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06/30/2022 12:00 AM

Deep River Residents Win Nuisance Lawsuit Against Wedding Venue

The Superior Court of Middlesex County has ruled in favor of plaintiffs on June 10 in a ruling against the Lace Factory, a popular wedding venue located in Deep River.

A civil lawsuit was initially brought to the court by Deep River residents Robert Ghinder and Lawrence Stewart, who live in the residential neighborhood near the Lace Factory. They alleged common law nuisance and violations under the Connecticut Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) against the defendants, venue owners Deep River First Selectman Angus McDonald and his wife Andea Isaacs. Hearings were held remotely before the court between November 2021 to April 2022.

According to a press release issued by Ghinder following the ruling, the defendants in the case ignored pleas by nearby households to control loud amplified music coming from the venue that they alleged exceeded appropriate decibel levels, disturbing the peace of the residential neighborhood. Ghinder and Stewart filed suit with the court on Nov. 7, 2019.

“The whole neighborhood really was disturbed by the noise emanating from the Lace Factory,” Ghinder said. “All of the neighbors were in communication with the Lace Factory to try to get them to reduce the noise.”

Ghinder said there was no intention of Stewart, neighbors of the venue, or himself in attempting to thwart the business of the Factory, and that he was supportive of the opening of the establishment.

Judge Rupal Shah, who presided over the three-year case, ordered in the ruling that the owners of the Lace Factory must comply with state nuisance law and regulations by adopting various acoustic and infrastructure methods to keep decibel levels of amplified music at acceptable levels. The venue must comply with the ruling by implementing these noise control measures by the end of the year. Any wedding events scheduled to take place until then will not be affected by the ruling.

Ghinder and Stewart were each granted a monetary award of $7,000 for damages in the ruling.

McDonald and Isaacs provided no comment on the issue and its ruling.

The Lace Factory, a popular regional wedding venue, attracts business not only from the immediate area, but also as far away as New York and Boston.

It sits in the Harbor District Zone of Deep River, adjacent to the Essex Train Line, and has hosted events in conjunction with the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat service. As many as 250 people can be accommodated in the venue, which holds both indoor and outdoor events. Safe Harbor Deep River park is also part of Harbor District, which also accommodates regular train arrivals and departures on the Essex Line.

According to the memorandum on the case, previous complaints against the Lace Factory and its owners resulted in multiple remedial practices go into effect before the suit was filed. One of those practices involves using a measuring tool to keep track of the noise levels. The defendants did admit that even after these practices went into effect, there was one wedding event in October 2019 in which music at the venue prompted Isaacs to call the police to intervene. Finding attempts to reduce noise level insufficient, the plaintiffs then filed suit.

Ghinder hopes that the ruling would help return a peaceful atmosphere to the Harbor Zone and its residential neighborhood.

“We just want the peaceful, quiet neighborhood back, and just be able to sit inside our house or sit on our porch and not have to listen to the boom-boom-boom of loud music coming from across the street.”