CrossFit controversy in North Providence - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

CrossFit controversy in North Providence

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By Mike LaCrosse
 
mlacrosse@abc6.com
 
A North Providence gym that was invited by the mayor to open up in town is being forced to close down.  It comes after neighbors, who live near the business, say it’s too noisy and is rattling their homes.
 
The gym, Ocean State CrossFit, is located on Charles Street.
 
“Our house shakes, our pictures shake, things on the mantle shake,” said resident Jay Metzger.
 
When the gym first opened neighbors say the noise and vibrations woke them up around 5:30 AM and lasted until 7 at night.
 
“The straw that broke the camels back for me was the night I put my daughter to sleep and then 45 minutes later she was awakened,” said resident Kelley Metzger.
 
“It’s very unsettling to hear that constantly banging,” said resident Angelique Mucci.
 
Neighbors keep calling the cops and police reports confirm officers hearing the noise and feeling the vibrations.  However, police say no noise ordinances are being violated.
 
“We’re pretty upfront about it.  We are not a quiet company, this is not a library,” said Ocean State CrossFit Co-owner Mike Berling.
 
He says he made the town aware about noise being associated with his business while he was being recruited to open up in the vacant Charles Street building.
 
“They again told us it’s their policy one-stop-shop to marry the businesses with the location and they said we were gonna be okay,” said Berling.
 
The Town Council asked the Zoning Officer to look into the complaints.  Zoning Officer Kelley Morris says the gym’s business certificate isn’t zoning approval.  Morris issued a cease and desist letter saying the property is not zoned for a fitness center.
 
“I was shocked.  We did everything we were suppose to do.  We were asked to be here,” said Berling.
 
He is now appealing.  In the meantime, he has adjusted workout times to start after 7 AM.
 
“Whoever thought that a gym by the way would be upsetting?” asked Mayor Charles Lombardi.
 
The mayor stands by inviting the business to town.

“When we talked to the former planning director he said look, he said I issued a permit to him because I thought it was a lesser use.  There was a car lot there, a gas station could go there so a gym, a littler cleaner “lesser use” made sense to me and again we wanna attract business, we wanna be business friendly,” said Mayor Lombardi.
 
The issue will be before the Zoning Board later this month.

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