Editor’s Note: Additional comments from the church’s attorney have been added to this story and highlighted.
WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — An ongoing noise dispute is turning into a legal battle between a Wilson County church and its neighbors.
Multiple neighbors plan on filing a noise nuisance lawsuit against Global Vision Bible Church. News 2 has done multiple stories on the church, where members choose to worship underneath an enclosed tent throughout the week.
News 2 interviewed several neighbors, who offered the following statements:
- “The noise is loud enough to where I can’t even listen to my TV.”
- “It’s been a noise issue for the past two or three years.”
- “The drums are just deafening.”
“Our church is polarizing in some ways, and so some people just aren’t going to be happy until this church is just no more. That is not acceptable. We are going to be here for a very, very long time. We are just trying to be good neighbors,” Pastor Greg Locke of Global Vision Bible Church said earlier this year.
During a February interview, Locke told News 2 he spent thousands of dollars on a new “sound proof” tent. Since then, walls have been built around the church.
However, neighbors said the noise has continued.
“The fact is Greg Locke is holding the whole area hostage because there are no consequences for his actions,” one neighbor said during a Wilson County commissioner meeting.
“We did not want a lawsuit. We did not want conflict, a fight. We just want them to turn down the volume. We don’t think that’s that much to ask,” Philip Berg said.
Berg is one of dozens who helped raise over $10,000 to hire an attorney. Neighbors have been planning to file a noise nuisance lawsuit with the money.
However, an attorney representing the church recently sent a letter to Berg’s office.
“He told me to tell the other neighbors that the church would countersue every single person named in the lawsuit and would sue for abuse of the legal process and seek unlimited damages from us,” Berg explained.
Berg said he was hoping the letter would include some sort of resolution.
“I just thought, ‘That’s disappointing.’ I had hoped maybe they would reach out to the community with an offer to turn down the volume or to talk, but instead it was really, at the end of the day, at threat,” Berg told News 2.
An attorney for the church has pointed out his letter stated the following: “As you may know, I have kept Wilson County informed of all these developments, as I am now informing you. Of course, if you have any additional complaints or requests to be made of the church, I am more than happy to receive them before another lawsuit is filed. Naturally, my clients keep top of mind being good neighbors.”
Two lawsuits have already been filed against the church. The Wilson County director of development services filed one back in March for zoning violations. The neighbors directly across the street have also filed a suit.
News 2 spoke with the attorney who sent Berg the letter. He directed us to another attorney in Brentwood, but we have yet to hear back.
News 2 also left a message with Global Vision Bible Church.