Fairfax Supervisors, Residents to Revisit Noise Rules

Sign at dog park at Baron CameronIf your dog barks late at night you and your neighbors complain, you could get a ticket under proposed new Fairfax County noise ordinance changes.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will vote on Tuesday to authorize a public hearing on changes to the noise ordinance that will aim to guarantee residents a little peace and quiet at night.

The public hearing will be held May 12 at 4 p.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center. If approved, the changes will go into effect the next day.

Here are some of the changes county staff seeks to make:

Activities on School and Recreational Grounds — Advertise a decibel range of 60 to 72 dBA for limiting the maximum noise level for cumulative noise, when loudspeakers are used.

“People Noise” — Begin prohibition on noise that can be heard in residential districts (read: party noise) at 11:00 p.m. on weekends and the day before a holiday.

Dog Parks — Begin dog park hours at 8:00 a.m. on weekends and holidays. This may be good news to residents of Longwood Grove in Reston, who in 2014 filed an injunction against the dog park at Baron Cameron Park, saying the excessive noise begins at 5:30 a.m.

Animal Noise — Any owner or person in control of any animal that allows or otherwise permits any such animal to  bark, howl, bay, meow, squawk, quack, crow or make such other sound between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. that is plainly audible in any other residence with doors and windows closed could be in violation. There are exceptions and time rules. Read more details on the updated propoal.

Operation of Power Lawn Equipment — Permit the use of power lawn equipment, except leaf blowers, beginning at 5:30 a.m. for golf course maintenance when located more than 50 yards from a residence.

Trash Collection — No changes to current proposal.

Maximum Sound Levels — No changes to current proposal.

See all changes, exceptions and conditions in this chart from the county.

The county is seeking to use a proposed new Noise Ordinance to replace the current Noise Ordinance and the provisions that were put in place in 2013.

In late 2013, the supervisors adopted the Excessive Sound Generation in Residential Districts provisions that allowed police to ticket a resident with misdemeanor charges if neighbors complain about noise.

In early 2014, county staff presented the first draft of a new Noise Ordinance (Chapter 108.1 of the County Code) to a Board of Supervisors’ committee.

The county held a series of public hearings in 2014, and in February 2015 developed an updated draft noise ordinance amendment and summary chart and requested guidance on several issues.

Baron Cameron Dog Park/file photo

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