Shh. New noise rules start in Fairfax County

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated. It was first posted Nov. 18, 2015.

WASHINGTON — It’s time to pipe down in Fairfax County.

New rules regulating noise take effect Feb. 17.

Evening noise restrictions between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. cover amplified music, loudspeakers at athletic fields and more.

Overly loud or extensive animal noises, including barking, howling, meowing and squawking, also are prohibited between those hours.

In summer months, when daylight lasts well into the evening, lawn mowing won’t be allowed. Noise restrictions for lawn mowers and power equipment begin at 9 p.m.

Early morning start times for allowable lawn maintenance vary depending on distance from dwellings and golf course proximity, but leaf blower use is prohibited everywhere before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m.

The evening cutoff point for dog park noise is dusk. Morning noise from dog parks is prohibited before 7 a.m. on weekdays and before 8 a.m. on weekends and federal holidays.

Noise from activities such as unloading trucks and fixing cars are banned between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.  Outdoor collection of trash or recyclable materials in residential areas and/or within 100 yards of a home is prohibited between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Some noises aren’t subject to the new rules. They include generators used in emergencies, snow removal, Metro trains and first responder sirens.

County rules pertaining to noise were rewritten because a “reasonable person” standard for violations was declared too subjective by the Virginia Supreme Court.

Fairfax County noise ordinance violators can be charged either civilly or criminally. Criminal convictions would be Class 2 misdemeanors, which could result in a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to six months in jail.

Civil penalties are $250 for first offenses and $500 thereafter.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect different times for trash collection noise.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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