A kosher supermarket opened in a quiet residential neighborhood. He circumvented the zoning laws by questionable means and doubled the size of the store. His business is built on volume and because of that people come from all over to shop. They have caused great distress to the residents who live around the store both jewish and non jewish. The owner has a lot of ties to the religious politicians in the the area and the local precinct is also not enforcing the laws. Those who do not live in the neighborhood and come and disregard the fact that they are causing us a lack of menucha in our homes. Meeting with the owner has not helped at all. My question is Do those who come to shop from far and wide and love the store have more rights halachically than we who are suffering from this store. The owner is well to do and could have opened in a commercial area, instead he bought up 4 private homes and knocked them down for his expansion.

Answer:

In principle, by-laws ensure that residential areas remain residential, and not commercial and disturbing.

These principles are binding in halachah by dint of the custom: A person cannot act as he wishes without taking into consideration the basic sensibilities of neighbors – such as making loud noise after “bedtime” or causing bad odors etc. (See, for instance, Rivash 196; Rema 156:2; Chazon Ish, Nezikin 13:11).

It is a shame that the local bylaws were circumvented in this case. Residents have the prerogative to stand up for their rights, certainly where people are coming in from out of town and causing distress. If the owner does not cooperate perhaps the matter can be taken (as a first measure) to the local Beis Din.

Best wishes and good luck.

Tags: halachah neighbors noise

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