View Full Version : Noisy, Rude, Ugly Suburbia.

June 22nd, 2007, 01:57 PM

(Gary Hovland) Image Source:

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Noise complaint against Bayville family dropped

June 20, 2007

Cheers erupted in a packed courtroom in Bayville [L.I.] Wednesday night after a judge dismissed a case against a couple who faced jail time because their children allegedly played too loudly around their backyard pool.

William and Rachel Poczatek, of Bayville, were accused of violating a village noise code after irate neighbors complained that their daughters, ages 5 and 11, made too much noise frolicking in their backyard.

Judge John O. Kennedy threw out the case after Village Prosecutor James Reilly joined with the couple's attorney, Andrew J. Campanelli, of Mineola, who asked that the charge be dismissed.

"I think the village did the right thing," said William, 43. Rachel, also 43, added, "It shouldn't have come to this point."

Neighbor Mark Kostakis, 40, who had complained about the girls, said Wednesday night, "The wrong ordinance was written. ... Does this give them the right to do whatever they want? You'll have to ask them."

The couple's attorney has not ruled out further legal action. Kostakis had videotaped the girls playing in the backyard and the couple wants the tapes destroyed.

Kostakis said earlier this week he had complained to the family and the village for nearly three years and started recording the din last month after village officials instructed him to document his complaints, he said.

"I don't want it to escalate. I want peace and quiet," Kostakis said. His wife, Angie, 44, said they had bought the camera to document the case. "It's not about the children. It's about the parents who have blatant disrespect for the neighbors," she said.

The Poczateks were charged with violating a provision that bars "the shouting and crying of peddlers, hawkers and vendors, which disturbs the peace and quiet of the neighborhood." If convicted, the couple could have been fined $250 or sent to jail for 15 days, or both for each day that the offense continued.

Caroline Bourke, 53, who lives behind the Poczateks, also has complained, but said last night she wasn't surprised the case was thrown out. "I guess these days, there are going to have to be new ordinances," she said.

A friend of the Poczateks, Nicole Waage, 41, of Bayville, supported the dismissal. "I think it was the right decision and the only decision to make. There are kids all over the place in Bayville," she said.

On Tuesday, Mayor Victoria Siegel said she wasn't happy about children not being able to play in their backyard, but maintained that "something had to be happening in order for people to have complained."

But Albert Brunetti, 74, who lives next door to the Poczateks, said he's never had a problem with the children. "The kids are nice kids," he said.

Several neighbors who live behind the Poczateks' Perry Avenue home on Plymouth Road said Tuesday that the children are indeed a nuisance. The children scream at the top of their lungs and go on for hours on end, said Sheila Brown, 48. "I could have 10 friends over that don't make as much noise as those two kids," she said.

On May 7, a village code enforcement officer issued William Poczatek a notice of violation, citing his children's "loud screaming, shouting" as an "unreasonable nuisance to neighbors." Last week, the Poczateks held a party for their 11-year-old daughter and her friends. The following day, they received a summons to appear in court.

Rachel Poczatek said Tuesday her children are well-behaved. "They're not throwing rocks, they're not yelling, they're just playing in their yard," she said.

Copyright 2007 Newsday Inc.


ABC News Clip (includes recording of childrens' squeals):


June 22nd, 2007, 03:03 PM
Parents used to live behind a school playground. You want noise? :p

I do not think that law was intended for kids, but it is a blanced issue.

The tape that they had was SHREIKING. If they did this continuously, that is kind of where you go up and knock on the door and ask them to reign them in.

But all said, they should not live in fear either.

The reasoning that they are never out there past 9 is lame. You have 2 kids in the pool ant they are yelling and screaming, you, as a parent, have the responsibility to go out there and tell them to chill.

That shriek they played on tape was not a "happy shout" it was an attempt for the kid to make as much noise as she could. Some girls do this. Some parents do not do anything about it.

How can a line be drawn? Without being unfair to either?

June 23rd, 2007, 08:40 AM
Almost all the news sources called it "squealing", but I listened to it again, and you're right, it's "shrieking".

The neighbors who complained about the noise and the Town of Bayville missed the point: it is about the children. If neighbors are used to hearing shrieking, then if one of the girls is really in trouble, how will they know?

This has been one of the ongoing problems with my neighbors who live diagonally behind me. In 2002 they built an "extended jungle gym" (read: "playground") in the back corner furthest away from their house -- practically on top of the property belonging to my neighbor and me. Children play on it all the time, and blood-curdling screams are a regular occurance.

When it was first built, I found myself running outside every time I heard a scream to find out if the children were OK. Concerned neighbors and I repeatedly tried to explain to the parents that the children were "crying wolf," but we were met with such hostility that we stopped. With some people, you have too much to lose if you confront them or report them to the authorities.

I've checked up on the children's screams less and less over the years; at this point, even if a child were being raped or bludgeoned to death, it would probably go unnoticed by the neighbors. One more reason I'm happy to be leaving this town.

June 25th, 2007, 09:34 AM
Um, just call the cops when you hear the kids screaming.

Say you are worried about their safety.

But you should do one thing first. Seriously listen to what they are screaming about. Learn a bit first or long-term parents might listen to the same thing and simply roll their eyes when you say "they sound like they are in trouble!!"

Sometimes that distinction is harder than others. But there still is aline between happy squealing and shreiking as loud as you can to garner attention.

The strangest thing is, some of these kids do not realize that they are attracting the attention of people other than who they are screaming at. I see a baby shriek in the grocery store, I stop and ask "what?" They are SO suprised that someone besides mommy stopped, they usually just stop instantly.

But this is, and will always be, a tough subject.

July 27th, 2007, 04:09 PM
Was it just me, or did that NOT look like suburbia... ;)

You would think they would chose a more appropriate picture for the story... ;)

Maybe they just trusted the real estate listing when they said "Quiet little suburban getaway" ;)

July 31st, 2007, 10:14 PM
Was it just me, or did that NOT look like suburbia... ;)
It's just you. It looks like suburbia.


July 31st, 2007, 10:19 PM
It looks like it to me too. Looks like LIE or another interstate going away froma city.

August 1st, 2007, 09:30 AM
Guys, the highway is not suburbia. :rolleyes:

August 1st, 2007, 12:36 PM
^ Yeah, it is.

August 1st, 2007, 01:35 PM
^ Yeah, it is.

No it ain't.

Its the way TO and THROUGH suburbia.

You do not have 3 bedroom colonials popping up on the center median.

So a guym, standing out next to a highway with a noise meter, is supposed to make me believe that Suburbia (the area with the smaller roads and the NOISE BARRIERS set up along the sides of highways) is now noisy?

The picture SHOULD have been a shot of a guy on a typical street corner with maybe an ice-cream truck on the side of the road and children playing or something. Maybe even an anonymous shot of people doing lawnwork, not a guy out at the GSP saying "Wow, sure is noisy here!"


August 1st, 2007, 09:12 PM
Regardless if it is a good picture for the article aside, still looks like suburbia to me. If I were to see that and someone say "Where is this?" I'd say...some suburb or maybe rural area.

August 1st, 2007, 09:13 PM
Guys, the highway is not suburbia. :rolleyes:

The highway is IN suburbia, so it's part of it is what I'm saying.

August 2nd, 2007, 12:24 PM
The highway is IN suburbia, so it's part of it is what I'm saying.

I know, and that is the common misconception that rankles me.

NJ is not one big highway, no matter how many times the "what exit do you live on" joke is used!! ;)

August 4th, 2007, 11:01 AM
^ Suburbia is a built-up place where you must use a car to get around with dignity intact.

August 4th, 2007, 10:36 PM
I've seen hundreds of mcmansion housing developments built right alongside major highways, especially the Northern State and LIE on Long Island, there's usually a sound barrier wall, which doesn't do much when the backside of these houses appear right behind them.

August 6th, 2007, 09:44 AM
Do you want me to show you where I grew up?

Geez guys, just because you have driven a highway in NJ and seen a house does not make the Highway Suburbia.

The definition of suburbia to most natives is what you see in FRONT of the house, not behind it.

Do me a favor guys. Take a trip over to Bergen County and drive through Allendale, Upper Saddle River, Franklin Lakes, Oakland, Ridgewood, Pompton Lakes, Wycoff, New Milford or any of the towns once you get off of the major highways.

This is the kind of thing that pops into my head when I hear the term:

August 6th, 2007, 03:17 PM
Yes, that also pops into my head. Ninja, Im not saying that isnt suburbia...Im saying that they BOTH are. The highway is PART of it, so are nice streets with houses like you've shown here. Suburbia has many forms throughout it.

August 6th, 2007, 03:46 PM

Now the point I was getting at was that they were saying that Suburbia is getting noisier. But nt necessarily just from car traffic.

Yes highways have a lot of noise, but that is kind of a moot point. Everyone knows this and I doubt that the highways themselves got much noisier in comparison to the former "quiet" neighborhoods.

I believe they were talking about car radios, hedge cloppers and lawnmowers and other noise more native to the neighborhood itself than an external source.

Hell, the houses near Laguardia have a LOT more noise now than before, but that isn't really from a demographic change in the neighborhoods there! ;)

August 6th, 2007, 04:04 PM
I know the point you were trying to make. And I said while it may not be the best picture for the article (which it's not obviously), it still looks like, and is, suburbia. ;)