It could get loud in a St. Clements neighbourhood, as residents square off over the music at a Lobsinger Line home.
Music producer and guitar player Jason Barry is seeking a zone change to allow a shed on his property to be used for storage of musical equipment and to serve as a rehearsal space. While some of his neighbours are supportive, others are not, setting the stage for a full house at a public meeting Tuesday night in Wellesley council chambers.
Barry’s wife Melissa, a music teacher, operates a business from the home. The township typically permits only one certificate of occupancy per household, putting in place the situation for the zone change dispute.
Following the couple’s application for the new zoning, Wellesley received a total of nine comments from the public regarding this issue – seven positive and two negative. The latter include neighbours Bob and Jeanette Bell, neighbours who live directly east of the Barrys and whose property is adjacent to the shed.
In written statements, the Bells informed the township that the shed on the Barrys’ property has led to property damage caused by a steepened grade and poor drainage on the property. They also mentioned that noise, specifically drumbeats and vibrations, interfere with the enjoyment of their property. Additionally, the neighbour noted that at times there have been up to five vehicles parked in front of the Barrys’ home, limiting visibility for cars entering and exiting their driveway.
Although in attendance Mar. 16, the couple did not speak. Instead, they were represented by Mark Radulescu, student-at-law with the firm of Giesbrecht, Griffin, Funk & Irvine.
“The Bells are not unaware of the success that the Barrys have had and that Barrytone studios has had and they are happy that St. Clements is getting the recognition,” said Radulescu “however in this case there have been some significant side effects of the operation of the accessory building with which they are concerned.”
Radulescu explained the Bells can hear the music throughout their home, “when the TV is on, when there is discussion and when they have their own music playing.”
Since the beginning of the dispute, Barry has installed a sound booth into the shed, to ensure that no noise is emitted from the shed and that the neighbours are not being disturbed.
But Radulescu said the Bells remain concerned, suggesting Barry simply find somewhere else to record his music.
“The Bells don’t want to stop Mr. Barry from making music – that’s not their goal here. But the concerns that they do have raise the issue that this outbuilding, which is just feet from their home is not the proper place for this music to be recorded.”
For his part, Barry argued the soundproofing improvements all but eliminate noise coming from the space. When he measured how much sound was being emitted from the studio since the installation of the sound booth, the decibels were equal to those of a refrigerator, or ballpoint pen writing on paper.
He was supported by a number of neighbours, who noted they had never heard any such music coming from the Barry property, that they are wholeheartedly in support of what the Barrys do in their home and that St. Clements should be proud to have so much success in the arts. Some of the speakers dismissed the Bells’ complaints as simply being unfriendly.
While no decision was made, the township asked Barry to continue following up with the required reports, including a noise study and an analysis of the electrical load on the property. Wellesley is to carry out an assessment of the parking situation. Staff will then look at all the studies and public comments before coming back to council with a recommendation at a later date.