To the Editor:
Perhaps you live in West Tisbury, famous for its bucolic heritage, its serenity. Now imagine your neighbor hosts jet ski races two to four times a week for three hours a day on his lake. Or imagine another neighbor has several guys over to have a chain saw contest, again two to four times a week for a couple of hours. Imagine the grating noise spreading over a radius of a couple of miles. Or imagine a half-dozen or more guys getting together two to four times a week for a dirt bike motorcycle race.
Oh wait, we don’t have to imagine that last disturbance of the peace, because it takes place every week next to Nip ‘n Tuck Farm’s property, just off State Road.
It takes place illegally. It has for many months.
These are dirt bikes, noisier than most street motorcycles. They rev high while they race around, and their sound is invasive, coming through even the neighborhood’s closed windows. The noise disrupts work at home, it sends quiet outdoor gatherings inside, and it is antithetical to why people choose to live in West Tisbury.
Wait, you say, we were careful. we have laws to prevent this sort of thing, to preserve our way of life. And we do. These excerpts are from the West Tisbury Town By-Laws:
Section 8.5-2 (A), Non-Residential Uses in the RU (rural) and VR (village residential) Districts — (the land being used for these races is rural) — states, firstly, “There shall be no evidence of the use through persistent or excessive sound, vibration or odor at the boundaries of the premises.” So if the sound exceeds the property’s boundaries, the law is being broken.
Section 8.5-2 (G): “(non-residential uses) shall not create hazards, unacceptable disturbances, unacceptable injury to the neighborhood, or unsightliness visible from any public way or neighboring property.”
The By-Laws extend these restrictions even further in Section 3.2-1, “Prohibited Uses in All Districts: Any building or structure or any use of any building, structure or premises which is injurious, obnoxious, offensive, dangerous or a nuisance to the community or to the neighborhood through noise, vibration, odors, fumes, smoke, gases, dust, harmful fluids or substances, danger of fire or explosion or other objectionable feature detrimental to the community or neighborhood health, safety, convenience, or welfare.”
(The By-Laws also clarify that loud residential noise — prohibited from 10 pm to 6:30 am — refers to “excessive or unusual noises in the operation of any radio, phonograph or other mechanical sound-making device or instrument or in the playing of any band, orchestra, musician, or group of musicians, etc.” It specifically addresses music/party-type noise; dirt bike racing is not an acceptable residential use of property at any time.)
The West Tisbury police have been informed about this activity, as has the building/zoning inspector. I urge anyone who considers loud dirt bike racing an assault on our town’s — our Island’s — soul to take three minutes and phone them, and insist this activity does not gain a foothold and become a disgraceful precedent, a slippery slope indeed for any town on this Island. Imagine what your neighborhood would be like if the laws were not upheld.
Wayne K. Greenwell