Proposed noise ordinance in Richmond

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Pipe down Richmond, if not you could face jail time. A proposed city ordinance will make it easier for police to crack down on noise complaints.

Jonathan Tunner installed special windows to act as a buffer for outside noise. He's all for a new law to help make things a little quieter in the city, especially The Fan.

"If you can find a way to make it friendly for the renters, and also for the families who live here as well, I think it's probably a good idea," said Tunner.

Richmond councilman Bruce Tyler said the city's current noise ordinance had to be reworked after a decision by Virginia's Supreme Court.

Last April, the court ruled Virginia Beach's noise ordinance was unconstitutionally vague. Richmond's has similar wording.

"This ordinance puts teeth into the law, so the police officers can have something to enforce," said Tyler.

Under the proposal, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., if you blast your radio, television, play your guitar or piano inside your house and someone else fifty feet away can hear it, that person can call the cops and you might be ticketed. In the overnight hours, such sounds should only be heard by the person making the noise.

"There were about eight thousand complaints of noise in both 2008 and 2009, resulting in 2009 over 100 arrests," said John Gilbody.

Gilbody lives in The Fan and is also on the safety committee for the Fan District Association.

"If asking them to be quiet doesn't work ,which unfortunately it doesn't in many cases, that there is a statute or rather an ordinance that can be used to prosecute that individual," said Gilbody.

Violators could be charged with a Class 2 Misdemeanor that carries a sentence of up to six months in jail. Council will take up the ordinance at its next meeting on the February 22.

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