Henrico County supervisors pass noise ordinance

By Laura Geller - bio | email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) –  It could soon get much quieter in Henrico County. Just like Richmond did Monday night, Henrico's Board of Supervisors passed a noise ordinance at its meeting Tuesday. Now, citizens could face fines if they get too loud.

That was not the first public hearing on this issue. After delaying a vote at a previous meeting, supervisors took up changes dealing with some of the concerns of citizens. Like many of the jurisdictions throughout the Commonwealth, Henrico now has new noise ordinance.

Henrico resident Lyman Flinn told supervisors Tuesday night, he doesn't need his neighbor's dogs as an early morning alarm clock.

"I love dogs," he said.  "I love dogs that can't bark or bite."

A provision dealing with noisy animals in the county was made for people like him. It puts restrictions on how often sounds like barking can occur and how loud they can be.

For Flinn and many of the people who addressed the board, the new noise ordinance doesn't go far enough.

"Barking is the same as riding around blowing your horn for no other reason except that you want to bother somebody or plague somebody or offend somebody you don't like," he said.

Board members said the regulations are put in place to protect citizens from unreasonable noises. They've limited things like parties, car stereos, even lawn care within certain distances from 11pm to 7 o'clock in the morning. Trash collection in residential areas, however, could start as early as 6am.

"Being awakened out of a dead sleep is one of the things I hate the most in life," said Henrico resident Seth Rosenthal.

After several work sessions, the board finally passed a finished product.

"No matter what we do and no matter where we draw this line it's not going to be drawn where it's going to satisfy everyone," said Assistant County Attorney Ben Thorp.

There's no jail time for violating the noise restrictions, but there are fines. They include: $500 for the first offense, $1000 for the second violence within five years and $2500 for the third offense in 10 years. Supervisors could tweak the restrictions if necessary.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved