GREENE COLUMN: Skinful neighbors get earful
It might seem a tad early, but residents within a stone’s throw of the Skinful Halloween party on James Island are already thinking about next year’s event.
No, it’s not that they can’t wait to go to a party.
They want the party to go elsewhere.
Sixty-eight-year-old Olive Cromwell lives on Ismeal Road; that’s right behind Folly and Grimball roads where the party was held for the past three years.
No more. Cromwell wants it gone.
“The music was so loud, my bedroom windows were shaking. I was very emotional,” said the retired MUSC oncology nurse, who wears a pacemaker.
“My nerves can’t take it. I pay taxes; when I go to bed, I want to go to sleep.”
She and her daughter, Virgetta Cromwell, soon will head to the county Planning Department, which issued the last two permits.
Music still a problem
Event co-organizer Dave Brisacher was surprised to hear that residents had concerns this year. “We never got a single complaint.”
He and his partner put up sound walls and reoriented the music stages away from residences.
They placed 300 to 400 fliers in mailboxes, asking residents to call if they had a problem. They offered free invitations; many came, he said.
Virgetta Cromwell said organizers did try to reduce the sound, but residents say it was still too loud.
Especially since bands played on six stages simultaneously.
“I am young, too, and I don’t mind them having their function, but I had to work the next day,” said Cromwell, 37, who lives on the next street over from her mother.
Her second-floor windows were thumping all night last year. This year, she slept at her sister’s house in another neighborhood on the island. She had to be at work at 7 a.m.
Cromwell, a nurse also, said the unincorporated area is predominantly black and has a lot of sick, elderly residents. “They won’t do this in another neighborhood.”
She said it’s time to take action and fight the 2013 permit.
Time for a change
Joel Evans of the Planning Department said he will be glad to meet with residents and review the policy for outdoor functions.
He said several residents called prior to this year’s party, but it was too late. The permit had been issued.
Cromwell said organizers need to find a better location. “I don’t think the area is safe,” she said. “Folly Road is not a safe place.”
Charleston County sheriff’s spokesman Jim Brady said deputies kept close tabs on the party following last year’s traffic death.
They also received noise complaints but could do little more than ask organizers to lower the music.
Brisacher said they have not decided yet where next year’s party will be.
It’s not too early to give it thought.
Organizers may continue to tweak things to make the location work, but it won’t. Loud music and restful sleep do not co-exist.
The party is a fun annual event, but it’s time to find another site.
Reach Assistant Features Editor Shirley A. Greene at 937-5555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.