Temple too noisy for neighbor

When Fe Casas retired last year, she thought she’d have peace and quiet in her Richmond Hill home. But her neighbors, she says, make that nearly impossible.

For about 10 years, on most spring and summer weekends, beginning Friday morning through Sunday night, she told The Courier, there is loud drumming coming from next door, at the Maha Lakshmi Mandir temple, on 121st Street and 101st Avenue.

“The drumming and amplifiers vibrate the building,” she said. “When it’s at full volume it’s so distracting and frustrating we can’t have peace in our home.”

Her kitchen abuts the adjoining lot, where the temple has an outdoor meeting space, frequently host to many weddings and functions. This, she said, is where the drumming goes on.

“When it started, it was very bad – it went past 2 a.m.,” she noted. “Lately, it hasn’t been past midnight.”

The former medical social worker has called 3-1-1, Community Board (CB) 9 and the 102nd Precinct to lodge complaints. She even took a paralegal course at York College to educate herself.

“I have made so many calls,” she said. “It is not right, we are suffering.”

CB 9 district manager Mary Ann Carey has written a letter to the Hindu temple, telling them of the complaints (only logged by Casas, according to the CB) and asking them to “co-exist with the neighbors.”

Additionally, the CB has advised Casas, who has lived in her home since 1987, to call 3-1-1 and ask for a Department of Environmental Protection specialist to measure the decibel level.

“We have been asking them to slow down the drumming and loud speakers,” she said, also noting that sometimes the parties spill onto the street.

“When they have a wedding, some people can’t be accommodated, so they are outside, on the sidewalk,” Casas said. “The worst part is that we have to clean up because we will get a ticket.”

She claims she received one in 2007.

Swasti Dubey, president of the church, when contacted by The Courier, said that he is trying to be a good neighbor.

“We have an agreement with the neighbors that there will be no music past 9 p.m.,” he said. “We don’t want to create a problem.”

He explained that many devotees do rent out the temple, especially for Friday night weddings, and that the drumming – only permitted outside – only lasts a short time.

He said, too, that those who rent the space are told of the regulation and must have all music stopped by 9 p.m.

“All festivities have some music but we have a limit,” he said, adding that from January through June, he has received no complaints.

“I told [the neighbors] that if there’s a problem they can come on over,” said Dubey, who has made himself available, he said.

But all Casas wants is the noise to cease.

“It becomes very frustrating when you can’t rest in your own home,” she said. “We love this area, we are happy here, but it’s dreadful.”


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