Arlington noise ordinance proposals draws cheers and jeers

Listen: residents spurred new noise ordinance

wtopstaff | November 15, 2014 4:22 am

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WASHINGTON — The Arlington County Board has adopted a new noise ordinance, which was spurred by complaints by residents who say they are fed up with bar revelers and parties in the county’s “mixed use” areas that have late-night businesses and residences existing side-by-side.

The law, which goes into effect July 1, bars any person from “yelling, wailing, shouting or screaming” from 2 to 6 a.m. seven days a week. The ordinance deals particularly with mixed-use districts: between midnight and 9 a.m., any group of four or more found yelling, wailing, shouting or screaming that can be heard inside a residence more than 100 feet away, will be violating the law. For residential districts, the new law is even more stringent.

The changes were pushed mostly by residents in the Ballston and Clarendon neighborhoods, where there are a number of late-night establishments just blocks from homes. Just this week, the board was looking into limiting the extent of pub crawls, which have been blamed on an increase of local police calls.

But not everyone is happy with the outcome. According to a story on, the email listserv of the Clarendon-Courthouse Civic Association (CCCA) “erupted (Friday) in protest” over the final ordinance changes, which were approved by the board on Saturday. Critics say they do not go far enough, particularly in regard to residents in mixed use areas, and cater too much to the businesses in the area that didn’t want the changes in the first place.

Read more on, here.

“Clarendon is a vibrant mixed use and walkable community and as a neighborhood we generally expect a certain amount of noise related to the restaurants and traffic after those hours,” CCCA President Adam Thocher told “However the idea that continued smart growth of our neighborhood is dependent on little to no protection from noise 24/7 is incredible”

WTOP reporter Michelle Murillo contributed to this report

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