Rockland has a long history of people complaining about various things they find annoying.

Two years ago it was the infamous roasting coffee bean movement. A neighbor to Rock City Coffee flooded the city with letters of complaint against the business. The smell of the roasting was simply unacceptable, according to the neighbor, even though those beans were roasting before the neighbor had ever owned the house.

These complaints led to a panel of Rockland residents using their olfactory senses to determine if the coffee roaster was in violation of a nebulous city ordinance. The sniffers said the business was in violation and eventually, the business built a higher smokestack and the problem was solved.

For a city that was once rough and tumble this was the final sign that Rockland had become gentrified.

When I first arrived in Rockland, fish plants lined the waterfront. There were some pleasure boats but fishing was king. Along with the many hundreds of jobs it provided, the industry also created its own environment of fish smells. But few people complained about those odors.

The first offensive against annoyances came with the Seapro fish rendering plant located off Front Street. The plant processed fish that were not used for human consumption. The end product was largely used by the pet food industry.

A county attorney who lived within nose shot of the plant took on Seapro and ended up filing a court complaint and fining the business. The plant continued to operate for about a decade more before a citizen movement and economic conditions led to the closure of Seapro.

Some things we take for granted were originally the subject of people who fought against them.

When Harbor Plaza Shopping Center was proposed, neighbors tried to block the project. Several residents even turned to the courts but were unsuccessful in their attempt to stop the retail complex that now houses a Shaw’s supermarket, a T.J. Maxx & More, a Staples, and several other smaller stores.

Two of those opponents were future mayors – Michael and Deborah McNeil.

The city’s code enforcement officer became interested in planning matters over concerns about a zoning issue and a clothing consignment store on the residential side of Union Street.

There were a few people who voiced concerns when MBNA wanted to build the complex that now houses Boston Financial.

The railroad station has been located in Rockland since 1917. But when passenger service returned a few years ago, several neighbors launched an effort to stop the use of the train station, claiming the trains were noisy, and were spewing diesel that threatened people’s health.

The most recent efforts of the “not in my back yard” movement involve the operation of the Trackside restaurant that is located in the train station. A few neighbors have said the music that is played there on weekend nights is disruptive to their lives. One neighbor suggested the music be turned off at 9:30 p.m.

I’m 51 and haven’t gone to a night spot such as this in 30 years but many of the younger generation would find a 9:30 p.m. shutoff of music a tad draconian. One neighbor commented that the sound of the music from the restaurant drowned out the sound of the Olympics on the television. Of course, the sounds of skiing and skating are not very loud anyway.

A divided Rockland City Council ultimately voted to have the restaurant’s music stop at 11 p.m.

Maybe it’s unfair to call these neighbors NIMBYs since the restaurant is not in their back yards. Maybe NIMFYs (not In my front yard) would be more appropriate or NAMSs (not across my street).

One of the points made at this week’s council meeting when the matter was debated was that there are two bars located within ear shot of the Trackside restaurant yet they have no similar restrictions. And city officials acknowledged that the restaurant is in a commercial zone and is staying within the city’s noise limits.

But NIMBYs, NIMFYs and NAMSs can be influential.