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Shawn_PVD

How is the Grace Church bell tower on Westminster St legal?

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I can't believe that church is allowed to create THAT much noise THAT many times a day.

We're past the 17th century where the nearest farm was 4 miles away. There are condos, classrooms, offices and a hotel within a block in all directions. Those bells are LOUD.

Even worse are the 10 minute blocks of hymns at 9AM, 12PM and 5PM...

If I were playing my stereo that loud every 15 minutes, I'd have a police visit.

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The number and length of bell ringings have been greatly reduced since Hotel Providence opened. One of their luxury suites is right across from it, and I've been in there when the bell tolled, very loud to say the least.

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The number and length of bell ringings have been greatly reduced since Hotel Providence opened. One of their luxury suites is right across from it, and I've been in there when the bell tolled, very loud to say the least.

Is that true? What was reduced? Not the songs that play at 9, 12, and 5. It still rings every 15 minutes until at least 7PM. I've been working next door to the church for over 2 years. Nothing has changed from 8AM to 5PM that I can tell.

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One of their luxury suites is right across from it, and I've been in there when the bell tolled, very loud to say the least.

With your lover, RIGHT!!! :ph34r:

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Hi everyone. This is my first post. I work downtown and happen to love the Grace Church bells. They are real bells, not like the recorded garbage in the Johnson and Wales clock tower. The church obviously pays a lot of attention to maintaining the clock and bells. It's always on time. And the bells are beautiful- with a classic pattern that changes every 15 minutes, and a long somber chime series to mark the hour. There's even a way to play melodies on the bells with a lever-keyboard contraption. At least once a month there are hymns playing in the carillon, and I bet there's someone actually playing it. This is unique in the city. It's an incredible historic and cultural resource. Open up your ears and you'll learn to appreciate it. Of course, at night the bells should be silent, but they're a great thing to hear during the day. Please don't let the bells fall victim to downtown gentrification (it would be almost too ironic- imagine the priest appearing before the city council or licensing board opposite a bunch of angry yuppies complaining about the disruption of their peace and quiet).

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Hi everyone. This is my first post. I work downtown and happen to love the Grace Church bells. They are real bells, not like the recorded garbage in the Johnson and Wales clock tower. The church obviously pays a lot of attention to maintaining the clock and bells. It's always on time. And the bells are beautiful- with a classic pattern that changes every 15 minutes, and a long somber chime series to mark the hour. There's even a way to play melodies on the bells with a lever-keyboard contraption. At least once a month there are hymns playing in the carillon, and I bet there's someone actually playing it. This is unique in the city. It's an incredible historic and cultural resource. Open up your ears and you'll learn to appreciate it. Of course, at night the bells should be silent, but they're a great thing to hear during the day. Please don't let the bells fall victim to downtown gentrification (it would be almost too ironic- imagine the priest appearing before the city council or licensing board opposite a bunch of angry yuppies complaining about the disruption of their peace and quiet).

I doubt you actually have to deal with those bells like the previous poster did. I went to college, or as I jokingly called it calladge since the classes and many of the students were so stupid, across the street from that stupid thing. It was espescially bad when it played the melodies. It was very loud in every classroom directly facing it. When I walked outside it would play so loud it would hurt my ears. Some of us would (jokingly) say someone needs to just blow up the damn church. That thing is obnoxious.

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i agree... there's somethign to be said about church bells... especially when they're real and when there's actually a carillon. i do agree that the bells shoudln't be too loud, but they shouldn't be silenced completely. and they shouldn't ring after say 9:00pm.

i happen to love the carillon. there's one at yale that the students play... you'll hear a lot of popular music played on it. it's pretty cool actually.

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I too love real church bells like those of Grace Church. Every morning at 7 from my house off Summit Ave. I can hear the bells of St. Anne's on Charles and Branch. If I'm still in bed and I hear them I know it's time to get up.

I also love the whistles of trains (which I hear a lot) and the horns of ships (which I hear every so often).

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I too love real church bells like those of Grace Church. Every morning at 7 from my house off Summit Ave. I can hear the bells of St. Anne's on Charles and Branch. If I'm still in bed and I hear them I know it's time to get up.

I also love the whistles of trains (which I hear a lot) and the horns of ships (which I hear every so often).

If you can hear them on Branch, imagine how they sound in an office, hotel bed or classroom within 50 feet of the damn things. They're a menace. This isn't 1650; we don't need to be alerted of the next witch burning. The nearest farm isn't 4 miles away. I doubt Reverend Robert T. Brooks would appreciate me blaring some music during his sermon...

I hope some of that misguided energy the new downtown tenant reprentation are using to fight nightclubs is directed toward moving that damn bell tower out of downtown, or into the river.

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If you can hear them on Branch, imagine how they sound in an office, hotel bed or classroom within 50 feet of the damn things. They're a menace. This isn't 1650; we don't need to be alerted of the next witch burning. The nearest farm isn't 4 miles away. I doubt Reverend Robert T. Brooks would appreciate me blaring some music during his sermon...

I hope some of that misguided energy the new downtown tenant reprentation are using to fight nightclubs is directed toward moving that damn bell tower out of downtown, or into the river.

if you read his post, he actually said he heard a different church...

there's no reason to move the bell tower, just muffle the bells a bit and restrict usage to only once an hour or only at certain times of the day.

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I have to agree with Bob Azar -- and I have to say -- didn't you know that there was a really, really loud bell tower there before you moved in? I mean, it's not like Grace Church just started ringing these bells: they've been a part of Providence since 1861. [Read about their history at www.gracechurchprovidence.org/bells.htm] The bells and the church are a part of what makes downtown Providence a great place to live. Plus, you only have to deal with them at certain preordained times. It's not like my neighborhood, where you have people honking their horns for a half-hour, blasting their car radios loud enough to shake my windows, or screaming at each other for hours on end. If you want to switch with me, let me know. I'd gladly take bells ringing a few times a day over what I deal with now.

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I have to agree with Bob Azar -- and I have to say -- didn't you know that there was a really, really loud bell tower there before you moved in? I mean, it's not like Grace Church just started ringing these bells: they've been a part of Providence since 1861. [Read about their history at www.gracechurchprovidence.org/bells.htm] The bells and the church are a part of what makes downtown Providence a great place to live. Plus, you only have to deal with them at certain preordained times. It's not like my neighborhood, where you have people honking their horns for a half-hour, blasting their car radios loud enough to shake my windows, or screaming at each other for hours on end. If you want to switch with me, let me know. I'd gladly take bells ringing a few times a day over what I deal with now.

Actually, they don't always play those godawful melodies. They really pick up the frequency around Christmas (probably Easter too my memory isn't the best) and it's often extraodinarily loud. These melodies last for several ear piercing minutes. And no, I was not aware of the fact that the church that I would have to walk by several times a day would do this before I decided to go to school there. I also was unaware of that dancing cop that comes around during the holidays and when I did see him I scratched my head and then laughed my ass off. I guess not knowing about these local quirks before deciding to go to school downtown makes me a moron.

By the way, downtown also had people honking horns for hours non stop at night, espescially thurs-sat night. I expected to have to deal with that, and to be honest is wasn't as loud and obnoxious as that stupid bell but I'd guess that it's a lot worse than what you complain about. The fact that people are here arguing about the damn thing isn't because we're petty, it's because this bell really should be illegal at the noise levels they often play at.

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I understand your frustration -- I often get the same way about the noise in my neighborhood. Whether or not it is as bad as downtown or not is a matter of debate, but let's not get into a pissing contest about that.

That said, I decided to check out the code of ordinances regarding noise violations, and there is no exemption for church bells, so you could file an official complaint if you wanted to. The code reads, in part:

Unnecessary, excessive, or offensive noise: Any sound or noise conflicting with the criteria, standards, or levels set forth in this article for permissible noises. In the absence of specific maximum noise levels, a noise level which exceeds the ambient noise level by five (5) dBA or more, when measured at the nearest property line or, in the case of multiple-family residential buildings, when measured anywhere in one dwelling unit with respect to a noise emanating from another dwelling unit or from common space in the same building, or a noise audible to a person of reasonably sensitive hearing at a distance of two hundred (200) feet from its source, shall be deemed a prima facie violation of this article.

I'm pretty sure that you can hear the bells from more than 200 feet away, so it looks like you have a claim there for it being illegal. I think that you might get further if you addressed your concerns directly to the church, however. Try talking to them about it and see if there is some arrangement you can reach with them. They may be willing to work with you to diminish the noise.

Noise isn't a petty concern. I think that it's one of the biggest detractors to quality of life in the city, but I usually reserve my condemnation for motorcycles with no mufflers, rolling sound bombs, people blasting music from their houses at all hours of the night -- that sort of thing. The bells of Grace Church are not usually in the list, but I can see where they would be upsetting to you if you live right across from them. I've been outside the church when the bells are tolling, and they are damned loud.

With all that said, I really, really like the bells of the church. I like hearing them peal from a fair distance away, and would be sad if they were to go. Best of luck to you -- and sorry if I was a bit dismissive in my earlier post.

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Of all the things to complain about in Providence, we're complaining about church bells being too loud? Please...How about gun shot noise? That's a more serious problem IMHO. Maybe we might complain not only about crime, but high property taxes, lack of affordable housing, lead paint, poor development, a sluggish economy, poor school performance, litter, graffiti, rats, the list goes on and on.

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Of all the things to complain about in Providence, we're complaining about church bells being too loud? Please...How about gun shot noise? That's a more serious problem IMHO. Maybe we might complain not only about crime, but high property taxes, lack of affordable housing, lead paint, poor development, a sluggish economy, poor school performance, litter, graffiti, rats, the list goes on and on.

i couldn't have said it better myself... church bells are sort of a grounding noise to me. they bring me back to a simpler time.

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I have a feeling the people who don't mind the church noise are people who do not have to deal with being directly outside of it when it's playing outrageously loud. I had a longer post I typed up twice, but my DSL went down the first time and then Urbanplanet went down. For a city, Providence doesn't have much of a "gun" problem, though I have heard gun shots. I lived in areas (downtown, federal hill) that were known for stuff like that to happen from time to time.

Providence does have affordable housing in places like Fed Hill, Olneyville, South Providence. That's not as big an issue as it's made out to be. Live with roommates and do your best not to have kids when you can't afford them and it shouldn't be a problem. Hell, make like my grandparents did and get a couple part time jobs on the side. It's not like there's nothing out there. I feel bad for the kids but adults should be responsible for their own actions and inactions. Not everyone who is in a terrible situation is a victim, and you usually aren't in such a bad situation unless you don't care or you have a terrible "I'm a victim" mindset. Anyways, enough with all that.

You're trivializing something that's a nuisance to some, while at the same time you put other similarly harmless nuisances such as grafitti, rats, and litter on your list of "more worthy causes" to write about on here. For christ's sake, you've got a whole thread going about a stupid bookstore. The church bells have the potential to cause permanant hearing damage to anyone walking by them at the levels they often times play at. I would have never mentioned anything about the bells, I don't live there anymore so I don't have to hear it. Now that someone mentioned it I can't help but agree with him/her as I (and many others) felt the same way about that bell when I was there. I'm not saying the things you mentioned aren't worthy causes, but if something like those bells aren't worthy then neither are they.

Would you like for there to be more reminders of the simpler time? Why don't we start raising chickens in our back yards and using horse and buggies to get around? Just because something made sense in the past doesn't make it right now. I really don't care if they play the bells, there is no reason for that bell to be so deafeningly loud.

I understand your frustration -- I often get the same way about the noise in my neighborhood. Whether or not it is as bad as downtown or not is a matter of debate, but let's not get into a pissing contest about that.

That said, I decided to check out the code of ordinances regarding noise violations, and there is no exemption for church bells, so you could file an official complaint if you wanted to. The code reads, in part:

Thanks. If I was still going to school in RI I would do that sometime.

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what times do the church bells place regularly? i'd like to hear these myself. i don't think church bells are as much of a problem as graffiti though.

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what times do the church bells place regularly? i'd like to hear these myself. i don't think church bells are as much of a problem as graffiti though.

Part of the problem is a lot of the times they're just loud, and other times they're outrageously loud. I never noticed much of a pattern other than the Christmas carols they played in the morning time when I was in classes during December that were usually too loud. At least that's how it was when I was around from fall 2001-may 2005

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I finally heard these for the first time last night, holy crap are they loud. I feel your pain.

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Would you like for there to be more reminders of the simpler time? Why don't we start raising chickens in our back yards ...

Actually, there is a growing movement for Urban Chicken Raising... kinda the next wave of urban farming.

GregW, I agree 100% with you...

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Actually, there is a growing movement for Urban Chicken Raising... kinda the next wave of urban farming.

The urban chicken farmer sounds like something out of Seinfeld...

I live in the country now and I don't mind the chickens too much, I dislike the cow manure smell in the spring when it all thaws from the winter. My family actually used to keep chickens, but in a city I don't know how practical it would be. Roosters cockadoodle dooing would be another city noise to learn to ignore. Among the advantages out here for raising chickens is we get the chickens and a lot of the feed for free (big "connections" at a local bakery/sandwich shop where we picked up their scraps and got free bread for doing so). We also have a large garden that needs fertilizer. I don't know if every urban chicken farmer has a use for all the manure. Isn't a chicken coop a great target for urban pranksters? What about bird flu? If you let the chickens roam around in a yard in the city, they'll be sure to consume a lot of pollutants that have accumulated there over the years and had gotten into the vegetation and bugs. Just like people in the country wouldn't like a high rise built in the middle of nowhere, I'm sure a lot of city dwellers would resent their neighbor with barnyard animals in the back yard.

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I think the original poster was trying to just blow off some steam. I doubt he trivializes things like gunshot noises, etc., he was simply pointing out a real annoyance. I've complained about street trees not being cut high enough in the past, but I'm not insensitive to gun violence, etc. Give him a break, we all like to beotch sometimes about stuff that annoys us in the city (i.e. snow removal anyone?).

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I think the original poster was trying to just blow off some steam. I doubt he trivializes things like gunshot noises, etc., he was simply pointing out a real annoyance. I've complained about street trees not being cut high enough in the past, but I'm not insensitive to gun violence, etc. Give him a break, we all like to beotch sometimes about stuff that annoys us in the city (i.e. snow removal anyone?).

snow removal is a very valid issue here, considering snow removal amounts to making a couple passes with the plow long after the snow has left and not clearing city sidewalks or enforcing laws that require people to clear their sidewalks. and let's not get into the issue of ice storms and having the city wait until it stops to put sand down on the black ice that was there for hours beforehand.

i think church bells are a far less major issue here.

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snow removal is a very valid issue here, considering snow removal amounts to making a couple passes with the plow long after the snow has left and not clearing city sidewalks or enforcing laws that require people to clear their sidewalks. and let's not get into the issue of ice storms and having the city wait until it stops to put sand down on the black ice that was there for hours beforehand.

i think church bells are a far less major issue here.

Yes, I know, I was just trying to point out the fact that taking issue with something like church bells, or snow removal, or red light cameras doesn't mean somebody isnt sensitive to issues like gun violence, like some have implied.

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People have a right to either like or dislike the bells. Calling them a "menace" and saying they cause hearing loss, however, exaggerates the problem IMHO.

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