Music strikes sour notes: Residents ask town to weigh stricter rules

McCORDSVILLE — Loud music being played at a McCordsville business late into the night drove a crowd of residents to complain before the town council this week, asking local leaders to consider stricter rules to maintain peace and quiet.

About 15 McCordsville resident told the town council this week they’re concerned about the noise coming from Daniel’s Vineyard, a winery and event center on County Road 700W.

The vineyard often hosts events boasting live music from local bands, and residents said the homes in Geist Woods Estates, which sits adjacent to Daniel’s Vineyard, shake because of the sounds that boom over the shared property line.

After entertaining nearly 30 minutes of discussion of the matter, members of the town council this week asked Daniel’s Vineyard owners to meet with the subdivision’s homeowners association to try to settle the issue.

They also asked the McCordsville Police Department chief to monitor how often his officers are called with complaints about noise coming from the establishment.

Police can cite or fine those caught violating the town’s noise ordinance. But police Chief Harold Rodgers told the board McCordsville’s rules are difficult to enforce, particularly when it comes to the vineyard.

Seeking advice from the town’s leaders, Rodgers pointed out McCordsville’s ordinance allows for noise generated during a company’s “normal course of business,” and he questioned what the board would consider normal business for the vineyard.

Harvesting grapes to make wine comes with little disruptive sound, Rodgers said. The problems arose only after Daniel’s Vineyard got permission from town officials to turn what was originally a storage barn into an event center, and its owners started hosting regular outdoor concerts, he said.

Board members warned the vineyard if complaints from residents continue, they’ll have to reevaluate the decision to allow the company to become an event venue or make changes to the noise ordinance that might make it more difficult for the vineyard to play music outdoors.

Councilman Tom Strayer, who is the board’s representative to the town’s plan commission, said the owners had asked to transform a storage building on the property into a venue for weddings and other parties; but neither the town plan commission nor the town council considered outdoor concerts as part of that request, Strayer said.

“I don’t think that was the intention of the venue,” he said. “I don’t think we had any agreement or request for that type of thing at this venue.”

Daniel’s Vineyard first opened in 2010, planting grapes on a portion of its 40-acre property at 9061 N. County Road 700W in McCordsville. In 2016, the business announced plans to use a 9,600-square-foot building on the property as a banquet hall, production space and tasting room.

The vineyard officially opened to the public in the spring and now often advertises outdoor events, including two separate summer concerts series conducted between June and September.

It’s those outdoor concerts, which often run late into the evening, that cause the most disruption, residents said. They told the board concerts are happening almost every weekend, on Friday nights and sometimes all day on Saturdays and Sundays.

Jennifer Helly has lived in Geist Woods Estates for eight years, and her property bumps up to Daniel’s Vineyard, she told the town council this week.

Helly said she and her husband chose to build their home in McCordsville because it was a peaceful area. They even constructed a screened-in patio that would let them enjoy the outdoors more often.

Since the concerts started at Daniel’s Vineyard, they haven’t been able to sit outside the way they used to, Helly said. They can hear the thud of the bass from the nearby speakers whenever they are inside, even when all the doors and windows are closed, and the air conditioner is running, she said. And the loud music continues until after 9:30 p.m. when they are trying to settle in for the night, she said.

“It’s really disheartening. We moved there to enjoy the tranquility,” she said. “It’s not that I’m not supportive of the winery. The music is just too loud.”

Jessica Pontious, who works for Daniel’s Vineyard, told the town council the company had no idea it had created issues for its neighbors. It was never the staff’s intention to create a disturbance, and they always end their concerts before 10 p.m. in accordance with McCordsville’s ordinances, she said.

They are willing to work with the association of the nearby subdivision to come up with a solution, she said.

Town council members encouraged that dialogue but warned they would take action if the complaints continue.

Daniel’s Vineyard’s owners Daniel and Kimberly Cross were not at the meeting and could not be reached for comment.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.