‘Way too early to shut music down’: Leesburg will reconsider its ‘restrictive’ noise law

The Town of Leesburg in Loudoun County, Virginia, will reconsider a controversial local noise law that forces bands to stop playing live music in the evening hours.

During a meeting Tuesday, the Leesburg Town Council voted to consider amending the ordinance, which prohibits amplified sound after 8 p.m.

“Sound amplifying equipment means any machine or device for the amplification of the human voice, music or any other sound,” the ordinance reads.

The law has been on the books for the past decade, and several residents told the council that it’s time for a change to help the downtown area flourish.

“I’ve been living here for over 20 years and I’ve never seen the nightlife so vibrant,” said resident Jill Weiss. “It would be a real shame to stop that progress from moving forward by keeping the ordinance at 8 o’clock.”

Weiss said the law is unfair and inconsistent as it allows other loud noises — such as fireworks and construction equipment — until 10 p.m.

“These noises are permissible for two hours after the bands have to stop playing,” Weiss told the council. “That doesn’t make sense to me.”

Steve Skemp, an employee with the local business MacDowell Brew Kitchen, agreed that a change would help the town’s image and economy.

“I think it needs to be amended to support the emerging downtown business district that appeals to both residents and visitors alike,” Skemp said. “It’s hard to find another jurisdiction in the surrounding area that has such a restrictive time frame.”

Another person who spoke was Loudoun County Treasurer Roger Zurn, who called the ordinance “antiquated.”

“I believe — and this is coming from a very old man — 8 o’clock is way too early to shut music down,” Zurn said. “I heard a couple younger people say that Leesburg has become cool again. And you know that kind of defines exactly what you should desire.”

The next step for council members will be to hold a public hearing on the matter to gather further input.

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