Changes to Richmond’s noise ordinance stalled until September
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Changes to the City of Richmond’s noise ordinance have been stalled for now. On Wednesday, a City Council committee had its first review of the proposal.
“Making sure that we have the tools in the toolbox through this ordinance to enforce noise in the park that is not permitted,” said Kristen Nye, Richmond City Council.
The big change - a violation would no longer result in a criminal charge. Rather it would be a civil penalty. One city councilor suggested the city raise the fine for a first-time offense from $50 to $100, which also needs to be worked out.
“Because we don’t want people to continue making multiple offenses and I really want to see something that they know the city is pretty serious about enforcing the noise ordinance,” said Nye.
The ordinance would target amplified sounds or music coming from vehicles, which is also raising questions.
Overall, the new ordinance would limit sounds to 65 decibels around schools, religious establishments and health care facilities during most of the day. The changes would also limit the sounds from restaurants and street musicians to 80 decibels from outside the establishment or 75 decibels for outside music.
“We’re not trying to stop or be the party poopers. We just want to ensure that if it’s bleeding over into neighborhoods and the communities as it has in the past, that we have a recourse as a city and as park officials. Cause that’s another piece as well. It’s not only the Richmond police that can cite but it’s also individuals from Parks and Rec,” said Mike Jones, Richmond City Councilor.
The proposed changes would also lower levels after 11 p.m. However, if you get a permit from the city, say for a festival or other event, these sound regulations don’t apply.
The committee will review the changes again in September, before a full council vote.
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