Did MrBeast violate a noise ordinance last weekend? His NC neighbors want to know.

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The neighborhood shook Monday morning around 3 a.m., dislodging wall paintings and jolting residents awake. A permitted pyrotechnics crew had just ignited a collection of fireworks, but to some, it felt like Greenville was under attack.

Monica Gould’s oldest child, age 10, didn’t go back to sleep and ended up missing the next day of school. The horse and pony she keeps on the property were also thoroughly spooked. Gould, who works as an administrative assistant at the local East Carolina University hospital, recalled a separate MrBeast night-time blast in December as actually being more intense. “We thought our house was falling down,” she said.

There are certain perks to living near the world’s most famous YouTuber. Across an expansive field in north Greenville, neighbors can glimpse stunts in real time months before millions watch them online. Gould, 44, said her three children are all big fans of MrBeast, the professional moniker of 26-year-old Jimmy Donaldson who has built an empire filming inventive, lucrative and invariably viral videos from his Eastern North Carolina hometown. Only one other YouTube account has more subscribers than Donaldson’s 258 million subscribers, an Indian music label, and they are poised to soon swap spots.

But this success is of little comfort to neighbors on certain nights.

“No one is saying he needs to go or any of that stuff,” said Dawn Wilkins, a business owner in her 50s who lives in the surrounding community. “Everyone seems to enjoy and has watched him for years. What we’re saying is we need him to be a little more courteous of his neighbors.”

Wilkins and her husband recently installed black-out curtains in one room that faces MrBeast’s operations.

In 2021, Donaldson’s team purchased land in a northern section of the city, on which they built a $14 million-studio and keep an additional 28-acre field clear for filming. Last year, Donaldson acquired 95 more acres around the complex, Pitt County property records show, through a connected entity called Creative Grid LLC.

During the past two weeks, MrBeast’s team has worked through the night constructing just beyond Gould’s backyard. She took to posting videos of bright stadium lights and truck beeps on her Facebook page, adding sarcastic captions like “Another exciting night ahead. Now taking reservations for tomorrow night’s show” and “Another peaceful early morning here at 1am.”

Before setting off fireworks or other explosions, MrBeast representatives must obtain permits from the city of Greenville. For its project last week, the Austin, Texas-based firm Big Dog Pyro received a permit from the local fire marshal to ignite pyrotechnics — including traditional fireworks, mortal hits, and a controlled theatrical fireball, during a “firing window” from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. Big Dog’s explosion schedule was approved for May 6 to May 12, with additional days allowed in case of weather or scheduling delays.

“It is quite tricky when it comes to balancing the requirements of MrBeast’s team with consideration of residents,” city spokesperson Brock Letchworth wrote in an email.

One complication is that the land is not within the city limits; Greenville handles permitting and inspections at the site, but that area’s noise ordinance is enforced by surrounding Pitt County, specifically the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office.

The ordinance limits overnight sounds to 50 decibels in residential areas and 75 decibels in industrial areas. Fireworks typically reach between 140 to 160 decibels according to the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Under the Pitt noise ordinance, violators may be changed with a misdemeanor and fined up to $400.

Pitt County Sheriff’s Office said its department responds to noise concerns by taking decimal readings at the locations where complaints are made. So if homeowners call, decimal readings will occur on their properties, not at the sources of the noise.

However, the office said sheriff’s will only generally take action when complaints are made. And there is no guarantee a fireworks barrage will still be going when they arrive.

Letchworth said the city of Greenville regularly meets with MrBeast representatives to coordinate future projects. Ahead of large explosion events, Greenville will send out community alerts. Before this week’s shoot, the city posted a public safety notice that read “As part of film production in the Sugg Parkway industrial area, residents of Pitt and surrounding counties may hear explosives throughout the week of May 6th – 10th.”

Yet the notice didn’t mention what time of day the explosions might occur, nor did it note that the explosions might take place in the early morning of May 13.)

Under an agreement with the city, MrBeast’s team is ultimately responsible for notifying neighbors before setting off pyrotechnics, something the crew has done with some regularity since Donaldson broke through in 2017,. According to Gould, a MrBeast representative went door-to-door in their “quiet, laid-back” community to warn of coming construction and explosions. But she said the representative didn’t mention what time the fireworks would be set off.

Wilkins said it has been a challenge to get in touch with anyone from Donaldson’s team, with calls and emails in recent months going unanswered.MrBeast representatives did not respond to a request to speak with The News & Observer about how it considers neighbors when planning out large-scale construction and pyrotechnic events.

The booms heard and felt early Monday morning appeared to cap off a large competition. The overnight construction and fireworks have stopped — at least until the next video.