Crossroads Church cited for excessive noise

Posted at 11:40 AM, Dec 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-17 20:30:50-05

MASON, Ohio -- The largely popular Crossroads Church in Mason was cited for excessive noise after repeated complaints from neighbors, according to Mason police.

Andrea Liviskie lives behind the church and said her whole house shakes when the band plays.

"It’s like one of those cars going by with the bass that never leaves," Liviskie said. "You feel it and you can’t drown it out with anything."

Liviskie said she's talked to police, the church and even spoke at a City Council meeting, but still feels like nothing has changed.

"They're basically big bullies and there's nothing that the little people can do," she said.

In September, when the church was cited by Mason police, officer Toni Hoelke said she was able to hear the music from a neighbor's kitchen. Another neighbor's mobile home was vibrating from the noise, Hoelke's incident report said.

When police confronted the band practicing in the church -- a group of seven people, the report states -- they were "unwilling to turn down the volume."

The band members said they always practice at that noise level and they were "aware of how far the sound travels." No church service was going on at the time, a Thursday at around 8 p.m.

Officer Joshua Wells of Mason police said he spoke to the band's sound engineer Mark Lukey that evening, who said he was told by his boss not to turn down the music.

"Mark stated if we needed to issue a citation we could, but he was going to leave the music at the level it currently was," Wells wrote in the incident report.

Lukey, 30, was cited for excessive noise following the altercation. The citation was later dismissed, according to Mason Municipal Court.

Mark Stecher, pastor at Crossroads' Mason campus said the church is "trying their best" to keep the music volume at a minimum.

"We've studied the ordinances and hired outside sound consultants to evaluate where we are in terms of decibles and so on," Stecher said. "Music is a core part of our ethic in terms of what we do. We reach people through music and it's really important to us."

Mason's City Code restricts noise that "disturbs the peace, quiet, comfort or repose of any neighboring inhabitants...between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m." but "excessive or offensive noise which annoys, disturbs, injures or endanger" is prohibited at all hours.

Mason City Manager Eric Hansen said Crossroads has been "very cooperative" and they're complying with the city ordinances.

Crossroads Church -- which has five locations around Cincinnati -- was named the fastest growing church of 2015 by Outreach Magazine.