I recently stood and explained to our city council that the noise problem created by St. Joseph Church on Linden Avenue has become untenable—not the annual fiesta noise, the constant parties occurring in their converted classrooms. Most weekends throughout summer, loud thumping music starts at noon when they set up, and it continues unabated until 10 at night. As we live adjacent to the classrooms, our walls shake for 8 to 10 hours continuously, sometimes Friday, Saturday and even Sunday. Then the party continues for another 2 hours as animated revelers straggle out.

The mayor directed me to our city manager, who asked for a week to research the situation. However, when we finally spoke, he told me he didn’t know what sort of permit the church had, except that it was from the 1960s and they could pretty much do what they wanted. He suggested I pursue state statutes for resolution. Wow.

We’ve lived next to St. Joseph’s party-central for 12 years, and the stress has become overwhelming. It is oppressive. We’ve spoken to Monsignor Martini, the city and the police on numerous occasions, but we apparently have no right to a peaceful neighborhood—unless we go to the state and battle it out in court.

I understand the need for a party venue in Carpinteria. Excessive noise has been a problem at other makeshift “venues” in town. From St. Joseph’s perspective, they’re making money from the rental, as are the caterers and the sound and lighting people. But clearly, we need a function center located in an appropriate place, and we need updated codes that won’t allow this dysfunction to continue year after year. If anyone in power lived next door to the noise, I strongly suspect something would have been done years ago. Do average citizens matter?

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