City seeks public comment on proposed amendments to noise ordinance
The City of Virginia Beach is inviting the public to share their opinions on proposed amendments to the City's noise ordinance. The City Council will hold a public comment session and potentially vote on the proposed amendments on Tuesday, June 7, at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chamber, Building 3, 2403 Courthouse Drive, 2nd Floor.
To register to speak, contact the City Clerk's Office at 757-385-4303.
Residents may also submit written comments in advance to www.speakupVB.com from May 27-June 6.
In 2009, the City Council adopted the current version of the noise ordinance after the Virginia Supreme Court declared the City's previous noise ordinance unconstitutionally vague. The current noise ordinance system relies on sound pressure levels measured by noise meters.
The current noise ordinance can be found here or at https://library.municode.com/va/virginia_beach/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=CO_CH23OF_ARTIINO.
The proposed changes to the noise ordinance would streamline enforcement with reduced reliance on specialized sound meter equipment. The proposed ordinance would establish a hybrid penalty structure, imposing civil penalties for some violations while preserving criminal penalties for repeat or severe violations.
A key change in the noise ordinance is the addition of a "plainly audible" standard, where certain sounds that are plainly audible inside an individual's home or beyond a specified distance from its source would constitute violations. Sound is plainly audible if it can be heard by the human ear with or without a medically approved hearing aid or device. A violation of the plainly audible standard would result in a civil violation punishable by a fine of $250 for a first offense. Excessive noise as determined by decibel readings will continue to be violations under the proposed ordinance and may result in misdemeanor charges.
The public may review the draft ordinance and the City Attorney's presentation to City Council explaining the proposed changes at www.vbgov.com/noise.