Florida

God almighty, this church ‘can be so loud!’ Some neighbors say it’s an ultra nuisance

A screen shot of one of CoastLife Church’s webpage home screen designs. Some neighbors of the Venice, Florida, nondenominational church says its worship music exceeds county ordinance levels of 70 decibels.
A screen shot of one of CoastLife Church’s webpage home screen designs. Some neighbors of the Venice, Florida, nondenominational church says its worship music exceeds county ordinance levels of 70 decibels. CoastLife Church

“You can hear the bass through any part of my house. It just thumps regularly nonstop for hours.”

Ultra Music Festival? Rolling Loud hip-hop festival.

Nope. That’s one Florida woman’s take on a Venice, Florida, church rolling way too loud. Callie Desormier and other neighbors have filed noise complaints since 2016, according to a report by NBC’s WLFA’s News Channel 8.

“I don’t understand why a church can be so loud,” Desormier said. “Their building vibrates.”

The station’s investigative team found that CoastLife Church’s music surpassed 70 decibels numerous times since 2016 — including 78 decibels on April 9, when code enforcement found the church in violation but did not pull the plug. That’s a bit louder than a county ordinance prefers — 70 decibels, which is not as loud as restaurant conversation but about as loud as a vacuum cleaner.

Christian rock

The nondenominational church isn’t blasting your dad’s old copy of Cheap Trick’s “This House Is Rockin’” even if one of its web homepage designs looks like a classic rock live album cover. That image — which is interchanged with more serene shots like waves reaching a shoreline — features electric guitarists and singers on stage, professional lighting rigs, and an audience on its feet. You might think you stumbled on a concert photo from a rock club like Fort Lauderdale’s Revolution Live.

But it’s not Cheap Trick, Panic! At the Disco or AC/DC rocking the house. Rather, it’s the music of worship, as many churches have long modernized to include electric and amplified instruments to reach younger audiences. These churches use Christian rock and pop tunes to spread its message of the Word.

Church’s position

Pastor Jason Warman of CoastLife responded to a Miami Herald inquiry on Wednesday.

“Thank you for reaching out to us and for the opportunity to communicate with you. We are aware of the situation and are saddened that there is an issue between us and our neighbor. We love our city and our neighborhood and exist to serve and improve the community that we love,” the church’s statement began.

“Our church services have seen hundreds of lives experience change and receive hope. We provide food and activities in our monthly block parties to express our love for people. We do our best to try to help meet the needs of teachers and students in our local schools. In addition to our local efforts we also provide global assistance through our strategic partnerships that help feed and clothe children in impoverished communities. Our heart is to be known for the good that we do,” the statement continued, mirroring what Warman sent to WFLA.

As to the noise complaint, Warman added: “When we became aware of a noise concern, our first response was to downsize our speakers in order to help remedy the situation. When that first step didn’t resolve it, we also took multiple other steps such as adding sound panels, and on several different occasions adding various types of insulation to help improve the situation.

“Our goal has always been to be in compliance with the ordinances of our county and be good neighbors to our community. According to our knowledge we currently comply with all of the local requirements. We are still exploring ways to improve our presence in the neighborhood. At the end of the day our hope is to be good neighbors while also providing dynamic worship services that enable us to fulfill our mission of leading people to abundant life in Christ.”

Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.


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