It’s often said that a child’s laughter is one of the most beautiful sounds in the world.
Unless you’re former Davis Mayor Joe Krovoza, that is. He and his wife Janet Krovoza have filed a lawsuit against the city over a playground zipline near their home. They say the sound emanating from the relocated equipment is a nuisance, and they want it gone.
To be fair, it’s not the laughter that bothers the couple. It’s the clanging sound of the swing gliding across the track. After their complaints, city staff agreed to temporarily shut the zipline down, sparking outrage among local families.
The Krovozas’ lawsuit cites the California Environmental Quality Act or CEQA.
We heard you groan from here.
According to the plaintiffs, the city violated CEQA by failing to file an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) when it first signed off on the relocation of the zipline at Arroyo Park.
This wouldn’t be the first time CEQA was used in a questionable way. CEQA abuse is a scourge in California. Last year, an appellate court blasted the law’s misuse as “an instrument for the oppression and delay of social, economic, or recreational development and advancement."
But do the Krovozas have a point? According to the city, they are the only neighbors who have complained about the noise. To test their claims, Davis commissioned a noise study by Acoustics Group, Inc. (AGI). The report did find the zipline slightly exceeded noise ordinance levels. But those levels are already set extremely low at 55 decibels, which may make them unconstitutional according to City Attorney Inder Khalsa.
The city has decided to fight the lawsuit and try to save the Arroyo Park zipline.
“The City’s action to relocate the Sky Track was consistent with the law,” said Khalsa. “I am confident that the City will prevail in this lawsuit.”