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Zombie Rises Up Against Noise At Woodbury Skate Park

Woodbury’s first selectman says no special treatment has been given after Sheri Moon Zombie made a complaint, but some parents are upset that skating park hours have been reduced.

Woodbury's skate park is the subject of a noise complaint by at least one resident: Sheri Moon Zombie. Credit, Moon photo: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage.com Credit, skate park photo: Gerald Stomski
Woodbury's skate park is the subject of a noise complaint by at least one resident: Sheri Moon Zombie. Credit, Moon photo: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage.com Credit, skate park photo: Gerald Stomski

Noise at Woodbury’s skate park is beginning to cause quite a commotion in town.

A resident who thinks Woodbury’s skate park in Hollow Park is too loud has taken her complaint to the Town of Woodbury — and her voice is not falling on deaf ears.  

First Selectman Gerald 'Jerry' Stomski declined to reveal the identify of the resident who has filed a complaint with the town, and he denied Patch’s request to obtain a copy of that complaint, which he said was sent to him via email.

“We may have a pending litigation, so I’d have to say ‘no’ at this point,” Stomski said.

The subject of noise at the skate park was brought up at the annual town budget meeting in June, by Sheri Moon Zombie — wife of famous rocker and Woodbury resident Rob Zombie.

"I was wondering if we could designate some of the reserve to move the skateboard park that was put adjacent to my property which is proved to be a significant noise pollutant and has reduced the quality of life for me and my two other neighbors that it affects," Moon Zombie said, according to meeting minutes posted on the town’s website.

The Zombies have lived on Sycamore Avenue since 2009, according to Wikipedia — they moved in four years prior to the opening of the skate park at Hollow Park in March of 2013.

Complaint Leads To Action

In light of the complaint made about the skate park, Stomski said the town has taken steps to buffer the noise there.

"We enclosed the ramps so it would minimize noise coming out from underneath them," he said.

The town is looking into putting up fabric to further muffle noise. So far, Stomski said, the town has spent a couple thousand dollars on ways to muffle noise. The money came out of a site improvement line item from the Parks and Recreation budget, he noted.

Questions Raised As Skating Time Cut Back

Hours of operation at the park were recently reduced, too. It is now open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed on Sundays — cut back from the seven days a week, till one hour after sunset, that it used to be.

That’s why the issue is popping up in conversations in town now, Stomski said. People were coming to the skate park after dinner and finding that the park was closed.

“So the queries came from some concerned parents that want to know why it’s not open,” he said.

Some parents want to know why neighbors are able to dictate the skate park hours, Stomski said. He said that’s not quite the case and while he wouldn’t confirm who made the official complaint, he said it is part of the public record that Moon Zombie aired her concerns at the town meeting.

The Zombies’ celebrity status doesn’t factor into the town’s response at all, Stomski said.

“It makes no difference who the person is who complains,” he said. “We would give them the same courtesy.”

"There's Something That Has Got To Be Done"

At the town meeting back in June, Moon Zombie acknowledged that the town had taken some steps to address the noise at the park, but she says they are inadequate.

"I know they're trying to improve the obnoxious noise with the wood on the side of the ramps, and that did nothing," she said in the minutes. "I know they have ordered sound fabric. I think this is just a Band-Aid. The skateboard park should not have been put there."

Stomski said the town consulted engineers and it was determined that Upper Hollow Park was the best location for the skate park due to wetlands and other property conditions.

"It really should be moved to the furthest end of Hollow Park," Moon Zombie said at the meeting.

That matter was referred to Parks and Rec and the first selectman's office, Board of Finance Chairman Bill Butterly stated at the town meeting. Moon Zombie said the first selectman was already aware of the situation.

"I am trying to go through the proper channels to get this resolved and I'm sorry to bring this up as I know most of you aren't affected by it," she said. "There are only three or four homes affected by it, but now that summer’s here and the windows are open, I hear it inside my house, which is [the] furthest point away from the park and there's something that has got to be done."

Stomski said the town has been responsive to the concerns.

"We're trying to take whatever steps we can," he said. "We're trying to be good neighbors."

He hopes people are good neighbors to the town, as well.

“You need to understand that is a park,” Stomski said, “with multiple types of recreation.”
Jaimie Cura (Editor) August 01, 2013 at 09:51 PM
Received some info from First Selectman Stomski via email. He is directing us to the May 8, 2012, Zoning Commission meeting minutes, which can be found here: http://woodburyct.org/meetings/zoning/Zoning%20Comm%20Minutes%205-8-12.pdf
Jaimie Cura (Editor) August 01, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Stomski also noted in the email: "It would have been the Zoning Commission's responsibility to cause a public hearing and to determine use consistent with park use. Recreation is not a change of use. To quote Chairman Overton. " A park is a park, is a park". The skate park conforms with the Zoning Regulations. A park is for recreation. A skate park is recreation. Help your readers be informed. Misinformation can run rampant if left unchecked."
dave August 01, 2013 at 10:20 PM
Don, I have not deleted any if my posts.
dave August 01, 2013 at 10:24 PM
And Don, the fundraising idea was yours. Remember, it's for the kids!
Woodbury Connecticut August 01, 2013 at 10:28 PM
Thank you Jamie for posing the questions. My understanding of "change of use" is that it applies to any new construction, or modification of an existing site which is not included on the original plans submitted for approval. Since the skate board court was not included on the original plans which were approved when Hollow Park came in to being, it is a "modification" of those plans, and thus a "change of use". I don't believe that this is misinformation. It is simply a different interpretation of the law, one which is frequently applied in other Connecticut jurisdictions.
Heather M Fischer August 01, 2013 at 10:38 PM
get wooden ramps and the sound would be muffled and for crying out loud your rich enough Zombie, perhaps put up a sound proof outdoor wall, they cheap enough to build and look nice too
Woodbury Connecticut August 01, 2013 at 11:00 PM
P.S. to Jamie: I couldn't find the name of the engineer, or engineering firm which the town consulted on this matter when I went to the link. Could you point me in the right direction, please? I personally think it's a great idea for the kids to have a skate park in town. I believe it's possible for this town, or any town, to create recreational opportunities while still respecting the concerns of the citiens who will be directly impacted by these facilities. Thank you.
Sean August 01, 2013 at 11:23 PM
I was on the zoning commission when this came in front of it. I do not remember if I was seated on the vote. Jerry's response is correct. @ Don Sherman, I deleted comments because what I said was not correct. What I have left on the post is correct. This did not qualify as a change of use. It really did not even need to be brought in front of zoning. I believe Jerry did so out of courtesy. This is the same use, so the Land Use Office can just issue a permit and that is the end of it. Hollow Park is zoned as a park. Adding a skate park is not a change of use. Overton was right in his comments that a park is a park. A change of use would be to take a property zoned as a park and want to put in a sit down restaurant. @Heather, this has nothing to do with someone's perceived wealth. I find your comments about that offensive. He has the same rights anyone else does. He has the right to take issue with the noise. People have a right to take issue with anything they want. It does not mean they will get the outcome they request. The town made some reasonable adjustments. People can still use the park during the day 6 days a week. Someone moving next or very close to a park has the expectation that noise will come from it.
Voice of Reason August 02, 2013 at 07:20 AM
Being that Mr Zombie is well acquainted with skateboarding I'd assume the noise level issue would have been a consideration of theirs at the planning stage of this project. Looking at an aerial view of the two properties one sees that the skate park is located well away from the main living area, down beyond the tennis court and behind the adjacent guest house. The Town is being responsive to the complaint and has even offered to do more. Mrs Zombie still wants the skate park moved stating the suggestions aren't adequate even before they have been done. I have a nagging feeling that there is something more to this.
Sean August 02, 2013 at 09:06 AM
He can ask for anything he wants to. That does not mean that the town has to accommodate. If someone asked the park to be moved, that would be no different than negotiations that go on in business or court all the time. Ask for the most and settle in the middle. If this were John Smith, this story would not be a story. It is no different than certain members of the community demanding political signs be taken down because they do not like them.
Jaimie Cura (Editor) August 02, 2013 at 09:21 AM
Rob Zombie responds: http://woodbury-middlebury.patch.com/groups/around-town/p/rob-zombie-responds-to-skate-park
Betsy August 02, 2013 at 09:03 PM
There were hearings prior to the construction of the park. The park did not just magically appear. All Woodbury residents should be reading special notices about hearings and taking the time to vote at referendums. As the mom of a now adult skateboarder, I know how noisy the sport can be. We constructed a mini-park for our son and his friends because there was no safe place to ride. My neighbor never complained, her son was playing non stop basketball, also loud. Another neighbor had cows and a rooster. Where would the Zombie's be if his childhood neighbors complained about his loud music making?
Voice of Reason August 02, 2013 at 10:00 PM
@ Betsy. Don't know where they'd be but heaven forbid the world should have gone on without benefit of his prose; such as "1,2,3 who should I kill?...Every mother(censor)er running up the hill...1,2,3 what should I do?...Get (censor)ed up and (censor) up you".
Sylvain Stricanne August 03, 2013 at 03:40 AM
Rob Zombie should donate to a concrete park. The noise product in prefab parks is around 90db like an lawnmower. I can understand they gonna crazy. Noise in a concrete park is less than 60dB, a simple human talking or a far dishwasher.
Mark Smith August 03, 2013 at 06:41 PM
IF you move next to a park, you will hear kids playing, if you want dead silence; move next to a cemetery
John D. Lewis August 05, 2013 at 10:09 AM
Yes they bought a house next to a park and the town never heard any complaints from anyone about the soccer games that are played all day at all hours. The real issue is that the skate park is already deteriorating within its first year of use. The sealant on the surface was turning into powder and the stone chips were getting on the surface and acted as an abrasive. The park is too small and the suggestions that were made by many of the youths who raised money for this park went ignored in the building process. One youth told me that everything that he told Jennifer that she shouldn't do, she went ahead and did anyway. Again the skate park is far too small and it wasn't constructed all that well. Another waste of money, same as when we lost a $50K grant from US Tennis when we tried to put new tennis courts on a flood plain back in the Hinkley days of Parks and Recreation and the project was scraped as a result. Nonsense.
Craig Zac August 07, 2013 at 08:46 AM
Im a fan of Rob Zombie, both his music and films but .... I know how bad it can be having your peacfull day ruined by loud sounds you have no control over but I just cannot help thinking, Rob, you are loaded man... wouldn't it benefit everyone, especially you if instead of going through all this public BS just worked quietly with your town to do something, even if it meant you spending a little bit of your own money, to move the park or reduce the noise somehow? Im not saying that because your wealthy you need to pay up but Im just thinking that if I were in your shoes Id probably ask the town planners how much it would cost to have the skate park moved elsewhere or have a big sound barrier wall build around it. the cost of peace and quiet can be a big one but fortunately, you do have a little $$$. Don't take this the wrong way but you do have options, more options than most people would have here. Don't let your fame make you seem all douchy and self important when I know you aren't!
Craig Zac August 07, 2013 at 08:51 AM
..although it still makes me giggle that the Zombies are complaining about noise... youd think Robs hearing wouldn't be too good now anyhow after all his years of Kicking A&& on stages around the globe. This must be one seriously loud park.. whats the noise he is not liking? the sound of the skate boards? or are the kids blaring loud music? or is it yelling and just being rowdy and loud? he should blare some of his older music while the parks open and drown out the garbage kids today listen too... cause even I cant stand this new stuff on the radio today.
Sean August 07, 2013 at 10:05 AM
Craig, and what does his money have to do with anything? He has less rights than we do? Could you tell us where you think the skate park should be moved to? Anyone has a right to complain about anything. The Democrats in town complained about the loudness of the Overturn Overton sign, yet where are they defending Zombie? His money is not relevant here. He is a resident like anyone else. This bad press on him is unwarranted and out of line.
Craig Zac August 07, 2013 at 10:40 AM
Sean, His money actually means he has more options then the rest of you, not less rights. Im not saying he should do anything he doesn't want to do, I am saying is that he does have "Options" that alot of others don't and maybe instead of making this a huge debate, it would have been better to quietly work on this with the town. it costs a lot to do something about the noise and the town isn't gonna drop that kind of $$$ to do anything for one or two residents, the tax payers would go nuts. if this is only bothering him and his neighbor, cant they pool their resources and offer to cover some of the costs of fixing the problems? Why does everyone instantly that everyone else is responsible for making them happy and comfortable? When the state built the Merrit parkway, it cut right alongside my fathers property in Hamden, did he cry about the noise? yeah but did he try and make Hamden or the State of CT fix the problem? No, he went out, spent his own money and had big evergreen trees planted to block out the view and some of the noise. it seems these days every one wants to play the spoiled child and cry until they get their way, to me, I say, if you have the $$$ to fix it yourself, do so! . And yes the bad press is out of line, I agree that is why I said he could have quietly offered to help the town pay for fixing it. The way I see it is, if he wants the problem fixed, either he's going to have to pay or the rest of the town will and if he doesn't want to pay, the towns gonna vote him down and he will then have to live with the noise or move out of town. Either way, he looks bad in the press, get it? And no
Craig Zac August 07, 2013 at 10:42 AM
...and no, Im not saying that the rich don't have the right to complain, im just saying if it were me, id STFU and offer to pay for removing the park and putting it elsewhere or build a wall around my house!!
Sean August 07, 2013 at 01:11 PM
Craig, Rob did not make this a debate at all. His wife complained at a town meeting and from what I understand, he complained to Jerry Stomski. The press made a huge stink out of this and I believe solely because Rob is a celebrity. Even though the skate park was put into an existing park, the town had some obligation to work to minimize the noise. They did that. The town would not have a right to create a new park in a residential neighborhood and put in a skate park (or anything that makes that level of noise). No one has a right to disrupt use of another person's property. That is one of the useful reasons zoning exists. The key thing here is the park was in existence first. I am glad you see this for what it is.
Craig Zac August 07, 2013 at 01:29 PM
Well yeah, the press is gonna build it up to extra large proportions just to get readers / watchers / listeners. I wonder what the noise its self is? is it the actual skate boards on the ramps and stuff? or is it the kids or is someone blasting music? I cant figure out how loud it is if its not right there in his back yard. Cant Rob build some sort of noise barrier on his property to block the sound? I mean if it is truly that bad? it sucks that he has to be bothered by this but seriously, the town isn't going to shut the park down or pay to rebuild it or whatever, it would seem its now up to the Zombies to either leave, make some sort of noise barrier or stay and deal with it. Maybe Rob should be out at the park hanging out with these kids and getting some new fans, Save them from the rap and garbage music todays youths seem to like...lol,lol,lol...
Sean August 07, 2013 at 06:41 PM
It is not the kids blasting music. From what I understand it is their language. There is natural clanking that will happen at parks like this. The town took some measures to deaden the sound. Installing stuff that will do that. Honestly, 5pm is a reasonable closing time for the skate park. It is open 6 days a week. Plenty of time to do ones skating. Rob Zombie is an act, just like KISS and the many others over the years. My guess behind all the hair is just a normal person.
Voice of Reason August 07, 2013 at 08:44 PM
@ Sean. I don't know about his wife but the last thing Rob Zombie should take issue with is language. Have you heard/read his lyrics? Lol. As an aside. Do you know where Bill Butterly has gone? He hasn't answered our questions and I know that I, at least, have more.
Sean August 07, 2013 at 09:35 PM
Voice, I know Zombie's music well. I enjoy it. He still has a right to make issue with the skate park. As for Bill Butterly, he must have been busy getting signatures, which were due today at 4pm. It should not have been an issue for him with the 150 new Republicans who registered recently. I guess the Woodbury First gang are now Republicans. They figured out it would be easier to beat Jerry in a primary where there are less voters. I cannot find any substantive reasons to vote for him over Jerry. It seems like he made buddy buddy with the same people who had power under Crane and Hinckley.
Voice of Reason August 08, 2013 at 12:07 PM
@ Sean. It's never been my intention to infer they don't have a right to express concerns/complaints. However, if in this instance there is in an issue of certain language being used then I'm reminded of the old adage of living in a glass house as well as the commercial; "I learned it by watching you!". That being said I don't recall mention of language elsewhere. ?
Sean August 08, 2013 at 01:23 PM
Voice, I understood. Have you heard from Butterly yet? I have passed out holding my breath a few times.
Voice of Reason August 09, 2013 at 07:55 AM
@ Sean. Nothing from Mr. Butterly yet or as one of his friends called him; Bullyry Bill. Apparently he is not always the approachable guy he claims to be or so this has been the claim by several folks. I was shocked I tell ya, a politician acting in such a way. Shocked!!! LOL.
PennyRex August 14, 2013 at 02:11 PM
Can the city put up a block wall of maybe 6 or 8 ft high bordering the property lines of the park and these homes that are affected by this noise?

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