On Tuesday Fredericksburg City Council took the first of two votes on what is being called the “Good Neighbor Ordinance.” The second and final vote is planned May 11.
The ordinance establishes a maximum noise level in the Downtown Business District between 7 a.m. and midnight. Currently there are no restrictions in place downtown during daytime hours. The new standard is “Plainly Audible at 200 feet.” The “Plainly Audible” standard goes to 100 feet between midnight and 7 a.m. That same standard is in place at all hours throughout the remainder of the City.
Businesses are able to apply for special event permits to exceed those standards.
It’s important to note that the Police Department does not actively seek out violations of the ordinance, nor do officers plan to do so in the future. Rather, police respond to complaints and work with violators to correct the situation before issuing charges if possible. The Police Department would prefer to never have to use this ordinance to charge anyone, and it believes that downtown Fredericksburg can remain a vibrant place with this ordinance in place.
The City worked with Fredericksburg VA Main Street on the changes and considered research from other cities on how noise issues are handled.