Maxwell House residents start petition to silence Holy Trinity church bells

 

Some residents of Augusta’s Maxwell House apartment complex say they can’t endure the hourly ringing of bells from nearby Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.

A petition with about 75 signatures, most of them appearing to be Maxwell House residents, is circulating, demanding the church silence the bells for violating the city’s noise ordinance.

Robert Tyler lives at the apartment complex in the 1000 block of Greene Street while he receives treatment for a stroke at nearby Walton Rehabilitation Hospital. He signed the petition, despite saying he’s accustomed to loud noises as a former long-haul truck driver.

When the bells strike on the hour, “it scares me,” Tyler said.

“Buildings should respect buildings, just like trucks should respect trucks,” he said.

Robin Clarke has lived in Max­well House, which serves low-income adults, for about four years. Grilling steaks behind the complex Thursday, Clarke said she hadn’t signed the petition but wished she could.

“When that bell rings, it rings in my bedroom like it was on the dresser,” Clarke said. “If somebody could just turn it down a few notches.”

Clarke said the sound is probably worse for residents such as her who live on sides of the T-shaped high-rise facing the church.

“All the noise is echoing off of it,” she said.

Richmond County sheriff’s Maj. James Griffin, who investigates noise complaints, said he was unaware of any complaint against Holy Trinity. The city has a noise ordinance, but Griffin said he’s never been asked to apply it to church bells.

Calls requesting comment to the church’s priest, the Rev. Vasile Bitere, were not returned Thursday. A church member who would not give his name said the bells have been ringing for a century and aren’t breaking the law.

Irene Whitehead, who has lived at the complex for three years, said she doesn’t mind the bells.

“It’s kind of spiritual,” she said..

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