New Noisemaker and Lack of Privacy (July 2018)

A few weeks after the gas station opened I had a new foe: the tire inflation compressor.

This was installed approximately 6′ from the presumed property line (the cement retaining wall with the 4′ chain link fence on top). It was located where the bathroom entrances had been, with the bright light overhead, the one that lit up my yard. It was only noisy when people used it, it was true. However, this could be the dude at 2:30 a.m. filling up a dozen basketballs (??? Was this part of a convoluted excuse to the spouse he was cheating on ?) or the aggrieved person yelling at their bicycle’s busted inner tube in the afternoon or the sketchy dudes standing around having a long conversation in this area after they did their tire fill 24 hours a day. This part of the neighboring property is at the highest, so anyone at the tire inflation area could easily see into my yard, over the 4′ chainlink fence with the privacy cloth I hung up, and through my curtains if it they were open (very seldom now).

I had a work table set up outside my kitchen door, where I was painting all 256 fence pickets, and reglazing storm windows. I felt very uncomfortable being in my yard when people were standing on the other side of the fence.

Despite the City of London’s Noise Bylaw, which states:

“Prohibitions – deemed – Residential Area

2.4 At the specified times and clearly audible at a Point of Reception in a residential area:

Power Equipment – use – 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

(f) the sound caused by the use or operation of a lawnmower, chain-saw, leaf-blower, or any such noise generating tool or device that is clearly audible at Point of Reception in a Residential Area between 10:00 p.m. of any day and 7:00 a.m. of the next following day (or 9:00 a.m. if the following day is a Sunday).”

this fucking thing was used at all hours, usually by people who wanted to talk or yell before, during or after using it. I could hear it in my back room, I could hear it in my kitchen, I could hear it in my dining room, I could hear it in my powder room and most importantly I could hear it in my bedroom. The sound is a low frequency rumble that I could hear and feel. If I hung up a dozen different wind chimes, this would do nothing to neutralize or mask the sound. The late night discussions by the compressor particularly woke me up, as I was primed to be vigilant of trespassers in or near my property, too.

The gas station has a propane locker at the front and one of those bagged ice lockers. The location of the tire compressor could have been easily switched for the nice, quiet ice locker, I thought (ie an available electrical connection was already in place).

I called the City to inquire about the bylaws regarding the placement of the tire compressor. Apparently there were none. If I wanted to make a noise complaint, to instigate an investigation I had to jump through some hoops, then the city would send me a noise log, where I had to write down the time of each incident, with a description, then submit that to the city, and a Bylaw Enforcement Officer would come by to have a look. This was despite the bylaw already on the books !

I mean, a Bylaw Enforcement Officer could have come by, turned on the tire inflator and measured the sound. Then he or she could have come to my yard, and in my house, and had someone turn on the machine. It would be obvious that the location of this device would be an ongoing problem for my location. The tire inflator was accessible 24/7, not turned off between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.. Geez.

I suppose some people would argue that since I bought a house that was next door to a used car lot, with gas pumps, that I should have expected no privacy due to this, right ?

Let me tell you: at the used car lot, the tire compressor was in the garage, so I seldom heard it. I could sometimes hear their larger compressor for their mechanic’s air tools, but this was between 9:00 – 5:30 p.m.. People did not stand around in the parking lot at 3:00 a.m. having a fight over the phone, or yakking with their drunk pals, like they did in the summer of 2018. The car lot parked their inventory very tightly, with only narrow aisles between the cars. Sometimes people looked at the cars after hours. However – the cars created a solid wall by the chainlink fence. Cars were seldom moved on or off the lot after the lot was closed, so headlights shining in my windows would have only briefly occured in the shortest days of winter. Here’s an aerial photo from Google Earth that illustrates this well:

Screen Shot ArialBarts.png

Here’s a listing photo. See those cars parked ?


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