“Advocating for the Right to Peacefulness”
The beauty of Watauga County is undeniable, but it can be difficult to fully appreciate this area when accosted by unnecessary and excessive noise. There needs to be increased attention and change which will positively enhance the rights of County residents to more fully enjoy the natural serenity here.
I moved here by choice a couple of years ago. Mountainous areas have always been peaceful and inspirational to me, and I fell in love with the NC High Country. The proximity to Appalachian State, and all the resulting energy and resources which accompany a major university, sealed my decision to move here. I am very happy I did.
My only disappointment has been the unreasonable amount of intrusive noise, which I have not experienced in any other places/states I have lived.
PeacefulWataugaCounty.org is an attempt by myself and several other people to provide a forum for others in the County who are enduring unreasonable noise. Our hope is that we can enlighten community leaders across the County to take the issues involved in noise pollution more seriously, and to make the reality of living here more closely match the peaceful perception of mountain living.
I am providing an outline of my experiences here in Watauga County the past two years as a means of helping to put my disappointment into context.
- A neighbor in my development let their dog run free and ‘bull rush’ unsuspecting people throughout the neighborhood. The result was injuries to two young women doing yard work on my property, and significant aggravation for people in the neighborhood. The same dog would howl for hours, day and evening.
- A neighbor had contractors pounding on his roof all day Mother’s Day Sunday.
- A neighbor ran a professional backhoe on his property, exclusively evenings and weekends, for four months. It turned out the neighbor was putting in a septic field and tank without County permits or inspection (despite his claim that he has a Master’s Degree in Building Services). The County finally inspected the septic field and forced him to move it to a proper location.
- A neighbor let her dog outside every morning at 6am to run free and bark incessantly for 30 to 40 minutes every day, seven days a week. Sleeping past 6am was basically impossible for most of the neighborhood.
- A neighbor has a contractor visit his home daily, the contractor would bring two dogs along and the dogs were free to roam the neighborhood to bark and defecate on our properties.
- A neighbor has three dogs. The dogs are kept outside for most of the day and evenings, and they bark incessantly for hours at a time.
- Some of the motorcycle noise is so loud (my home is 350 yards from Route 194, buffered by hundreds of trees) that it can be heard for a couple of miles coming, and for miles after the cycles/vehicle pass. In some cases, the music being played on their cycles/cars is so loud that it’s easy to identify the specific song playing, even over the roar of one or more engines.
- There is a builder putting up houses in a development next to mine. Over the last 7 or 8 weeks of this past summer it was impossible to sit out on my porch to enjoy the weather (and summer evenings) due to the slamming/pounding that took place until 9 or 10 pm every evening… and on weekends. When I emailed the builder to request more consideration for the neighbors he responded that his obligation was to his client, not the neighbors.
- Another builder is putting up a home near our development, the slamming/pounding is a daily reality and was particularly bothersome over the Thanksgiving weekend when the noise continued through Sunday evening. When I asked this builder to be a bit more respectful of the neighbors, he too stated that he has the right to build ‘whenever he wants’.