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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 32537
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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I live in Lakeland which is located in Polk County, Florida.

Customer Question

I live in Lakeland which is located in Polk County, Florida. I have an unreasonable neighbor who habitually complains about various concerns. He acts like the Major of our community since our HOA is defunct and not needed since it is primarily retirees and all nicely maintained homes in a quiet community. After purchasing a hot rod a few months ago he hasn't stopped complaining. Always wanting to be civil I've bent over backwards to accommodate his wishes for more than 10 years. Although the hot rod is street legal, he previously complained it was too loud. As a result, I spent more than $1,000 to purchase new headers with the largest muffles and turn-downs money can buy. The extensions are 16" and terminate a couple inches from the rear tires. Needless to say, I can accommodate anything longer. He still complains it's too loud and in my humble opinion it is not. After enjoying the car for a few months and driving it most weekends, I've never received any harassment from the numerous police officers I've passed. On the contrary, I receive numerous waves and thumbs up. Granted, I'm not a teenager who's speeding, driving recklessly, or acting immature. After reading the Polk County Noise Ordinance I'm not certain what actions I can take to protect myself from his harassment. I really don't want to cause any problems with a neighbor because this is our retirement home where we've lived for more than 10 years since I retired from the military and moved back to Lakeland. Since hot rods require routine maintenance, I cannot avoid the occasional running time to make adjustments. The running time usually consists of a 2-3 minutes. Because I enjoy tinkering on the hot rod in my garage I'm trying to find a happy medium between my sanity and that of the habitual complainer next door. Do you feel running the vehicle for a couple minutes within 9:00-9:00PM is reasonable and in accordance with the Polk County Noise Ordnance?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 3 years ago.

JD 1992 :

Hello and thank you for contacting Just Answer. I am an expert here and I look forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.

I didn't see the Polk County noise ordinance on hand but I've been involved in drafting several and am familiar with the concepts.

JD 1992 :

If the hot rod is street legal and passes inspection then there is nothing that you are doing which should be illegal in any way. You may want to change the times in which you "rev up" the vehicle and not do it before 10 am or after 6 pm, but that is the only thing I see that could be an issue in any way.

JD 1992 :

To protect yourself what you should do for at least a few times is video record yourself from the property line showing how long it takes and the amount of noise that is generated.

JD 1992 :

Judges lean over backwards to allow property owners to use their property as they see fit and will only restrict you if it is unreasonable.

JD 1992 :

And this doesn't sound unreasonable at all.

JACUSTOMER-9k47ooan- :

Thank You. In All Honesty I Thought The Answer Would Be More Specific. I Did Purchase A Decibel Meter To Record The Result From 25 Feet Away. Reading The Ordnance It Seems Pretty Vague And Sounds Like He Can Easily Write A Formal ComPlaint And I Will Be CIte With A Warning Without A Police Officer Visiting.

JD 1992 :

I'm not sure what specifics you need. I assume the ordinance you are referring to is the one at page 8 of http://www.lakelandgov.net/Portals/parkrec/Special%20Event%20Permit%202012.pdf

JD 1992 :

It's a very general ordinance and very, very close to every other one I've ever seen. As I stated, the judge will only stop "unreasonable" conduct and the statute specifically addresses it as being unreasonable.

JD 1992 :

There is no specific decibel rate or length of time which isprohibited.

JD 1992 :

Also, the specific question you asked was "Do you feel running the vehicle for a couple minutes within 9:00-9:00PM is reasonable and in accordance with the Polk County Noise Ordnance?"

JD 1992 :

Which is what I answered and then I added on extra information about what the judge was looking for, how to prepare evidence in case you're ticketed, etc.

JD 1992 :

If you have more specific questions you want to ask then I'd be glad to answer them.