Noisy fans frustrate golf course neighbors

Posted at 4:48 PM, Jan 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-18 19:18:43-05

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. -- Those on the golf course strive for quiet ahead of an attempt for the perfect putt. It turns out, people living nearby want quiet too. 
A Mission Hills golf course is being brought to court this summer after neighbors said it’s too loud on the green, according to a lawsuit filed in Johnson County District Court. 
Gary Mathews, who filed the lawsuit, says he’s lived at a home overlooking the 12th green at the Kansas City Country Club (KCCC) for roughly 27 years. For most of that time, it’s been quiet living on the cul-de-sac. 
That is until KCCC started using a large-gasoline powered fan on the 12th green. According to the lawsuit, the fan is so loud it’s causing a nuisance to neighbors. 
According to the U.S. Golf Association, the large fans are used to help maintain putting surfaces during hot, humid weather. 
In the lawsuit, however, Mathews says the fans are unnecessary. 
Court documents say the noise levels of the fan were tested by an acoustics expert hired on behalf of neighboring homeowners. Those tests showed the layout of the 12th green acted like an amphitheater. 
When the fans were turned off, ambient noise on that green tested at about 40 decibels – comparable to what you would hear in a library
When the fans were turned on, the noise level sprang to 70 decibels. According to the acoustics expert, that’s about double the sound to a human ear. It would be like standing 50 feet away from a freeway during morning traffic. 
An acoustics expert supplied by Mission Hills also tested the noise levels at the 12th green but did not testify. 
At KCCC, the fans are operated from the first week of June through Labor Day and on days when temperatures are expected to go over 85 degrees or there is an excessive amount of moisture. 
According to KCCC’s filing, the fans are only used from sunup to sunset in accordance with Mission Hills’ noise ordinance. 
Court documents say KCCC attempted to put in a quieter electric fan in November, but Mathews and other neighbors fought KCCC’s pursuit of permits at the city’s Architectural Review Board. 
Neighbors testified at the meeting, saying they were concerned for their property values. Others said they couldn't spend time outside or with their windows open without being disturbed by the sound of the fan. One woman described the noise as having a diesel truck in her driveway. 
KCCC ultimately withdrew its request to build in the permanent fan. 
The trial is set for June 18.