On November 17, 2015, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted a new Noise Ordinance to better address the methodology used in noise measurements, consider the appropriateness of establishing daytime and nighttime noise levels to protect the community, and to add other objective criteria to regulate noise within Fairfax County. The overall goal of the new 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
- Minimize nighttime noise so residents have an appropriate quiet environment in their homes at night.
The overall framework of the new Noise Ordinance is 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.
2. Outdoor Construction
5. Trash Collection
7. Outdoor Truck Loading and Unloading
8. Lawn Equipment
10. Noise from vehicles (not on road right-of-way) and noise made by people
16. Motor Vehicles on the Road
19. Heat pumps, air conditioners, and swimming pool pumps
24. Activities on Recreational Grounds
25. Dog Parks
The Department of Code Compliance (DCC) and the Police Department are primarily responsible for enforcement of the Noise Ordinance. To determine how to make a complaint regarding noise, please see the summary chart and information below.
DCC investigates complaints of noise when it is regulated by decibel level and/or when the noise occurs on a regularly occurring basis, such that it can be identified during a scheduled inspection. DCC is not "on call" to respond to noise complaints, but schedules an inspection within a few days of the complaint.
If a noise violation is found, DCC issues a Notice of Violation, which provides responsible parties with a certain timeline to comply. Failure to comply with a Notice of Violation could result in legal action to seek civil penalties or injunctive relief.
The Police Department investigates complaints of noise from animals, people, motor vehicles and/or instruments (which includes any device which produces or amplifies sound, such as a radio) that is plainly audible and discernable in any other person's residential dwelling with the doors and windows closed. The Police Department can also respond to complaints regarding noise occurring at a prohibited time of day. But, unlike DCC, the Police can respond to a noise complaint while the noise is occurring, such as at night, early morning, and the weekends. The Police Department does not respond to complaints regarding noise regulated by decibel level.
If a noise violation is found, the responsible party will be notified of the violation and directed to comply. Failure to comply could result in criminal prosecution.
The Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) investigates complaints concerning trash pick-up outside of the allowable hours. If a trash or recycling truck is loading or unloading materials in your residential neighborhood before 6 a.m. or after 9 p.m., they are in violation.