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Neighbors call deputies to report loud music at church in Venice

Deputies identified noise ordinance violations
Posted: 10:50 PM, May 16, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-17 03:23:06Z
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VENICE, Fla. -- The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office conducted an ongoing investigation into a local church playing loud music.

Neighbors living in Venice complained to deputies about loud music and a live band during church service or outdoor events.

"It's unfortunate, but it is right in front of my house," said Callie Desormier.

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According to a sheriff's office report, deputies received a complaint in 2016 about excessive loud music coming from Coastlife Church on Seaboard Avenue in Venice. Deputies identified numerous documented violations of the county noise ordinance.

Deputies investigated for nearly two years.

"We're not fighting the principals of the church or their beliefs, we're fighting a commercial business per se," said neighbor Debbie Maddox.

According to a sheriff's office report, "The readings obtained on May 19 (2018) determined the sound levels to be 73.2 dBC, which is 3.2 decibels higher than the 70 permitted in the ordinance."

Callie Desormier said the music rattles her windows and she can hear the bass.

"Our house thumps. It thumps like you’re at a traffic light or a car passes and it sits with you and it has base in it. Our house thumps from the base," she said.

Records show the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office sent the case to the State Attorney's Office. In 2018, the State Attorney's Office decided "no action will be taken on the charges."

Prosecutors cannot prove the charges in these criminal cases beyond a reasonable doubt, according to state records.

Prosecutors also stated they believe the church is likely exempt from the county ordinance. One exemption of the ordinance is for "noncommercial public gatherings" like parades, festivals, sporting events and school functions.

"If you're not doing the right thing, it shouldn't matter who you are. I think they’re letting them slide because they’re a church. It's not right to the neighbors," said Vicki Mahon, a neighbor.

Pastor Jason Warman with Coastlife Church sent ABC Action News the following statement:

"We are aware of the situation and are saddened that there is an issue between us and our neighbor. We love our city and our neighborhood and exist to serve and improve the community that we love. Our church services have seen hundreds of lives experience change and receive hope. We provide food and activities in our monthly block parties to express our love for people. We do our best to try to help meet the needs of teachers and students in our local schools. In addition to our local efforts we also provide global assistance through our strategic partnerships that help feed and cloth children in impoverished communities. Our heart is to be known for the good that we do. When we became aware of a noise concern, our first response was to downsize our speakers in order to help remedy the situation. When that first step didn’t resolve it, we also took multiple other steps such as adding sound panels, and on several different occasions adding various types of insulation to help improve the situation. Our goal has always been to be in compliance with the ordinances of our county and be good neighbors to our community. According to our knowledge we currently comply with all of the local requirements. We are still exploring ways to improve our presence in the neighborhood. At the end of the day our hope is to be good neighbors while also providing dynamic worship services that enable us to fulfill our mission of leading people to abundant life in Christ."