November, 2004 work session on noise by the Planning
Commission, changes to the noise ordinance were discussed.
In short, the Planning Commission was concerned that the
current noise regulations, based upon permitted decibel
levels, were unworkable. Quite simply, the Fauquier County
zoning staff has neither the equipment nor the expertise to
measure decibel levels based upon octave ban frequencies as
set forth in the existing Zoning Ordinance.
Planning Commission directed staff to place a noise
ordinance text amendment on the Planning Commissionís agenda
at the first possible date. The draft ordinance that
resulted was almost verbatim the County Code Noise
Ordinance found at Fauquier County Code, Chapter 13.5.
Principal differences between the County Code and the
proposed zoning text amendment are underlined.
proposed amendment deletes the current zoning ordinance
noise language which is based upon decibels and, except in
one instance, substitutes qualitative standards. This text
amendment was initiated by the Planning Commission on
January 27, 2005. On February 17, 2005 the Planning
Commission held a public hearing and kept open the public
comment period. On April 26, 2005 the Planning Commission
held a work session and requested another public hearing for
their May meeting. Another public hearing was held on May
26, 2005. Following the hearing, the Planning Commission
deferred action until its meeting in June. On June 30, 2005,
the attached ordinance was unanimously recommended to the
Board of Supervisors. Throughout the lengthy process,
various changes were made in response to public comments.
of Supervisors held a public hearing on the proposed
amendment on August 11, 2005. The Board of Supervisors left
the public hearing open and continued the matter until the
August meeting, several Board members expressed concern
about going to a qualitative standard for measuring
violations. Subsequently, County staff contacted a sound
expert for an informal quote on what it would cost to
purchase a sound meter and calibration equipment and train
County staff in the use of such equipment. The informal
quote was $ 7,500. The expert also informed the County that
the current sound ordinance is out of date and based upon
antiquated sound measuring devices. Thus, if a decibel
standard is continued, extra funds will be necessary for a
consultant to assist in updating the ordinance.