Noise Ordinance Amendment
Update: Recent Activities and Upcoming Events
A public hearing on the proposed new Noise Ordinance was held on Tuesday, May 12, 2015. In order to give the Board and staff additional time to address the various issues raised at the public hearing, the Board deferred decision on the amendment until June 23, 2015, and requested that the proposed Noise Ordinance be discussed at the June 9, 2015, Board's Development Process Committee. At the June 9th Board's Development Process Committee, it was recognized that additional time was needed to address the issues. On June 23, 2015, the Board deferred decision on the proposed Noise Ordinance until November 17, 2015, at 3:30 p.m. A Board workshop to discuss the proposed Noise Ordinance is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. on September 11, 2015, in Conference Rooms 9/10 of the Fairfax County Government Center located at 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035. (Note that the workshop time has changed.)
Discussion items for the September 11th meeting include the following:
- an overview and update,
- criminal penalties versus civil penalties for animal noise violations,
- dog park site selection and policies,
- school athletic noise policies, and
maximum sound levels and loudspeakers.
The overall goal of the proposed Noise Ordinance is to:
- Recognize that there will always be certain levels of noise that occur in the normal course of daily living;
- Allow certain levels of daytime noise so that people can live, work, and play during the day; and
- Minimuze nighttime noise so residents have an appropriate quiet environment in their homes at night.
The proposed new Noise Ordinance would replace both the existing Noise Ordinance (Chapter 108 of the Fairfax County Code) and the existing Excessive Sound Generation in Residential Areas and Dwellings (Article 6 of Chapter 5 of the County Code. The overall framework of the proposed new Noise Ordinance would be to:
- Prohibit certain activities (prohibitions);
- Exclude certain activities from the Noise Ordinance (exceptions); and
- When not specifically prohibited or excepted, then activities or sources of sound would be subject to maximum decibel levels.
The above framework would be further qualified by time, location, and duration limitations.
The Board has requested staff to review and revise the Noise Ordinance to better address the methodology used in noise measurements, considering the appropriateness of establishing daytime and nighttime noise levels to protect the community and, add other objective criteria to regulate noise within Fairfax County. On December 3, 2013, the Board adopted a new Article 6 of Chapter 5 of the County Code (Excessive Sound Generation in Residential Areas and Dwellings) which gave the Police Department the ability to address certain sound that is generated in a residential dwelling or residential area that is plainly audible and discernible inside another person's dwelling with doors and windows closed. The recently adopted Article 6 was intended to be an interim step in addressing noise, until more comprehensive amendments to Chapter 108 were considered by the Board. The proposed amendment is in response to these requests.
- Existing Chapter 108 (Noise Ordinance) of the County Code
- Existing Article 6 (Excessive Sound Generation in Residential Areas and Dwellings) of Chapter 5 of the County Code
- Proposed Chapter 108.1 (Noise Ordinance)
- September 5, 2015 Memorandum outlining Discussion Topics for September 11, 2015, Workshop
- Off Leash Dog Area Information from Fairfax County Park Authority
If you wish to speak with someone regarding this amendment, please contact the Ordinance Administration Branch of the Zoning Administration Division at 703-324-1314.