Neighbor's complaint about noise from peacocks dismissed

July 23, 1996|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

In the first test of a 2-year-old right-to-farm ordinance, the Carroll County Agricultural Reconciliation Committee ruled last week that a Gamber farmer is practicing acceptable methods in raising peafowl, despite a neighbor's complaints of disruptive noise.

Bill Powell, secretary to the Carroll County Agricultural Commission, said his office has received few complaints since the ordinance was enacted in 1994. Most have centered on odors, sludge use and flies. All were resolved before the committee intervened.

But William Hahn found no resolution to his complaints about bird noise. The shrill squawks of peacocks, male peafowl, rob him of sleep and peace of mind, he said.

Hahn complained to the Carroll County Humane Society, the state police and county officials before taking his plea to the reconciliation committee, and he might appeal the decision to Circuit Court.

The birds may be noisy, but they are a legitimate farm operation, the committee said.

Farmers are turning a small profit with the birds, which long have been prized for their colorful plumes and are now a delicacy at trendy restaurants.

Greg Frick, who has been raising the birds for six years, says it is the nature -- not the level -- of the noise that is disturbing his neighbor, who lives a quarter-mile away on Sykesville Road, Route 32.

"I am only about 80 feet away from them, and I hear them much louder than he does, but they don't bother me," Frick said. "They are not nearly as loud as the traffic from the highway."

Frick bought his first peafowl in 1990 and is raising 15 on his 46-acre farm.

Hahn complains that the fowl deliver frequent high-pitched shrieks at all hours of the day and night, particularly during the spring mating season.

The committee has not reconciled the dispute, said Hahn, who has until Aug. 15 to appeal.

"I am not stopping my complaint," he said. "This is only the beginning."

Pub Date: 7/23/96

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