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Neighbors file civil suit against church for being too loud

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For several months NewHope Church on Fayetteville Rd. in Durham has been in a dispute with nearby neighbors who say the church's music is too loud.

On Sunday, crowds piled into the church, ready for another morning worship service.

"It's like a melting pot, everybody together on one accord and that's how a worship service should be," described church member Jarvis Porter II.

But at times, the music has reached decibels in the upper 90's and it's striking the wrong chord with neighbors who live directly behind the church.

"We can hear the music early Sunday mornings, "explained Tong Zhou, who lives closest to the church. "It's just heavy music, the drums, the heavy metal music that we can hear," he said.

The noise has landed the church in several, long legal battles.

A group of neighbors, not including Zhou, filed a civil lawsuit accusing the church of trespass by their noise and obstruction of justice.

They say the noise levels also devalue their homes, which according the complaint, entitles them to more than $10,000 dollars in damages.

Representatives from the church say after the lawsuit was filed they took steps to lower the volume inside.

"I believe they have done something and we saw the improvement, but it's still not completely resolved," explained Zhou.

"It does get a little loud at times, but it's a joyful noise," said Porter

"We don't think it's joyful, no. Don't do it please," said Zhou.

"It's all for the glory of God, so hopefully everything can be handled in a peaceful manner," said Porter.

That manner is now set to be a jury of their peers.

A criminal case was also filed against the church. It was initially thrown out, but a Supreme Court judge overruled that decision. 

As for the civil case, jury selection will begin Monday, the trial is set to start on Tuesday.

Jonathan Rodriguez

Jonathan Rodriguez is an investigative reporter and member of the WNCN Investigates team. His storytelling specialty is connecting the dots to get to the truth, with a goal of delivering results for our community. If you have something you’d like WNCN to investigate, contact Jonathan.

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