Noise Ordinance Could Hush Engines

Complaints about miserable days and sleepless nights could bring rural Harrison County its first noise ordinance. At a supervisors meeting on Monday, residents said they are sick of hearing the roaring engines at a Menge Avenue racetrack. A law making excessive noise a crime might may restore the neighbors' peace and quiet.

"Enough is enough," said Karen Camero. "We're tired. We're frustrated. and the noise level is incredible."

Some Harrison County residents say the South Mississippi Speedway just isn't a good neighbor. They say the races are too loud and last too long into the night.

Sherry Moore said, "I know that people are resorting to calling 911 when this is 11:45 p.m., 12:45 a.m., 1:45 a.m., 2:45 am. last weekend. I ask, would any of you be able to live with that?"

Speedway owners say the races are mostly on Saturdays with occasional practice rounds on Thursdays and Fridays. Those days, nearby homeowners say they can't speak in normal voices or sleep because of all the noise, even though some live miles away.

"I can't have my grandchildren sleep in my home without being disturbed," said Lydie Thibodeaux."I worked hard to spend time with my grandchildren. I can't. They can't sleep over at my house because they can't sleep."

Peggy Sprabery said "We added a bedroom downstairs. We put double paned windows. We're behind three sets of doors in our bedroom. We can still hear it."

The residents say they're not trying to get rid of the racetrack, but they do want some protection for their rights and quality of life. A noise ordinance would do that.

"We cannot shut a business down. That is not going to happen. But we can regulate those businesses. I think whether you're a new resident in that area or if you've been there a long time, you a right to use your property with some reasonable peace and tranquility," Supervisor Marlin Ladner said.

Races usually begin around 8 o'clock at night. The father of one of the racetrack owner Lyndon Rushing offered his suggestion.

"I don't know what to do other than maybe they can start it earlier and stop it. There is no way you're going to do away with the noise," William Rushing said.

Supervisors will hold another public forum next month before voting no the noise ordinance. Under the current version, violators can be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to $1,000 in fines and six months in jail.