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Night Time Air Canons 'Disturbing the Peace' are Perfectly Legal

Avon farm uses canons to keep the critters away; Avon Lake homeowners say the noise keeps them up at night.

Air canons going off every 50 seconds—including during the night—are perfectly legal, even if it’s disturbing the neighbor’s peace.

The noise, coming from Schober Vineyards on Chester Road, near the railroad tracks just over the border from Avon Lake, is from air canons and some Avon Lakers are saying the noise, set to go off continuously every 50 seconds or less, is keeping them up at night.

Schober Vineyards, across from , between Jaycox and Lear roads, sells wholesale and retail grapes as well as “pick your own grapes.”  The majority of grapes are machine picked to be used for juice and wine.

One resident called to complain while others took to Facebook to say they heard constant "gunshots" from 1 a.m. on and couldn't sleep.

Greg Zilka’s office began getting complaints from residents asking if there’s anything that can be done, legally, to stop the noise.

The answer is, “no,” according to Avon Planning Coordinator Jim Piazza, who said the canons are legal and the complaints are nothing new.

“We have an exception in our noise ordinance,” Piazza said. “It’s perfectly legal for farms to use to scare pests, 24 hours a day. We go through this every year.”

Avon’s ordinance permits signaling devices on “agricultural property used to prevent the destruction of crops by pests or animals.”

Piazza said the canons are used for only a few weeks a year, and deemed necessary for the crops survival.

“It’s only used two weeks a year,” Piazza said. “I’m sure it’s annoying as hell but it’s permissible for agriculture. They’re trying to protect their crop.

“The raccoons and deer make a mess. A raccoon can destroy 100 yards of grapes in a night.”

Farm owner Ed Schober agreed.

“I’m not trying to make enemies,” Schober said. “I’m just trying to protect my crop. It’s a pretty meager crop as it is.”

Schober said it wasn’t just raccoons and deer the canons are scaring away, but turkey and birds.”

He’s heard complaints before and has tried adjusting the orientation of the canon to appease neighbors to the north.

Homeowners, however, might hear his canon for more than two weeks. Schober said he expected to need the air canons for several more weeks until harvest.

Jim Strang September 05, 2012 at 01:23 PM
The farms were here first. Get used to it: We did.
Daniel Miller September 05, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Avon Lake resident here. Thanks for printing this story. It doesn't make it any easier to sleep at night, but at least I finally know what's making that annoying thud I've been hearing throughout the night. Whatever happened to the needs of the many (a good night's sleep for a whole community) outweighs the needs of the few, or in this case, the one (Schrober and his grapes)?? How about we turn off the cannons and give Schrober a metal pan and a spoon and let him run around his field all night banging on that pan with the spoon. He keeps the critters away and only HE ends up not sleeping all night, not us!!! How is this not disturbing the peace???!! Enough already!!!!
Kim V September 05, 2012 at 03:31 PM
i dont understand how ppl move out to farm land (yes avon is farmland) and then get mad at the farmers for doing what they need to do in order to earn a living and produce their crops. agreeed with above, the farmers were here first..,,, it is amazing that people would expect the farmers to cater to THEIR wants. It would be like moving next to a dairy farm and complaining about the smell
Elizabeth September 05, 2012 at 03:48 PM
I live in Sheffield Lake and have been wondering what the heck that noise has been...sounded like something illegal!
Dinah Hunt September 05, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Mr. Miller. Constructive suggestions might be in order. I'm sure you wouldn't enjoy the clanging of metal pans and spoons all night long either. I suspect when your food prices rocket you might have a different opinion. In the interim perhaps you might try ear plugs.
Mike September 05, 2012 at 04:40 PM
if i moved next to a dairy farm, i would have known i was moving next to a dairy farm. when i bought the house i'm in now, how was i supposed to know somebody would spontaneously start shooting an air canon in the middle of the night?
Lynn Miller September 05, 2012 at 04:42 PM
We moved to Avon Lake 20 years ago just north of the train tracks and this is the first year we have been kept awake by the cannons. We got used to the trains at night, and I am sure we will adjust to these as well. Nice to know what the cause is though! Now we miss the train noise when we travel...but I don't think we will feel the same way about the air cannons!
Kim V September 05, 2012 at 04:52 PM
My neighbor has chickens and roosters... at the time i didn't know either. Avon was known as a small farming community - do i like hearing his roosters? not really, but i've gotten used to it, and would never ask or even suggest he get rid of them. This farmer is trying to survive and do what he can to make a living. Sorry if its inconvenient for you for awhile, but he was there first. Like someone suggested there might be other alternatives, but i am sure he has looked into them and is doing what works best and is cost effective. I am sure there is no hidden agenda
Kristen LePrevost September 05, 2012 at 05:14 PM
You get used to it after awhile so it's not a big deal..becomes part of the background noise...the birds at 4am are more annoying!!! I'm hoping the noise will keep the deer from my yard as well!!
French Swede September 05, 2012 at 07:37 PM
#1 No legislation should give someone the right to disturb the sleep of hundreds of people throughout the night. #2 It has been shown that this type of attempted critter control doesn't work as intended. Animals are not as dumb as you might think, and become accustomed to the distraction and ignore it. For example, crows start to perch on a scarecrow soon after one is put in a field. #3 Don't use the argument that farmers were in Lorain County long before the housing boom started here. The animals were here before anyone came here and the farmers knew that some crop loss could be expected. No new residents moving here could have imagined being bombarded all night by strains of the 1812 overture. Can you imagine what a din there would be if all the farmers decided to try using this infernal racket.? #4 Sooner or later, in this era of litigation, someone with a serious health problem will claim that the noise aggrivated their condition through sleep disturbance--and they'll sue the farmer and the city and probably win. If you think about it, the noise legslation should be limited to 24 hour use of fertilizing, planting, and harvesting equipment, the sound of which doesn't carry for 2 or 3 miles, as does the air cannon's. Turn some well trained dogs loose at night in the fields, and the predators will soon get the message that they're not welcome to partake of an evening feast at the farmer's expense.
Melissa Sapp September 05, 2012 at 08:05 PM
He was here first? Actually, no, the deer & racoons were. He should have to deal with their feeding instead of 2 cities dealing with his noise!! I have been lying awake nightly, counting the seconds between each "boom". It's so awful not getting a good night's rest-my work suffers & my family suffers. We live on the lake so I was shocked to learn how far south the source is. I'm pretty certain more than just "a hundred" people are affected. Avon Lake is more suburb than farm. Ordinances should protect the majority. Isn't there ANY other solution for this farmer that doesn't disturb the surrounding community!?! How does HE sleep at night with the guilt?!?!
French Swede September 05, 2012 at 08:37 PM
Slow down Melissa-- I said "hundreds" of people might be disturbed. Maybe I should have said thousands, considering your distance from the source. I also said the farmers were not here first--the animals were. I feel your pain. I live less than a mile from where it all begins.
Jeanne T. Nash September 05, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Many people have their sleep disturbed by a snoring partner, city traffic, animal noises or neighbors who like to listen to loud music. Try a "Sleep-Mate" machine. I use one in my office so that noises can be neutralized during hypnosis sessions. I bought and sent one to my friend in NC because her husband snores loudly. It costs around $50 and is well worth the money. It makes white noise (2 speeds and a baffle that you can manipulate to make it as loud as you want). Place it as high as you can in the room so that it can send out sound waves at optimal capacity. You might also try head gear that blocks out sound. I'm not sure of the name, but I've seen ear gear in the Sky Mall catalog that is supposed to block out noise. I'm a light sleeper, so I can understand your pain. Good luck to all. P.S. I just made the most delicious grape jam.
Melissa Sapp September 05, 2012 at 11:55 PM
French Swede, I was responding to comments prior to yours. Your post is smart & logical. Jeanne, I love the idea of a sleep machine or even sleeping pills, however I have 2 little ones that I need to be alert for. Besides, I don't think it's fair to ask residents in a 15 mile radius to change their bedtime routines or spend $50 for 1 farmer's poor choice. What do other farm's do to keep the animals at bay? Air canons?!? Really?! That just seems ridiculous. Wile E. Coyote comes to mind.
Steve83 September 06, 2012 at 02:36 PM
I wondered what the sound was - thought it might have been related to the construction at Lear Rd. Melissa - 15 miles is probably an exaggeration - the distance from the farm to Lake Erie is about 4 miles. You actually might be hearing Klingshirn Winery in Avon Lake near Towne Center - I thought I read in the paper that he was using an air cannon also and that might be closer to you. BTW - Schober Vineyards was just in an article in The Press titled "Avon Farmer Chooses Happiness over Wealth". It basically said his land is worth a whole lot more (millions) than the farm can generate in income.
Max September 06, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Living next to Klingshirn winery, I can assure you that no cannons are being used. Nor do I hear cannons from Shober Vineyards.
AMH September 06, 2012 at 03:52 PM
People, where's the tolerance anymore? The man is trying to do his job and save his crop. **you live in farm country** This "ME-centered" world is about on my last nerve. Moreso than any temporary noise disturbances!

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