Germantown homeowner claims he was misled about unbearable noise coming from nearby train tracks

- When James Sparks moved into his Germantown house nearly a year ago, he never imagined it would shake – literally.

Sparks lives along Vaughn Landing Drive and has collected 35 signatures from neighbors in an online petition all fed up with the noise and vibrations coming from passing trains that are traveling nearby their homes.

The train tracks are about 50 yards from Sparks' home, so he clearly expected to hear some noise. However, he claims he was misled by the builder of his home as to the extent of it.

Sparks said the noise pollution is so extreme that when he is inside his home, the sound completely drowns out all conversations and wakes him up at night.

“I have been outside barbecuing in the summer and when the train comes and blows its horn, it is like a megaphone right next to your ear and you can’t think and you just want to like collapse because it is just so loud,” he said.

Sparks said he has been complaining about this issue since last April when he moved in. When he bought his townhouse, he said a representative for the builder, Ryan Homes, told him that only the MARC Brunswick commuter line travels on the tracks and that the trains would not come through at night or weekends.

But after Sparks moved into his house, he realized other types of trains use these tracks around the clock. Our cameras caught a CSX train rolling through the area on Friday.

Sparks shared an email with FOX 5 where the Montgomery County Planning Board told him it appears a wooden fence outside his home was the only requirement in the site plan. But the homeowner is now looking into some other sound studies supposedly conducted after the construction was complete.

“In my opinion, you take this fence out and put an 8-foot wall in that is a sound barrier,” Sparks said. “This wall was already in place before this sound study was done, so I am not sure how this [fence] is sufficient enough to block any sound.”

FOX 5 spoke with the Homeowner Association and they said that two 8-foot-high sound barrier walls were supposed to be constructed.

Sparks also showed FOX 5 emails he has exchanged with Ryan Homes. In them, the builder said they are talking with the developer, Charley Turner, about building an L-shaped sound barrier wall behind Sparks’ townhouse. But it is unknown when that would happen.

We reached out to Ryan Homes, but they said they had no comment. 

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