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 is hosting a public comment session on proposed amendments to the City's noise ordinance on Tuesday,  June 28, from 2 – 4 p.m. in Building 19 at the Municipal Center. 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 to July 7. 

Background
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. 

Proposed Changes

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 City Attorney explains details of the proposed changes in the video below.

Share Your Thoughts In Person

The June 28 Council Workshop will be cancelled as Vice Mayor Rosemary Wilson, Council Member Aaron Rouse, City Manager Patrick Duhaney and Deputy City Manager/Director of Economic Development Taylor Adams will will be out of town for an awards ceremony. In lieu of the cancelled workshop, the City will host a community meeting on June 28 from 2 – 4 p.m. in Building 19 at the Municipal Center for public comment on the proposed amendments to the City’s noise ordinance. Council Members John Moss and Guy Tower will attend the meeting. If you can't make it to the meeting, comments will be accepted online at www.speakupVB.com through July 7.

Proposed Amendments to Noise Ordinance

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