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Shhhh…excessive noise in Louisa will not be tolerated

Posted on Friday, December 27, 2013 at 9:00 am

How loud is too loud, and when does it become a nuisance? That’s the question that the Louisa County Board of Supervisors will wrangle with at its Monday, Jan. 6 public hearing.

Often a loaded topic, the issue has been tossed back and forth like a hot potato between the planning commission and board of supervisors since August, with no solid recommendations about what should be done.

Supervisors Troy Wade (Louisa district), Fitzgerald Barnes (Patrick Henry district) and Willie Gentry (Cuckoo district) favored completely removing the noise ordinance from the county’s code at the board’s November 18 meeting.

Gentry said that the majority of his constituents want the ordinance removed. Some lake residents have complained previously about what they describe as excessively loud motorboats.

Other board members said they could not support eliminating the ordinance altogether.

Supervisor Dan Byers (Jackson district) said an ordinance provides citizens an opportunity for mediation, while Richard Havasy (Green Springs district) felt that neighborhoods need the type of protection an ordinance would give.

Byers referred to an incident in Caroline County in 2004 in which a farmer was murdered when county officials didn’t step in and mediate a neighbor’s complaint.  While the murder had nothing to do with noise, it was actually a stray bull and a longtime feud that resulted in the killing, the example shows the level of anger that some neighbors can reach when their complaints are not addressed.

In a telephone interview, County Attorney Michael Lockaby explained that what started the noise ordinance discussion was the 2009 Tanner vs. Virginia Beach case in which the Supreme Court of Virginia struck down that city’s noise ordinance as being unconstitutionally vague. The ruling hindered local governments’ ability in the Commonwealth to enforce their ordinances as written.

To read the entire story, see the Dec. 26 edition of The Central Virginian.