Avon vineyard uses air cannon to protect crops, neighbors annoyed by noise

Grape farmes have a not so quiet secret

AVON, Ohio - There are sounds we all recognize, like the sound of an engine starting or the sound of a golf club whacking a golf ball. But if you live in or near Avon, there's another sound, a "boom" sound, and it's coming from a cannon.

Actually, it's an air cannon that vineyard owner Ed Schober uses to keep the critters away. It went off like clock-work during our interview.

"It does very much help," said Schober, "A flock of birds lands, they eat my grapes, then cannon goes off and they fly away."

Schober said the cannon has the same effect on raccoons and possibly deer, which is why he runs it continuously throughout the day and night for about three to four weeks during grape season. The booms, which go off every one, two and sometimes three minutes, have become more of white noise for golfers at the driving range right across the street.

"It's like one of those things you get used to. It just went off right there. So, most people, they just don't know what it is. We have people wondering our neighborhood saying, 'What is that noise? What is that noise?'" golfer Brian O'Toole said.

"It's a big problem. It's a noise problem," said O'Toole. "My wife doesn't sleep at night and I can speak on behalf of the majority of my neighbors that they too have a huge problem with it."

One of the worries O'Toole mentioned was property value. O'Toole said he thinks he and most of his neighbors would not be able to sell their homes if a buyer heard the noise.

However, Schober said the use of the cannon is not new for vineyards or him. He told NewsChannel5 he's been using his cannon for about 10 years but added, as the neighborhoods grow, so do the complaints.

"It's my livelihood. What can I do, you know? I'm trapped between two things: satisfying people that can't sleep or letting my crop grow," said Schober.

There's a local ordinance in Avon that protects Schober's use of the cannon, since he's a farmer and it helps him make a living.

That doesn't mean he's ignoring the complaints.

Schober told NewsChannel5 he's tried to redirect the cannon's sound so it will bounce off nearby woods instead-of off of the homes of neighbors.

O'Toole joked, but half seriously said, he and others would purchase Schober a new system if it meant doing away with the loud noise.

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