BUCKHANNON — Citizen Sandra Lancaster stood before the Upshur County Commission last Thursday morning to address a problem she and her family have been facing for some time now. Lancaster lives in the Middle Fork community and said she has been dealing with noisy neighbors to the point that it is adversely affecting her health.
Lancaster reported that she did not want to come to the commissioners but stated, “I had to do something to help retain the quality of life that we deserve as taxpayers of Upshur County. My husband and I, along with our family members, just want to enjoy peace and quiet in our five homes and enjoy our property along the Middle Fork River.”
Lancaster indicated she was aware that a noise ordinance would not change their behavior and make them good, respectful neighbors, but said she is hopeful the Sheriff’s Office will help eliminate the disturbances that she and her neighbors currently face. Lancaster described the situation to be large parties and explained that the more people who attend, the louder the music gets. Lancaster reported that her home thumps from the sound of the neighbor’s speakers, making it impossible for her to sleep.
The Lancasters have reportedly tried to talk reasonably to the neighbors but have reached no compromise, which is the reason she finally decided to seek help from the County Commission. Lancaster stated, “I have talked to numerous people in Upshur County and though most have lived here their entire life, they are unaware that there is no noise ordinance and cannot believe that we are subjected to these conditions with no help from law enforcement. Almost everyone, even an officer and my doctor, have told me that we should go out and play loud music when they have to get up early, but we are not those kind of people.”
Lancaster reported that she does not want a war with her neighbors and has tried on numerous occasions to work out a solution to no avail. She stated, “They refuse to turn down the music or the bass so that our house does not thump.” The neighbors have allegedly told Lancaster that they are going to listen to the music, and she was going to have to get used to it. Lancaster indicated that there are between 10 to 100 people in the neighbor’s yard at any given time, and often times the friends will stay for an entire weekend or even a full week at a time.
Lancaster explained, “We should have done something when they bought the property in 2008 and the loud music started, but since they have moved here full time in the summer, the partying has become more frequent.” She continued, “They have no respect or consideration for our life or lifestyle.” Lancaster reported that many of her family members do not come to Upshur County because they do not want to endure the loud music and no sleep. She stated, “Personally, the living conditions in the last few months have affected my health and well-being. I have not taken blood pressure medicine in three years, 16 days and 21 minutes, because I quit smoking because I didn’t want to have to take blood pressure medicine. My blood pressure was fine, and the doctor put me back on the blood pressure medicine two weeks ago.” Lancaster was emotional in reporting her difficulties to the County Commission.
Lancaster stated, “I am scared. I am scared that [by] coming here today, they will get drunk and have 100 people standing behind them and the mob mentality - I am afraid of what they are going to do to me and to my family and my house.” Lancaster told the commission that she appreciated them listening to her. Commissioner Terry Cutright later stated, “In 2010 there was Senate Bill 456. I sit on the County Commission Association of West Virginia and we will be having a meeting in January and I will bring this up and see if they can support having the senate bill brought back up.”
Commission President Sam Nolte stated, “This is only the second complaint I have had since I have been on the commission. This has not really been an issue in the past.” Lancaster’s husband argued, “It is going to start becoming an issue because we are going to start calling 911 and involve an officer coming out there every time we call and taking him away from something that could be life threatening somewhere else in the county.” The Lancasters have never called 911 before per their report in Thursday’s meeting. Nolte stated, “We will check into it. We will look into it and try to help you guys out.”
In other news from the Upshur County Commission, they conducted interviews for the appointment of a new Prosecuting Attorney on Thursday afternoon.
Sheriff David Coffman also sent correspondence to the commission, requesting that Cpl. Rodney Rolenson be appointed to Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School and Cpl. Dewaine Linger be appointed to Buckhannon-Upshur High School as Prevention Resource Officers. Rolenson will also continue with the Upshur County Home Confinement program. The Upshur County Commission approved the new posts for both officers.
The next meeting of the Upshur County Commission will be held on November 21 at 9 a.m. at the Upshur County Courthouse Annex. Follow The Record Delta for updates on the potential resolution of a county-wide noise ordinance.