Council to hear first report on updated noise ordinance

Asheville city seal

One man’s noise is another man’s music. 

That’s one reason why decibel readings and limits were included in Asheville’s updated noise ordinance to settle what otherwise may be a subjective experience. During their meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 27, members of Asheville City Council will have the chance to learn whether the new regulations have proven effective as they hear the first update on the noise ordinance since it was approved by the governing body in July of last year.

The effort to update the city’s noise ordinance stretches back to 2018 but was delayed due to an impasse among different community factions concerning the specifics. The city settled the controversial issue last summer after approving updates that included the use of decibel readings to validate nonresidential noise complaints and daytime and evening sound limits, as well as requiring venues to apply for permits based on the number of events they host per year. The updated ordinance went into effect Sept. 15, 2021.

According to a presentation made available before the meeting, the overall number of noise complaints has remained consistent with the previous five years; residential neighbor noise remains the most frequent type of noise complaint. According to the data, the Development Services Department has closed 71% of noise complaints received since September 2021. The presentation also notes that chronic complaints and violations have decreased “due to objective decibel standards, clear prohibitions and staff outreach efforts.”

In other news

Council will participate in a public hearing to consider granting a $1.5 million Housing Trust Fund loan to Volunteers of America for the construction and rehab of a total of 104 apartment units for seniors located at 650 Caribou Road. If approved, Council will consider a conditional zoning of the property to allow for the expansion.

Council will also hear an update on Buncombe County’s bond program. No information or materials were available before press time.

Consent agenda and public comment 

The consent agenda for the meeting contains 11 items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. Highlights include the following:

  • A resolution approving the issuance of up to $20,000,000 in bonds by the Asheville Housing Authority for Battery Park, a subsidized senior housing community for residents aged 62 and older located at 1 Battle Square in downtown Asheville. 


  • A resolution authorizing the City Manager Debra Campbell to execute a $287,275 contract with Miller 3 Consulting Inc. to complete the fiscal year 2022-23 disparity study. The study aims to determine whether the city is excluding or limits participation by minority, women‐owned and disadvantaged business enterprises when awarding public contracts. 


  • A resolution authorizing the City Manager Cambell to enter into a $125,000 contract with Environmental Testing Solutions for a free lead testing program, available to any city of Asheville water customer.

Council members will gather in their chambers on the second floor of City Hall, 70 Court Plaza, starting at 5 p.m. The meeting will also be carried live on Charter/Spectrum Channel 193 and livestreamed through Asheville’s public engagement hub and on the city’s YouTube channel. Members of the public can also listen live by calling 855-925-2801, meeting code 4174.

Those who wish to speak during the meeting must attend in person and sign up at the door. No live remote comment will be permitted. Prerecorded voicemail messages can also be left at 855-925-2801, meeting code 4174; written comments can be sent to until 9 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 27. General comments for City Council can be sent at any time to

The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found here.


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7 thoughts on “Council to hear first report on updated noise ordinance

  1. Lou

    Does this mean there will finally be a consequence for the owners of the hundreds of “penis trucks” (you know, what men buy instead of an education because it makes them feel like a big man)?? Many are so high off the ground it is impossible to see around them and the noise is akin to an airplane flying over your head. It’s gross. You guys are gross.

  2. SpareChange

    The City gives itself a pat on the back in its analysis of certain data regarding the noise ordinance. However, it does not seem to really be looking at things very objectively or critically. Beyond extracting the results one wants from data, it is important to also ask, “What is the data NOT showing us?” A statement like, “The presentation also notes that chronic (noise) complaints and violations have decreased ‘due to objective decibel standards, clear prohibitions and staff outreach efforts,'” is just one example of where more critical thinking and deeper analysis is needed.

    I would like to see the data on actual enforcement – not just the numbers of complaints. How many complaints actually get responded to? How many actually result in the possible violations being assessed in real time, as they occur? How many complaints actually result in warnings or penalties against those violating the ordinance? Most importantly, how many who complained indicated that they were actually satisfied with the City’s response?

    But if counting complaints is their bellwether, they do not seem to give any credence to the possibility that lots of residents (especially the more than 15,000 permanent downtown residents) have just given up believing that the City is in any way serious about enforcement, have become alienated on the issue, and do not lodge complaints.

    Note: The linked presentation showing the City’s data on this issue, results in the message, “No preview available. File is in owner’s trash.” — Sounds like the report at least got filed in the proper place.

    • indy499

      Exactly. Complaints are down because the city staffers made it abundantly clear no action was to be taken. Noise industry frontwoman Roney got the noise “standards” jacked up so high that, for example, ear shattering noise from the private interest group Rabbit Rabbit was deemed acceptable. It, of course, violates all state, national and world health standards but who cares. Roney continues to argue it supports local musicians. Either she doesn’t know what the word local means, she’s never looked at the RR lineup or is just a private interest liar.

      • R.G.

        More locals should stand up to Salvage Station, one of the biggest constant offenders (and the reason my godson can’t get to sleep many nights). I enjoy music and like that venue, but how would musicians be negatively impacted if they lowered the volume and measured for bass (which, as I understand, isn’t being measured ‘because the machine to measure it costs too much to purchase…’)? Would fans really not show up to support musicians if the volume were lowered? Especially at Salvage Station where the guests themselves often wear earplugs and complain of the noise…

        • SpareChange

          The point about earplugs worn by concert goers is well taken. It is common on local social media, such as Asheville Reddit, and some local Facebook groups, that people advise concert goers to these venues to wear hearing protection.

          And yes, Roney was nothing less than arrogant and dismissive in her flippant responses to resident concerns about potential noise problems from Rabbit, Rabbit – cloaking it in support of “local musicians,” who are not the usual performers at these venues, or the sources of the noise problems.

        • ashevillain7

          At least Rabbit Rabbit and Salvage Station have a 10pm curfew. It could be worse … you could be in the county and have to deal with hearing worse music from Silverado’s which doesn’t have to shut down the noise until 11pm.

  3. MV

    Once again, the city appears willfully and woefully negligent and tone-deaf. What they should do is reach out to the people who have voiced concern and ask, “Have things improved? Or did you simply give up because our methods were so lame and ineffectual?”

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