By ANGELA NIMS
Sunday Times Newspapers
RIVERVIEW — Prayers weren’t answered for Metro City Church of Riverview, whose noise citations were not dismissed in district court on Jan 25.
In November the Riverview city attorney leveled 12 misdemeanor charges in 27th District Court against Metro City Church, 17760 Fort St., for violations of disturbing the peace and limits on amplified noise.
Metro City Church executive pastor, the Rev. Greg Cahalan, posted on social media Thursday that following Judge Randy Kalmbach’s decision not to dismiss the citations, the case would move forward in court.
“This means that our case will likely be going to trial and a jury will decide whether we are violating the ‘disturbing the peace’ and ‘amplified noise’ ordinances through the worship music played during our worship services,” Cahalan wrote.
Many residents were surprised to hear the citations were signed by two civilians, rather than police officers.
Though he could not comment on the case, Riverview Code Enforcement Officer Howard Storey explained when a police officer is not present during an alleged offense, a person who is attesting to the complaint may sign.
“In these cases (of a citizen-signed citation), it’s nothing personal of the city against the one cited,” Storey said. “They’re just doing their jobs, following through on complaints.”
Metro City Church’s lead pastor, the Rev. Jeremy Schossau, took to social media to express both his frustration and the church’s desire to be good neighbors.
“We want nothing more than to be in good relationship with our neighbors,” Schossau wrote. “This is why we bought an abandoned, run-down building (one of the biggest in Riverview) and spent a fortune in dollars and volunteer hours building it into a place that offers something for the whole community.”
He mentioned mistakes made, in volume, when the church first began, but said those have been corrected, at the expensive of installing sound proofing, reworking the ventilation and hiring professional sound engineers.
“We have, at the city’s request, spent a small fortune with sound engineers to do very accurate readings,” Schossau wrote. “We are under every measurable number in the city codes and ordinances. We are at the same levels of sound that any business would be expected to be at.”
Student ministry has since been relocated to Taylor, in the interest of keeping sound down.
“We keep hearing, even in court, that we are disturbing the peace multiple days a week from morning to night,” Schossau wrote. “This is simply not true. Outside of the rare occasion when somebody uses the system when they are not supposed to, we use the PA for about one hour a week. We do about 15 minutes of music for two Sunday services (around 9 and 11 a.m.) and about 6-10 minutes of sound check around 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. That’s it.”
Despite the efforts, complaints of bass sounds persist. Bass, being of a low frequency, travels farther — and higher — than high-pitched sounds do. This is why a neighbor may not be able to decipher the lyrics of a song playing, but can feel the throb of the beat.
Add to that the effects of sounds ricocheting off surfaces, and a neighbor in a second or third floor room may hear something different than a person standing on a ground level parking lot nearby.
Metro City Church officials said they intend to continue working with city officials to try to find a workable solution, but the case will remain in court in the meantime.
(Contact Angela Nims at [email protected])