Noise, Dogs and Donation Boxes Back on Supervisors’ Agenda Tuesday

Fairfax CountyThe Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will revisit three ordinances that have been discussed for much of 2015.

The county is seeking to enact new rules on noise, tethering of pets and clothing collection boxes.

On the noise ordinance, residents had concerns at public hearings last May and June about acceptable noise levels and the methodology to measure them in new noise rules that cover everything from garbage collection to loudspeakers to lawn mowing. See the entire proposal on this chart from the county.

Some of the revisions since last spring:

County staff revised the “impulse sound” definition to include the duration of the sound and the measurement methodology.

Revised the daytime plainly audible standard for animal noise by extending the amount of time the sound can be heard in any 10-minute period from two minutes to five minutes.

Distinguished between daytime and night time maximum sound levels in mixed-use areas by lowering the maximum allowable night time sound levels from 65 to 60 dBA and lowering the maximum night time impulse sound levels from 100 to 80 dBA.

Revised the provisions for the use of loudspeakers in conjunction with activities on recreational grounds. After much discussion, the county said that noise from high school athletic events will follow the same ordinance as the county in general: that all mounted loudspeakers would be prohibited at night (from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.)

Criminal penalties for violation, a Class 2 misdemeanor, can be include jail time (up to six months) and/or a $1,000 fine. There can also be civil penalties of $250 (and $500 for subsequent offenses).

Citizens can apply for waivers to the ordinance.

The drop-off box issue was discussed by the supervisors in June, but voting was deferred in order to give staff time to respond to questions.

The proposed amendment provides standards (i.e., location, number) for the boxes, which are commonly used by charities to collect clothing for needy families.

Finally, the dog tethering public hearing, originally scheduled for Oct. 20, was deferred until this week.

At issue: How long is too long to keep a dog tied up in a yard? This proposed amendment adopts a one cumulative hour tethering limit in a 24-
hour period. The provisions are incorporated into a cruelty to animals ordinance based on the current version of the cruelty to animals provisions in the Code of Virginia.

The public hearings on all three subjects begin after 3 p.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center. Sign up to speak in advance on the Fairfax County website.

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