By Danny Schrafel
The Northport-based Cow Harbor Warriors, a charity that aids veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, rocked on the dock at Seymour’s Boatyard Sunday afternoon during one of its fundraisers – so much so that a neighbor called the cops to complain about noise coming from the group’s second annual Rock on the Dock fundraiser, according to Northport Village police.
Organizers of the event insist, however, that they followed the rules and took steps to shield neighbors from noise while raising $11,000 at the event, which drew more than 200 guests.
The turnout “represents the continued generosity of the Northport/Huntington folks and their continued support of Cow Harbor Warriors,” said Cow Harbor Warriors President Don McKay said. “If we had one neighbor complaining, we had about 240 residents of the village who were quite happy.”
Officers reported to Seymour’s Boatyard at 5:40 p.m. July 5 after receiving “numerous” complaints from a resident about loud music, according to a police report.
According to that report, responding officers took sound meter readings at locations on Bayview Avenue and determined that, at some locations and times, the band performances were in violation of the village noise code.
McKay insisted Tuesday that the organization was in “full compliance” with village ordinances. The performance by Just Cause, a charitable classic rock band comprised of influential local attorneys and headed by District Court Justice James Matthews, was “not that loud,” McKay said. He added that speakers were pointed away from homes to shield residents from noise and the concert ended as planned at 7 p.m.
“It was our understanding that one neighbor complained and came down to the dock,” McKay said. “It was our belief that we were in full compliance with the village ordinances. We had permission for the event from the mayor.”
Dave Weber, general manager of Seymour’s Boatyard, argued that other events along the waterfront, including an all-day performance at the Centerport Yacht Club on July 4 and Thursday night concerts by the Northport Community Band, create much more noise.
“It’s extremely loud, and nobody complains about that,” Weber said. “We had an event from 3-7 p.m. for wounded warriors, and we get one complaint. And it’s the same person that complained last year. It’s baffling why somebody would complain.”
Neither Weber nor McKay would identify the complainant; however, Weber suggested that the person has connections at Village Hall.
“It’s as if he picked up his cell phone and called the police commissioner and the police commissioner picked up his cell phone and called his sergeant on duty, and that’s how the complaint happened,” Weber said.
Northport Deputy Mayor Henry Tobin, who lives up the block from the boatyard, said that the village board “may take a look at the code” and see if there’s anything that we might do that would give neighbors more protection, no matter where an event takes place in a village.” Tobin wouldn’t say if noise from the event disrupted him personally.
Founded in 2013, the Cow Harbor Warriors are a not-for-profit organization that aims to fulfill a mission of honoring and enabling wounded warriors from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Its annual Wounded Warriors weekend, held near the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack anniversary each year, is the group’s primary fundraising vehicle. The 2014 event generated $75,000, which was divvied up amongst the Northport VA Medical Center, the Semper Fi Fund and Paws of War.