Quality of Life in San Jose>Question Details

Jackstrong, Home Seller in San Jose, CA

My home borders on an elementary school (kindergarten to 6th grade) playing field. Somehow, a Cricket league plays there 7:30AM to 7:30 PM on Sat. and

Asked by Jackstrong, San Jose, CA Tue Jun 1, 2010

Sunday, with boys up to age 17. Now, they want to have a senior ladies Cricket league (ages up to 40) play there also. This is a great nuisance. How can I get them to stop this horrific noise all day Saturday and Sunday which is annoying and has a deleterious effect on the housing price?

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As a neighbor of a school in Campbell I heartily commiserate with you. The noise coming from the school grounds, morning, noon and night from games and groups that rent the field is unbearable. I disagree with the other writers on ballparks and property value for the reason one is obligated by law to disclose noise when selling one's house. Sports whistles, loud speakers, screams from a large crowd is well in excess of 65dB which the law says is the legal noise limit. I'd say when the game gets going it's easily 90dB. There are also Noise statutes in San Jose Codes that specifically define "neighborhood nuisance noise" of which screams and shouts from sports events is included. Another downside to being a neighbor of school with sports is parking. Cars fill our streets even though there is signage saying "residential parking only." The sign's a joke. Who is monitoring this for compliance? Not only do people ignore signs and park in front of our homes but they have no problem cleaning tossing out garbage on their way to and from their vehicles. And, speaking of trash, the fields are filled with trash, plastic bottles, cans, papers plastic. Another eye sore, another devaluation of property. By law school districts are supposed to avail "open space" (aka the field) to the general public - but the gates are locked when not in use from outside agencies renting the field. No, sorry, you can't walk Fido there. Ballpark noise is detrimental to your enjoyment of your home, quality of life and property value when one discloses it sounds like Shea Stadium under your bedroom window. If you, as realtors think that's a plus, give me your card when I go to sell it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 26, 2012
Hello Jack and thanks for your email.

First, let me say that I have run into this problem before. As a property manager representing, sometimes, hundreds of homes in a vicinity bordering a school, use of the school grounds and fields can be problematic. Here is the correct manner in which to address the issue.

The use of the school and their adjoining fields, facilities and grounds falls under the purview of the school district, not the city and not the local government. The School's Board determines how and when the grounds will be used, and who will have access to those fields. While informal games and activities may be conducted at the school, a regimented, every week program must be approved by the school prior to use of the grounds. Violation of the rules will result in termination of the group's use of the field and facilities.

Most of the time, noise ordinances within San Jose do not apply for recreation activities unless those same activities use "bullhorns" or an amplified sound system on the property. If this happens, then the use of the horn, the noise level or sound levels, and the hours of use are restricted--check the school district to determine the exact rules for use.

If you wish to learn more about the use of the fields (who is using the field, how many people will be allowed, how the rules are generated regarding use) or to protest the field usage, contact the School District immediately. Keep in mind that most school districts must receive more than just one complaint in order to initiate any action or review of a situation, so you will need to talk to and obtain the support of your neighbors bordering the school to truly get the School Board's attention.

Good luck!!

Grace Morioka, SRES, CID Manager/Expert
Area Pro Realty
San Jose, CA
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 2, 2010
I agree with Carl. The league in your neighborhood is an indicator of a higher valued community rather than a lower one.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 2, 2010
Hi Jackstrong:

I'd start with the Town Hall. I'm on Long Island and there are definite ordinances concerning noisy activities and how early they can begin and when they need to end in the evening. Since you say the league plays on elementary school grounds, chances are the Town rents out the grounds to the league or at least has knowledge about it. The "lease" may have one time, but the league may start earlier than actually allowable. 7:30 sounds a bit early. You may not have to enlist the help of neighbors and a petition, etc. In my area, the Department I'd speak with would be "Public Safety" If they can't give you the info, they can most likely direct you to someone who can. Good luck to you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 2, 2010

You may think your proximity to the playing field is having a negative effect on the value of your home, but that may not be the case. I sold 2 homes last year that are in similar situations. One had a park adjacent to the back yard and the other had a playing field adjacent to the backyard. In both cases, that was a major selling point! That said, I believe the 7:30 AM start time for events is too early. Contact your city hall to determine what needs to be done to change the start time; and, then, band together with your neighbors to make that change.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 2, 2010
There are some presumptions here:

(1) Cricket games cause house prices to fall (or little league, soccer, Pop Warner football, etc.)
(2) Noisy parks/playgrounds/school fields are seen as a detriment to home sales.

I’d completely disagree. Truth is, many families WANT to live in residential neighborhoods with playgrounds and community activities on those fields. Weekends are for playing, having fun and getting outside – since the advent of computerized games, many kids spend their entire days inside working their thumbs. What a great thing that kids are outside being kids! And teens are involved in group activities instead of doing more harmful things. And up and outside instead of laying in bed until noon.

As for adults and the lady’s league – exercise is a great thing! More adults need it. Ironically … it’s what the park was made for, not just a place for grass to grow and people to fondly gaze and say, “That looks nice …”

If you have problem with the early start, as has been suggested, check with your local officials for noise ordinances and then file a complaint, if you feel it is really necessary. Otherwise, be glad you are in a neighborhood where the fields are being used as they were intended, instead of being a hangout for drug deals, teen beer fests and other deleterious types of behaviors.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 2, 2010
On a separate note. The general public would bode well by attending city council meetings. Often times the agenda will cover such items as desire to create a public use game facility, such as cricket, soccer, baseball, etc. Become an advocate for, instead of "a-not in my backyard" - become a part of the solution. If this is a problem, get to know the organizers of the events and see how you and your neighbors may assist them in locating or creating a public facility. It could be a win-win for all.

Just a thought.
Web Reference: http://www.terrivellios.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 2, 2010
Hi Jackstrong, if you live in San Jose, there are City Noise Ordinances. Doesn't seem like the hours you describe would be considered outside of those ordinances but it wouldn't hurt for you to call the city to find out or at least lodge a complaint. You may also want to "pool" your neighbors opinions to see if they are bothered, they might want to call as well. Here's the City of San Jose Contact page:
Also, here is the City of San Jose Noise (code) chapter that might be helpful:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 2, 2010

Your question appears to be a legal one so this is probably not the forum you want. As an attorney, I am not sure that a nuisance exists. However, 7:30am is early and there may be noise ordinances that are being broken that could give you some ability to stop the early morning stuff. Are all the neighbors complaining? How long have you lived in this home? Was the school field there when you purchased the home? How long has the activities been going on? If you strongly feel this is a nuisance and affecting your home prices, you should consult an attorney. You can get a lawyer referral at the Santa Clara County Bar Association website.

Good luck,
Cappy D. Myers
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 2, 2010
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