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Neighbors sue Durham church for being too loud

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TWC News: Neighbors sue Durham church for being too loud
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DURHAM—A handful of families are taking a neighboring church to court for being too loud.

People living in the Hills at Southpoint subdivision say they are being tortured in their homes by loud music coming from newhope church. They compare it to having a rock concert next door, twice a week.

They filed a lawsuit (.pdf file) Tuesday, asking for the judge to consider it as a class action suit, representing at least 40 people living in their neighborhood.

The lawsuit said the loud noise shakes their homes, keeps them from sleeping, and even makes it difficult to watch television without headphones. Last month, Durham Police issued a criminal citation to the church's pastor, Benji Kelley, for unreasonable and disturbing sound levels coming from the church.

The neighbors say they filed the lawsuit as a last resort, having tried for the past two years to work with the church to find an amicable solution, but they say those attempts failed.

Now they want a judge to force the church to quiet down and pay up for all the trouble.

“What our clients are seeking, first and foremost, for this unwelcome noise and vibration to stop coming into their homes. They'd like to be compensated for the loss of value to their property and the loss of quality of life,” said attorney for the neighbors Donna Berkelhammer.

Representatives with newhope church would not talk to News 14 Carolina on camera Tuesday, but their attorney, William Thomas II issued this statement:

We have just received a copy of the complaint and have not had an opportunity to study the contents. The church has been in full compliance with both local and state law and has monitored all sounds coming from the church to ensure compliance. Newhope church has been and continues to be a good neighbor and will respond appropriately to the complaint. Newhope church has nothing but love for their neighbors.

A judge will hear the case Friday morning.

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