Out-of-Hand Christmas Display Forces Man to Turn to City for Help

A resident of Holbrook, Ma. who said his family is bombarded with Christmas music playing day and night from a neighbor’s house during the holiday season is seeking help from the town.

Robert Blakey told selectmen last week that his Fargo Road neighbor blasts Christmas music over a loudspeaker as part of a holiday display from the week before Thanksgiving through Martin Luther King Day in January from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“For two months, we’re forced to listen to this,” he said. “I’m not a Grinch, (but) I feel it’s a bit excessive.”

Blakey said he approached the neighbor and asked that the music be curtailed, “but was told basically to get lost,” and that the town’s building inspector investigated the situation but was powerless to do anything.

Blakey asked selectmen if there is a noise ordinance that could force the neighbor to stop.

“Other towns, including Quincy, have ordinances,” he said, adding that Quincy requires a permit for playing outdoor music.

Selectmen Chairman Timothy Gordon agreed that the length the music is played is excessive and asked Town Administrator William Phelan if the town could step in to resolve the issue. Phelan said there is a state regulation that sets a reasonable noise decibel level.

“If the noise exceeds a certain decibel level, the person causing the noise would be in violation,” Phelan said.

Phelan, a former Quincy mayor, said the city enacted a noise ordinance that is stricter than the state. He said he would review Quincy’s ordinance to see if it could be applied in Holbrook, which does not have a noise ordinance on the books.

Phelan said that the town could draft a noise ordinance that would have to be approved by a future Town Meeting following a hearing.

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