Richmond noise ordinance could see another change - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Richmond noise ordinance could see another change

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond's noise ordinance could see yet another change, under a proposal from Mayor Dwight Jones.

The plan would require anyone who wants to play amplified music from their vehicle to get a permit and pay a $5 fee. It would impact businesses or cars with loudspeaker type amplifying devices, for example an ice cream truck.

"The ice cream truck's always known for the music. That's what gets the people outside," explained Billy Metzger, who owns several ice cream trucks as part of his business, Cool Concessions.

Playing that music may soon cost the truck owner — if Richmond decides to charge a fee for permission to play the music. The ordinance suggestion has been filed and Mayor Dwight Jones is listed as it's patron.

"The government's always trying to get small business to succeed, and to try to put more tax on 'em on, something silly like a noise ordinance is crazy," Metzger told us.

That fee would also apply to any business playing music, as long as someone walking by or outside the busIness could hear the music.

"If you can hear that music on anybody else's property, even the store that's adjacent to it that's closed at night, well then you have to get a permit," our legal analyst Steve Benjamin explained to us as he was reading the noise ordinance suggestion.

Benjamin has challenged a Richmond noise ordinance before and has some concerns.  The ordinance has been a controversial subject for years. At one time, it was even struck down as unconstitutional.

"Now do they have to get a permit each day they want to play their music out on the sidewalk or patio? Who knows? You know?" said Benjamin.

"If it's a Richmond thing, it would deter trucks from working in the city and send them to other places which you know is lost revenue for the city," Metzger added.

The decision could influence how he runs his business.

This amendment would still need council approval. Officials we contacted with the city told us it addresses "Legitimate Mercantile Needs."

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