Randolph West is a subdivision of Randolph in Richmond, Virginia. This website serves Randolph and surrounding areas. It is provided by the Randolph West Homeowners Association.

Richmond Noise Ordinance Ruled Unconstitutional

The Richmond noise ordinance has been a controversial topic in this area for some time. Whilst some members of the community are keen to have restrictions placed in noise levels, others feel that this is unconstitutional. Until recently, residents have been required to comply with the ordinance, but now it seems that could be about to change.

This will undoubtedly have the largest impact upon those who live within the city itself. Of course, having invested in housing within this area, as well as home insurance, maintenance costs, and general living expenses, most local residents will be keen to make sure Richmomnd remains a pleasant place to live. However, it seems that some amendments to the noise ordinance rule are needed in order to ensure that it remains within the laws set out by the constitution.

Since August of last year, Richmond’s noise ordinance has come under heavy scrutiny after a VCU professor was slapped with a hefty fine shortly after the 11PM noise “cut off”. His lawyer, who represented him for free, said the ordinance itself was out of line. And Today, the Richmond General District Court agreed, and ruled the ordinance unconstitutional.

Richmond City Councilman, Charles R. Samuels, had this response:

“Today, Richmond’s Noise law was found to be unconstitutional by the Richmond City General District Court. While I am disappointed in the outcome, I respect the judge’s decision and appreciate the efforts and advocacy of both the Richmond Office of the City Attorney and the defendants’ attorneys.

The law was challenged in Richmond General District Court by a band that was disturbing their neighbors after 11:00 p.m. at night.  Today, the judge hearing the case found the current version of the law to be unconstitutionally overbroad and that it promotes religion and is therefore in violation of the First Amendment.  He also explicitly rejected the defendants’ proposition that “plainly audible to any [other] person” is too vague a standard, upholding the “plainly audible” standard.

… Since April I have been meeting with a workgroup to craft a new noise ordinance which I hope to introduce in December or January, 2011.”

As a homeowner in the city, I have a few suggestions for the city’s new noise policy:

  1. Make the start time later on the weekends and earlier during the week.
  2. Include specifics about loud music blaring from cars.
  3. Don’t exclude “religious” sounds.

Obviously, there needs to be a strict noise law on the books in the city. As someone who has been kept up by loud parties blocks away from my house, I hope the city gets something on the books that will stick.

Posted: November 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: News, Richmond City, Richmond City Council | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments »