By Elizabeth F. McNamara
The East Greenwich Little League’s idea to provide a batting cage at Cole Middle School for Little Leaguers, school teams and the general public has run afoul of an abutting homeowner, prompting police to close the batting cage until further notice.
The homeowner, Chris Lamendola, is one of the six residents of Sarah’s Trace who sued the school department and the town over construction of the new Cole Middle School from 2009 to 2011. That case went to trial in 2015 and ended with the jury siding with the homeowners that the construction created a nuisance and fining the town $240,000 – $80,000 per household – for the nuisance.
In a police report from May 31, Lamendola told police noise from when the batting cage was in use was bothering his daughter, who works third shift and sleeps in the daytime. Lamendola said the decibel level of the bat when it hits the ball was over the town’s decibel limit (find the noise ordinance here).
The top decibel limit in East Greenwich is 75; Lamendola showed decibel levels above 90 at the moment of the crack of the bat.
Police asked if power equipment such as lawn mowers and air blowers were also bothersome and potentially exceeded the decibel limit. Lamendola conceded those things were loud, but said, “I like those neighbors.” He told police he believed the school department put the batting cage near his property line as “retribution” for past complaints.
Supt. Victor Mercurio refuted that claim.
“It was not meant to target or retaliate or do anything of the kind,” he said, referring to the decision to put the batting cage on that part of the school property.
“On that campus there’s not a lot of space for a batting cage,” he said. “What looks like open space, there’s irrigation and a conduit for electricity.”
East Greenwich Little League originally tried to install the batting cage using an earth moving machine to dig the holes, but Lamendola protested. Part of the argument in the court case had been that the large equipment used to prepare the ground for the new school had destabilized his house, creating large cracks in the walls and foundation.
The Little League agreed to dig the holes using hand-held shovels and the batting cage was open for business in May.
After several complaints from Mr. Lamendola, however, Police Chief Stephen Brown decided June 6 to close down the cage pending review of the noise ordinance by Town Solicitor David D’Agostino.
Brown said the noise ordinance dictates citing the person making the noise. He said he didn’t want police to have to cite a 12-year-old.
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did Lamendola file a complaint file last week about airshow noise too?
It would be nice if the town treated the people who live on the hills above Water Street with equal vigor. They put up with loud music all Summer long and no one who lives out of that area seems to care at all.
It’s a shame that a normal activity like using a batting cage can get wrapped up into an individuals person vendetta. Concessions were made to accommodate the neighbors. Your pictures show kids, adults, coaches doing the right thing…building the cages by digging holes with shovels and raking dirt by hand. Then Lamendola complains the cages are being used in a normal manner after the fact? He should be a shame! BTW the Little League and their sponsors DONATED the cages for FREE to the TOWN. A nice slap in the face when the town is trying to raise money and cut cost.
In response to Mr. Drolet as an older attorney, noise pollution is a real issue and subsequently is why municipalities have noise ordinances, legislation. A batting cage is not normal activity. My question is why would a municipality put a batting cage in a residential neighborhood knowing that it would violate the Noise Ordinance? Who made that poor decision? Reading the Ordinance from the article it seems residential neighborhoods have a limit of 60 decibels during the day and 55 at night. If readings of above 90 decibels that would mean extreme violations. If I had some professional advice to give Mr. Drolet, bone up on zoning and ordinances. They protect and work for everyone in a community. Better advice would be to be careful in his emails as they sound very accusatory and slanderous to his cause and his sponsors!
the batting cage is on school grounds. next complaint will be kids can’t yell while playing outside vs. glued to an electronic device?
I’d gladly drop off a supply of ear plugs to the Lamendola family
60 decibels is the volume of normal conversation per the CDC. If those limits are correct, it’s illegal to talk on your porch at night and only barely legal during the day.
…what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
The motorcycles that blast up and down First Avenue make a lot of noise too. What can be done to bring that under control?
I find it ironic that Lamendola doesn’t remember, or chooses not to remember, his younger years. As I remember he used these fields just about every day; either practicing for football or playing games on Sunday afternoon, with a lot of people in attendance, cheering on their teams. He seems to be a very bitter person. I just wish he could leave well enough alone and let the kids enjoy the same recreation that he did.
It is just SAD
The birds outside my window yesterday morning woke me up, too. Time to lawyer up.