Neighbors feud over backyard sports practice



Posted on November 17, 2011 at 12:37 PM

PLANO, Texas — Imagine the sound of a hockey puck from a slap shot hitting your fence again... and again... and again.

Residents of one Plano neighborhood say they hear that all the time and they claim it’s keeping them awake at night and damaging their properties.

It's a high school student practicing hockey, and he practices a lot, often with his friends.

The noise has pitted neighbor against neighbor. Both sides say they're being harassed.

"You can imagine what that's like when a kid is using a hockey stick to launch a hockey puck or using a lacrosse stick to really throw it in there," said Marty Carpenter, who lives next door to the hockey player.

Carpenter showed News 8 dozens of pucks and lacrosse balls that sailed over his fence and into his backyard and pool. He also showed us home video he shot of the noise and the teen next door.

The Plano homeowner says a combination of noise and damage has left him and other neighbors frustrated.

"They'll be going bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! It will be just like rapid fire," Carpenter said.

The teen in the video is 17-year-old Will Vasil. His mother, Beth, wouldn't talk with us on camera, but she told us her son plays for the Plano Wildcats Hockey Club and a select team.

Another neighbor, 75-year-old Don Stewart calls it disturbing. He even called Plano police.

"At exactly midnight, I told my wife, 'I can't stand this any more.' So I put my clothes on and opened my neighbor's gate," Stewart said. "To the left, there were three young men hitting hockey pucks into a fence."

Over the last six years, police have responded to complaints on this street more than 100 times. Many of those gripes came from Marty Carpenter.

"The police come out time after time after time. They tell them to knock it off. They say they will. But it's been six years, and there's no resolution," Carpenter said.

Two weeks ago, Plano Assistant Police Chief Ed Drain met with Carpenter, Stewart and a third neighbor. Drain assigned two officers who handle neighborhood conflicts to the case.

But Drain said those officers were reassigned when it appeared a compromise could not be reached.

“We can't tell those people they can't play hockey or lacrosse," Drain said. "I'm not sure what we can do about that if we don't see it. We can only take action with what the law allows us to do.”

Police did cite 17-year-old Will Vasil for a noise violation. His mother said they put up a net to reduce the amount of noise.

Plano police told us the family voluntarily agreed to take a reprieve until they have their day in court, scheduled for later this month.