Silence is golden: Asheville City Council considers stricter noise rules

Next Tuesday, Nov. 13, Asheville City Council will vote on making the city’s noise ordinance more restrictive.

The new rules add shouting, yelling and parties to the list of “activities that shall not be engaged in so as to cause a noise disturbance on neighboring premises.” The proposed changes will also make it easier to penalize noise that takes place near any residentially zoned area or occurs from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.

The ordinance changes adds a number of other factors — such as whether the noise is amplified or happens frequently —  to a list police officers can use to determine if they should issue a citation.

The new rules come after some residents complained about noise in their neighborhoods, including sounds coming from some local businesses, and said that enforcement isn’t strict enough. The city conducted an online survey in August and also held an informational meeting. The survey got 1,045 responses.

The proposal keeps the old ordinance’s “reasonable person” standard, rather than adopting a formal decibel measurement, as some citizens had requested. While noting that the standard is subjective, the staff report on the issue cites the cost and training required to make decibel measurements. The changes, city staff’s report claims, give the community a “clearer understanding of what constitutes a noise disturbance.”

Asheville City Council meets at 5 p.m., Nov. 13, on the second floor of City Hall.


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