Friday, April 22, 2016 by Kevin Sanders
The city of Plano — a sterile Dallas suburb with a history of teen suicide — has become the setting of a modern-day Hatfield and McCoys. But instead of two hillbilly families feuding over moonshine, it’s two suburbanite neighbors feuding over alleged noise pollution.
One of the neighbors is Kelly Counts, a home-schooling mom whose kids have a playhouse in the backyard. When not matriculating indoors, the student-children apparently spend their recess period frolicking in and around the playhouse.
But the Ward family next door clearly doesn’t like the sounds that emanate from the four Counts children, who range in age from 2 years old to 10 years old. According to the Wards, the noise from the playing children is incessant, and causes audible and visible distress not only to themselves, but also to their pets.
While the universally annoying sound of screaming children is a reasonable thing to complain about, the response from the Wards seems, well, childish. Namely, the Wards have been assaulting the children and their teacher-mother with loud, profane-sounding music. Kind of like when the U.S. military blared rock music at Panamanian dictator Manuel Noreiga during the invasion of his country in 1989.
Details of the Wards’ musical playlist have not been made public, but judging from the description, it might include Norwegian Black Metal, leading to fears that the impressionable Counts kids might start their own hard-core thrash band someday. But quite apart from the musical considerations, the Wards have also filed a lawsuit, in an attempt to force the removal of the controversial playhouse.
Kelly Counts, however, is standing firm, intent on keeping the playhouse right where it is. And considering that the City of Plano and the neighborhood’s Homeowner’s Association has approved of the backyard structure, she seems to have a strong case.
It might seem silly for a petty neighborhood feud like this to end up in court, but most people would probably agree that only die-hard, Granny Clampett fans would prefer to see it settled with shotguns.