Changes made to noise ordinance in Prince George County

PRINCE GEORGE, VA (WWBT) - Making too much noise could cost you big bucks! A new noise ordinance is now in effect in Prince George County.

The days of using decibel meters to measure noise are over. Now, it's all about time of day and distance.

County resident, Ray Gross, like his neighborhood quiet, especially after dark.

"I go to sleep around 9:30 or 10 at night and I don't like a lot of noise," said Gross.

He calls changes in the county's noise ordinance a good move. Now, if you pump up the volume be prepared to pay.

For example, if you're playing music in your home or car and someone who's at least 50 feet away can hear it -- then you're in violation. A sound level meter will no longer be used --  instead an officer's ears will take on the task.

"It has to be occurring in their presence in order for them to be able to enforce the ordinance," said Police County Police Chief, Ed Frankenstein.

If your dog barks once a minute for 10 consecutive minutes, between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., you could be cited. Mowing your lawn between those hours could also get you in trouble. There are exceptions including emergency vehicles, school athletic events and that's not all.

"The agriculture type of animals -- cows, horses, things of that nature will be exempt," said Frankenstein.

County Leaders say one of the biggest reasons for the changes to the ordinance was to make it less subjective.

"The language that was in the old ordinance was such that what may be reasonable to you may not be reasonable to someone else," said Frankenstein.

There's also a change in how much a person can be fined for violating the ordinance. Before, a judge decided. Now, it will cost you between $100 to $250.

Gross says he's hopeful the changes will encourage noisy neighbors countywide to pipe down. The board of supervisors voted unanimously to make the changes to the noise ordinance.

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