Getting 'schooled' in rezoning
Politically connected Neighbor From Hell turns Home Sweet Home into a loud hell

by Patricia Moon

By now, I thought I would have written at the least, a children’s book. I majored in journalism and worked with kids in group homes off and on since I was a young woman, and have two lovely grandchildren, Mia and Corbin. But my life has changed, not that I don’t love children, but five years after renovating a house in a small country town, near a little church and daycare, the nightmare began for my husband, Marty and I. What began as a small accessory elementary school to a house of worship only allowed by conditional use, turned into a school grades 1-12, with over 300+ kids and constant screaming with playgrounds to within 15 feet on two sides of my home, where trees once stood.


I spend all my time writing to whoever will listen or might help us to regain a life without the constant threat of screams and shrills invading our home, banging on the door by a deputy sheriff due to false reports and the possibility we will lose our home in attorney’s fees and court costs in an attempt to live in peace.

Marty and I share something besides a home and the nightmare of having a Neighbor from Hell, we share diagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to life threatening trauma. Once under control by therapy and doctor’s visits we lived as normal a life as expected, avoiding situations instinctively that would cause us to feel unsafe. We could never have imagined our neighboring “Christians” would use our diagnosis as a defense for creating noise so severe it was heard ˝ mile away, and state that our diagnosis made us “too sensitive.”

Noise was not the only threat used, the LLC Corporation allowed a large painted sign on the side of a trailer to be displayed in replacement of the removed trees that revealed support by the NRA, placed where I could not avoid seeing the sign 6 ft. above their fence line. Three years ago we watched from our windows teen boys dressed in Battle Dress Uniforms yell out threats against squirrels and throwing of rocks, while no adult was in sight. At night we had no peace, as well, as these young teens and one male counselor pitched tents in what was once a quiet backyard.

No amount of reasoning would end their constant intrusions as I watched my husband’s suffering as sheriffs were sent to our home with ridiculous reports, unfounded. On one occasion, a large chunk of cement was hurled with such force from the property next to our backyard that a section of fence was broken. I was standing about a foot away and I could feel the breeze at it passed my face. The incident caused me to feel an instantaneous crippling sharp pain run down my back and my legs would not move. All I could think of was that calling the sheriffs out would only add to my husbands’ fear of men in uniforms, and what if he were to get into a battle with this bunch of youths, all alone. So I tried to calm myself down, lying on the ground hoping they would not throw anything else, or jump the fence. I heard them say, “lets go,” and listened while they jumped in their truck and sped away. Day and night, it was a battle for peace, and a fight to save our dignity as we were profiled as two crazies with hallucinations and a hatred of children.

We suffered humiliation and degrading treatment. We even tried to get help from the zoning department, and that is when our hopes of any relief fell to the floor as we discovered that the man who was on the board of their LLC ministries, worked within the county growth management and zoning department. We would endure statements like, “I would never be crazy enough to buy a house near a school.” The zoning director made them put in a single row of hedges and stated it would take 20 years for them to serve as a viable buffer and that we should continue to work with our neighbor for answers.

With each attempt to find a solution, we got a little weaker. Marty was awaiting treatment for Hep C, liver disease, but after 20 years of sobriety, the stress and fighting taking such a toll on us, contributed to his picking up again.

We even tried to sell the beautiful property and renovated home, to no avail. No one wanted to live that close to a school. We spent time driving around the block and looking for places to park the car for just a bit of quiet.

It never fails, where there is desperation, there is always someone willing to sell you some false hope. We had an attorney convince us he could keep the school to a reasonable distance from our property and offered us noise abatement, but after giving him $15,000.00, he left our case. We had a report from an acoustic engineer that stated it would take a massive 10’ wall to even make a noticeable difference in the noise levels and that would include a 50’ setback and 20’ of forest. But our attorney ignored it, stating he didn’t know how to proceed with the case because he knew nothing of land use or zoning.

The day after our attorney left us, the nightmare noise began again as middle school students filled the back yard with decibels equal that of an air compressor. With each scream, we felt that familiar feeling of overdose of adrenaline and cortisol that causes a person with PTSD to feel their hairs on their scalp stand up, our hearts palpitating so fast. I would get a feeling I’d swallowed something large and sharp and it was stuck in my esophagus and I was fighting for air. The pain was so intense it caused me to fall to the ground and desperately move myself into twisting positions in an attempt to stop the sharp pains. Marty would grab a bat and run outside and hit an old stump while screaming at the top of his lungs, “STOP!!” Nothing helped. We could visually see these middle school and high school kids running and screaming as loud as possible. To make the noise even worse, the cattle pen type of enclosure, only 60’ wide and 140’ long was in one acoustic engineers opinion, “the best echo chamber he had ever witnessed built.” The kids would clap their hands together one by one to hear the echo and it sounded like bullets to Marty, and would trigger his shooting from 1979. He begged me to take him to the Veteran’s Hospital in Gainesville, Florida some 3 hours away, where he was immediately admitted for a week.

The LLC assumed I was done, without an attorney to represent us, but I have no choice, I have no money left having mortgaged my home for a useless 10’ fence, attorney’s fees and the cost of producing evidence. I don’t have enough money for a down payment for a new home and I couldn’t afford another mortgage. Who would rent this home, and why would I put anyone through this? Temporarily the LLC has opted to keep the kids from the area behind my home, but I can still hear their screams from the original church lot. (By the way, the steeple was recently removed by their LLC).

Today I contacted the LLC’s attorney in hopes to come to an agreement not to use the area behind my home. We had a mediations meeting 2 years ago, and I was told by my attorney I had to sign the agreement to allow the LLC to use this cattle pen area for an athletic field for students 3 hours a day. He reasoned with me that it would lessen the amount of hours of suffering I would have to endure 5 days a week, and that the LLC would no longer allow the group of men and teen boys that belonged to a special outdoor ranger organization, on the property. In other words, they would reduce the suffering to that of the noise I hear all day long at 200’ ft, from a daycare that they refuse to buffer the noise from and to that source of screams, only a mere 3 hours a day at 15’, providing I pay all but $5000.00 of a $33,000.00 noise wall. They refuse to use the 50’ minimum setback, which the county zoning employee was able to keep code enforcement from enforcing as well as avoiding the Planning and zoning board. But, I don’t have the money for their wall so that they can use the land they were not allowed to use in the first place. So, now we just sit on the edge of sanity waiting for that hurl of screams to begin again.

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