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Friday, May 6, 2016

School AC unit irritates residents

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Carl and Martha MacDonald have lived at their home on Olive Street, on the northwest corner of Eastside Elementary School, for several years. Now Carl says the situation there is "kind of a mess."

Nearly a year ago, after air conditioning was installed at the school, the system's noisy condensing unit became a problem for the MacDonalds. So, Carl began trying to contact the proper authorities to help with the situation.

Throughout the past 11 months, Carl has spoken with an engineer from Sycamore Engineering, Mayor Kenny Crabb, the Brazil Police Department and members of the Clay Community Schools Corporation. Despite his many efforts, he feels that his desires have been ignored. Therefore, on Sept. 8, he contacted an attorney to discuss the possibility of filing a lawsuit.

He complains that the noise has "really messed up our lifestyle." The MacDonalds no longer enjoy sitting on their patio because they "can't even hear each other talk."

Carl describes the noise as "very irritating during the day," but they "can live with it." The "real problem" began on Sept. 3, when the unit started coming on in the afternoon and running until after midnight. Besides the sheer discomfort of the situation, Martha suffers from a heart condition and diabetes. They are worried that her consequent lack of sleep is not good for her "fragile health."

In Carl's opinion, the condensing unit is in violation of the city's noise ordinance, which states, "No one shall operate . . . any machine . . . which produces sound outside of any house, residential dwelling, apartment, building, or other enclosed structure, which disturbs the peace, quiet, enjoyment or welfare of the neighborhood within the City between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m."

Superintendent William Schad says that he has met with Carl "a number of occasions" and that he does not think the condensing unit is "excessively loud." The manufacturers of the air conditioning system assured him that they installed a "residential unit," which should run more quietly.

He also added that the Mayor's office had investigated the situation and found that it was "not in violation" of the ordinance. And he has talked with other neighbors, who told him they "would like for it to be quieter," but have given him no real complaints. And he recalls speaking with Carl in his back yard, while the unit was running, and having a "normal conversation."

Nonetheless, Schad and Clay Community Schools have been "looking into it" and there are plans to build a fence around the unit. However, due to the Corporation's current financial set, they will probably not be able to do so "until next spring."

He maintains that they are doing what they can, but it is apparently "just not happening quickly enough" for the MacDonalds. In the meantime, Schad says his main concern is the "health and well-being" of the over 200 students at Eastside.

Carl acknowledges that the Corporation has been making some effort to correct the problem. Sometime last week, the condenser unit was set to run during the day again rather than late into the night. As Carl sees it, the problem has been "temporarily resolved," but he and his wife are still "anticipating a permanent solution."

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