminate our way of life. We’d have mob rule on every issue.
In this instance, the business did not and does not have the right to send sound waves and vibrations trespassing into the neighboring homes. Yet they have been doing so for two years. Two years is enough.
The business can do the right thing before the City Council takes action, or they can wait and be forced to take action. The choice is theirs.
Ask yourself this question: If your next door neighbor suddenly got a dog that barked from 9:00 p.m to 1:00 a.m., how long would you tolerate it?
Would it matter that the dog won dog shows and was popular with others who did not live next door?
When the battle becomes Me Versus You, no one is entitled to more rights at the expense of the other party.
Equal treatment under the law is easy to enforce, once you remember the law is based on individual rights. The equal treatment is that the rights which exist for both parties are protected.
I’ve heard some say that the someone will win here and someone will lose. That is the wrong conclusion. If the rights of the homeowners are not upheld, then we will all be losers.