HOWELL – While a Howell resident has reached a settlement agreement with the developer of a nearby plaza, which he said has been a nuisance to him for years now, he continues to plead for better enforcement from the township.
Recently, Marc Parisi of Castle Court in Howell Township settled with the property manager and the developer of the Greenleaf at Howell plaza, AAM Mill, LLC, for $125,000. Parisi has been complaining since 2016 that the noise created by the Xscape Theatres Howell 14 in the plaza has been a thunderous nuisance for his home, which backs up to the plaza property.
The Greenleaf at Howell plaza is located at Route 9 North and Lanes Mill Road. Castle Court is located behind the plaza, just off Lanes Mill Road.
Parisi’s complaints began around May of 2016, when he brought the issue to the attention of the Howell Council. The sounds from the movie theater can be heard day and night from his Castle Court residence, sounding like thunder, said Parisi.
Over the past three years, the settlement agreement is the biggest development in the ongoing situation, but this is not for lack of trying.
Over the years, Parisi brought the matter to several governing bodies.
In August 2017, his complaints were shot down by the township zoning board after they upheld the township zoning officer’s determination that the theater was not causing a noise disturbance.
While township officials did adopt a new and improved noise ordinance in October 2017, one that aligned better with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s model noise ordinance, there was still no way to enforce it. Howell Township does not have a noise control officer.
Parisi also faced obstacles when filing his complaint in court. An initial complaint was dismissed by the court clerk as they had to name individuals rather than corporations, namely Xscape Theatres Howell 14 and the Greenleaf plaza. This complaint was later dismissed by the judge for a misnomer, because Parisi indicated the individual in the complaint was the property owner when in fact it was the property manager.
Parisi has said that he feels officials are trying to “thwart” his attempts to find a solution.
Despite the recent settlement agreement with the plaza, nothing has changed in terms of the noise generated by the theater.
At the August 13 council meeting, Parisi took an opportunity during public comment to follow up with his concerns about enforcing the noise ordinance at the plaza. Parisi was told in March 2019 that Howell Township Attorney Joseph Clark would speak with the County Health Department regarding the possibility of a shared service agreement for enforcement.
“Perhaps maybe it’s time that Howell Township delegated a code enforcement officer to go to get trained and certified so that they can enforce the noise ordinance in-house,” Parisi told the council.
No developments on the potential shared service agreement were readily available for Parisi during the meeting.
“October will be two years since the council adopted the noise ordinance from the Department of Environmental Protection…I think that were way past overdue on getting an enforcement mechanism in place,” said Parisi.
Parisi noted that it was dictated in the noise ordinance that it is the council’s responsibility to protect residents from these situations, as it is a “quality of life issue.”
“And without an ability to enforce…it’s not a good look for the town,” he added.