Mysterious nighttime humming leaves Hollywood neighbors restless

Broward officials work to give homeowners some peace and quiet

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Nosey neighbors aren't Bea Mazzrillo's problem.  It's the noisy one across the street.

"Absolutely wretched," is how Mazzrillo described the racket. "It's very loud, and it never goes away."

Mazzrillo reached out to the Leave it to Layron team for help silencing the not-so-soothing sound.
Imagine a very mechanical hum, constantly humming, at the same pitch, 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Mazzrillo said the droning is worse at night and early in the morning. One morning, she recorded the sound on her cellphone from inside her apartment, sealed with hurricane impact windows.

In the video, she notes the time -- just before 5 a.m. --and you can hear the hum, humming away. Seconds later, the video shows Mazzrillo opening her front door, allowing the listener to get the full effect.

"Somebody should be able to do something," she said.  Mazzrillo and her husband moved into their Harrison Street condo eight years ago.  It's right across the street from Broward County's South Regional Courthouse in Hollywood.

Mazzrillo and her neighbors tell the LITL team the noise became increasingly unbearable within the past year. They've contacted the city's code enforcement department, and have even made contact with workers in the courthouse building to get the humming to stop.

The LITL team's search for silence stopped with Tom Hutka, public works director with Broward County.

After we called, Hutka stopped by the South Regional Courthouse.

"I heard the noise, and I have to agree, we can do better and make everybody in the neighborhood happier," he said.

Hutka said the constant noise is caused by chillers, part of the cooling system for the courthouse.  While many county buildings' cooling equipment is located on the roof, the chillers at the South Regional Courthouse are located inside utility rooms, at the back of the building.

Broward county officials determined that the sound was caused by the courthouse's air conditioning unit.
Broward county officials determined that the sound was caused by the courthouse's air conditioning unit.

He said the building's air conditioning system can function properly without the chillers running during the evening and overnight hours. The plan, now, is to shut the chillers down at the end of the day to make things quiet when no one's using the building.

Mazzrillo immediately noticed the change, Sunday night. She recorded another video on her cellphone, this time from outside of her condo. In the video, the noise was gone and she thanks the LITL team.

She also thanked Hutka.

"Heavenly," is how she described the silence.

Hutka also said there are plans in the works to minimize the noise during the day. The design and permitting process will take some time, but a fence with hedges is slated to be installed behind the courthouse to help buffer the noise from the utility room. Hutka said the county is also now looking into ways to buffer the sound inside the utility rooms.

"We will be good neighbors, and we'll take care of business for them," Hutka said.

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