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Thread: Sussex County proposed noise ordinance prohibits all firearm discharge on Sunday

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    Sussex County proposed noise ordinance prohibits all firearm discharge on Sunday

    Sussex Cunty tries to ban Sunday Hunting by banning almost any firearm discharge on Sunday through a new noise ordinance.


    SUSSEX COUNTY, VIRGINIA
    BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
    WHEREAS, the Supreme Court of Virginia in Tanner v. City of Virginia Beach (2009) held that a subjective “reasonable person” standard is unconstitutionally vague, and therefore invalid and unenforceable as a standard for enforcing a local noise ordinance; and

    WHEREAS, the ability of Sussex County citizens to peaceably enjoy their residences, schools, businesses and public places without the intrusion of loud, unnecessary noise is important to the overall quality of life in the county; and

    WHEREAS, the Board of Supervisors directed the County Administrator to develop, in cooperation with the County Attorney, Sheriff, and Commonwealth Attorney, a noise ordinance that would be in the best interests of the citizens of Sussex County and would also comport with the requirements established by the Virginia Supreme Court; and

    WHEREAS, the Board of Supervisors has held a public hearing to receive citizen input on this matter; and

    WHEREAS, Senate Bill 246, sponsored by Senator John Watkins, grants localities civil penalty authority for noise ordinance violations and was enacted into law by the General Assembly on July 1, 2010, (See Va. Code Ann. Section 15.2-980).

    NOW THEREFORE BE IT ORDAINED that the Sussex County Board of Supervisors hereby adopts a Sussex County Noise Ordinance in its entirety as follows:

    Sussex County Noise Ordinance

    Loud Noise Prohibited.

    Section 1. Declaration of policy

    It is hereby declared to be the public policy of the county to promote an environment for its citizens free from noise that jeopardizes their health or welfare or degrades the quality of life.

    Section 2. Definitions

    The following words, when used in this ordinance shall have the meaning assigned to them in this section:
    1 hr · Like
    Matt OBrien “Plainly Audible” means any sound that can be heard clearly by a person using his or her unaided hearing faculties.

    “Residential” refers to single unit, two-unit, and multi-unit dwellings, and residential areas of planned residential zoning district classifications, as set out in the zoning ordinance of Sussex County.

    Section 3. Loud Noises Prohibited.

    The following acts, or the causing or permitting thereof, are declared to be unlawful loud noises, but this enumeration shall not be deemed to be exclusive:

    1. Noise generally.

    The creation of any noise between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. (a) in such a manner as to permit sound to be heard inside the confines of the dwelling unit, house or apartment of another person; or (b) in such a manner as to be plainly audible at a distance of 200 feet or more from its source.

    2. Radios, television sets, musical instruments, and similar devices. The using, operating or permitting to be played, any radio, musical instrument, record, tape, compact disc player, loudspeaker or other machine or similar device for the producing or reproducing of sound between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

    a. in such a manner as to permit sound to be heard inside the confines of the dwelling unit, house or apartment of another person; or

    b. in such a manner as to be plainly audible at a distance of 50 (fifty) feet or more from its source.

    3. Horns, whistles, etc.. The sounding or permitting the sounding of any horn, whistle or other auditory sounding device on or in any motor vehicle on any public right-of-way or public property, except when necessary as a warning of danger.

    4. Loudspeakers, public address systems and sound trucks. The using, operating or permitting the operation of any loudspeaker, public address system, mobile sound vehicle or similar device amplifying sound therefrom for any purpose between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. in such a manner as to permit sound to be heard inside the confines of the dwelling unit, house or apartment of another person.

    5. Explosive, fireworks and similar devices; discharge of firearms on Sundays. Using or firing any fireworks without a fireworks permit, explosives or similar devices which create impulsive sound between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. in such a manner as to permit sound to be heard inside the confines of the dwelling unit, house or apartment of another person. In addition to any other prohibitions contained in this ordinance, discharge of any firearm between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and10:00 p.m. on any Sunday in such a manner as to permit sound to be heard inside the confines of the dwelling unit, house or apartment of another person or as to be plainly audible at a distance of 200 feet or more from its source. For the purposes of this ordinance, "firearm" means any weapon that will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel single or multiple projectiles by the action of an explosion of a combustible material.

    6. Lawn Care Equipment. Creating noise in residential areas between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. in connection with lawn care, leaf removal, gardening, tree maintenance or removal and other landscaping, lawn or timbering activities, except for certain commercial activities set out Section 4.

    7. Large party gatherings. Allowing noise between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. that is audible inside the confines of the dwelling unit, house or apartment of another person or at fifty (50) or more feet from the source when the noise is generated from a gathering of ten or more people.

    8. Trash collection vehicles. The collection of trash or refuse in residential use districts between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. in such a manner as to be plainly audible at any residence 100 (one hundred) or more yards away.

    9. Vehicles. Operating or using a motor vehicle or motorcycle in such a manner that creates a mechanical or exhaust noise that is plainly audible at a distance of two hundred (200) feet or more from the vehicle. Operating sound amplifying equipment in a motor vehicle at a volume sufficient to be plainly audible at a distance of one hundred (100) feet from the vehicle.

    10. Schools, public buildings, places of worship, and hospitals. Creating any noise on the grounds of any school, court, public building, place of worship or hospital in a manner that is plainly audible within such school, court, public building, place of worship or hospital and interferes with the operation of the institution.

    Section 4. Exceptions.

    The provisions of this ordinance shall have no application to any sound generated by any of the following:

    1. Sound which is necessary for the protection or preservation of property, including livestock and companion animals, or the health, safety, life or limb of any person.

    2. Radios, sirens, horns, and bells on police, fire, or other emergency response vehicles.

    3. Parades, permitted fireworks displays, school related activities, and other such public special events or public activities.

    4. (a) Hunting dogs. (b) Dogs responding to any person or animal on the property of the dog’s owner or custodian, when such presence poses a real or perceived threat to the animal or to the occupants of the property.

    5. Commercial forestry or timbering operation being conducted pursuant to a valid permit or license.

    6. Commercial landscaping operations not being conducted in a residential subdivision.

    7. Farming or agricultural operations.

    8. Locomotives and other railroad equipment.

    9. Aircraft.

    10. The striking of clocks.

    11. Church bells.

    12. Noise generated in connection with business being performed on industrial property.

    13. Noise generated by the operation or use of a sport shooting range if the range is in compliance with all ordinances relating to noise in effect at the time construction or operation of the range was approved, or at the time any application was submitted for the construction or operation of the range.

    Section 5. Noises Authorized by Permit

    The provisions of this ordinance shall not apply to any noise that is otherwise specifically authorized by a valid special exception, conditional use, or other permit approved by the county.

    Section 6. Penalty for violation of Ordinance; civil penalties.

    (1) Any person violating any of the provisions of this Ordinance shall be deemed guilty of a civil violation and shall be subject to a fine not exceeding $250 for the first offense and $500 for each subsequent offense. Each day of violation of any provision of this article shall be a separate offense.

    (2) The person operating or controlling a noise source shall be guilty of any violation caused by that source. If that cannot be determined, any owner, tenant, resident or manager physically present on the property where the violation is occurring is rebuttably presumed to be operating or controlling the noise source.

    Section 7. Enforcement.

    This ordinance shall be enforced by the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office, who shall issue a written civil summons on a form approved by the court, to any person found to be in violation of the provisions contained herein.

    Section 8. Private remedies not affected.

    Nothing in this ordinance precludes a citizen from bringing a private nuisance claim or any other similar action in court against any individual related to noise.

    Be it further Ordained that this ordinance, as approved by the Board of Supervisors upon due consideration and after all required public notice and hearing, shall take effect immediately this ___ day of ____________, 2014.
    ______________________________
    C. Eric Fly, Sr., Chairman
    Board of Supervisors
    County of Sussex, Virginia
    ATTEST:
    __________________________
    Thomas E. Harris,
    Clerk to the Board
    Last edited by 67GT390FB; 04-24-2014 at 02:30 PM.

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    Don't u get a hunting permit? Its an exception I think ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    Don't u get a hunting permit? Its an exception I think ...
    Don't you live in Connecticut? You are out of your league and lost in the VIRGINIA forum, I know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by va_tazdad View Post
    Don't you live in Connecticut? You are out of your league and lost in the VIRGINIA forum, I know.
    He's out of his league there too Taz. That's why he's here. He just figures us dumb hicks will fall for his BS!

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    I think VCDL has been made aware of this and since his buddy Kirby has stepped over the line from hunting to most shooting, maybe Philip will get involved.

    Anyone betting?

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    Lone Star Veteran DrMark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    I've been to VA and never met anyone as stupid as you ...
    That didn't take long... true colors and all.
    Last edited by DrMark; 04-24-2014 at 11:08 PM.

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    Can't we be adults?

    μολών λαβέ
    Be active.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    Don't u get a hunting permit? Its an exception I think ...
    A hunting license is not generally required to hunt property you own.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.” Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    What did our Brilliant current Secretary of State - inheritor of the long line of SOS's - from Jefferson thru 'too many accomplishments to list-Hillary' down to toady's (sp) 'do you know who I am' 'I served in Vietnam' 'have the hat to prove I was in Cambodia' and 'I've got a purple heart' John Kerry say....

    'Can I get me a huntin' permit here?'......

    Maybe he'll be visiting the Great Dismal Swamp in his sailboat and shooting turkeys off the deck....
    Last edited by HPmatt; 04-25-2014 at 12:29 AM.
    “Men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them"
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    Regular Member wrearick's Avatar
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    back to the topic, wouldn't the action taken by sussex (at least on firearms) be prohibitted by the state law prohibbiting localities from being more restrictive than the state law?

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrearick View Post
    back to the topic, wouldn't the action taken by sussex (at least on firearms) be prohibitted by the state law prohibbiting localities from being more restrictive than the state law?
    There is no such law.

    Perhaps you are thinking of 15.2-915, which reserves to the General Assembly all control over "... the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carrying, storage or transporting of firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof..."

    It's easy to get it mixed up, but there is no provision for local ordinances on these topics that are "less restrictive." Localities may not enact any laws regarding that list - at all. Whether they are more or less restrictive does not matter.

    And of course, the point is that the discharge of firearms is not covered, localities are free to make laws restricting the discharge of firearms, as long as they keep to within the boundaries in place due to the fact that Virginia is a Dillon Rule state.

    TFred

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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    There is no such law.

    Perhaps you are thinking of 15.2-915, which reserves to the General Assembly all control over "... the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carrying, storage or transporting of firearms, ammunition, or components or combination thereof..."

    It's easy to get it mixed up, but there is no provision for local ordinances on these topics that are "less restrictive." Localities may not enact any laws regarding that list - at all. Whether they are more or less restrictive does not matter.

    And of course, the point is that the discharge of firearms is not covered, localities are free to make laws restricting the discharge of firearms, as long as they keep to within the boundaries in place due to the fact that Virginia is a Dillon Rule state.

    TFred
    I think he's talking about the Dillon Rule TFred but counties are allowed to enact zoning ordinances which this will probably fall under. Most counties have some kind of noise ordnance and the only ones I'm aware that were struck down, were because they were unconstitutionally vague. This one is pretty specific.

    They aren't saying you can't hunt on Sunday, just saying it has to be quiet. Bow is fine, suppressor is fine.

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    I think he's talking about the Dillon Rule TFred but counties are allowed to enact zoning ordinances which this will probably fall under. Most counties have some kind of noise ordnance and the only ones I'm aware that were struck down, were because they were unconstitutionally vague. This one is pretty specific.

    They aren't saying you can't hunt on Sunday, just saying it has to be quiet. Bow is fine, suppressor is fine.
    I'm under the impression that zoning controls how you use land, not what you can do on it. Perhaps a small distinction, but still clear. Shooting is an activity. I may be wrong or incomplete, but I don't think zoning has much to do with regulation of shooting. I would think zoning controls building a shooting range, not the act of shooting itself.

    I'm certainly not an expert!

    TFred

    ETA: See AG Opinion from 2013 regarding the use of electoral districts for land use matters that are supposed to be regulated by zoning. Marginal, but interesting
    Last edited by TFred; 04-25-2014 at 12:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    I'm under the impression that zoning controls how you use land, not what you can do on it. Perhaps a small distinction, but still clear. Shooting is an activity. I may be wrong or incomplete, but I don't think zoning has much to do with regulation of shooting. I would think zoning controls building a shooting range, not the act of shooting itself.

    I'm certainly not an expert!

    TFred

    ETA: See AG Opinion from 2013 regarding the use of electoral districts for land use matters that are supposed to be regulated by zoning. Marginal, but interesting
    § 15.2-917. Applicability of local noise ordinances to certain sport shooting ranges.

    A. No local ordinance regulating any noise shall subject a sport shooting range to noise control standards more stringent than those in effect at its effective date. The operation or use of a sport shooting range shall not be enjoined on the basis of noise, nor shall any person be subject to action for nuisance or criminal prosecution in any matter relating to noise resulting from the operation of the range, if the range is in compliance with all ordinances relating to noise in effect at the time construction or operation of the range was approved, or at the time any application was submitted for the construction or operation of the range.

    B. Any sport shooting range operating or approved for construction within the Commonwealth, which has been condemned through an eminent domain proceeding by any condemning entity, and which relocates to another site within the same locality within two years of the final condemnation order, shall not be subjected to any noise control standard more stringent than those in effect at the effective date of such sport shooting range.

    C. For purposes of this section, "sport shooting range" means an area or structure designed for the use of rifles, shotguns, pistols, silhouettes, skeet, trap, black powder, or any other similar sport shooting.

    For purposes of this section, "effective date" means the time the construction or operation of the sports shooting range initially was approved, or at the time any application was submitted for the construction or operation of the sports shooting range, whichever is earliest.

    (1990, cc. 541, 577, § 15.1-29.20; 1997, c. 587; 2005, c. 544; 2006, c. 704.)
    here is where the county gets it's authority
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    Here is where the county gers it's authority § 15.2-980. Civil penalties for violations of noise ordinances.

    Quote:Any locality may, by ordinance, adopt a uniform schedule of civil penalties for violations of that locality's noise ordinance. This provision shall not apply to noise generated in connection with the business being performed on industrial property. Civil fines will not exceed $250 for the first offense and $500 for each subsequent offense. The provisions of this section shall not apply to railroads. No ordinance of any locality shall apply to sound emanating from any area permitted by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy or any division thereof.

    (2010, cc. 501, 788.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    I think he's talking about the Dillon Rule TFred but counties are allowed to enact zoning ordinances which this will probably fall under. Most counties have some kind of noise ordnance and the only ones I'm aware that were struck down, were because they were unconstitutionally vague. This one is pretty specific.

    They aren't saying you can't hunt on Sunday, just saying it has to be quiet. Bow is fine, suppressor is fine.
    And it doesnt say you cant shoot... it just says someone needs to complain about it...
    . In addition to any other prohibitions contained in this ordinance, discharge of any firearm between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and
    10:00 p.m. on any Sunday in such a manner as to permit sound to be heard inside the confines of the dwelling unit, house or apartment of another person or as to be plainly audible at a distance of 200 feet or more from its source.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AJG View Post
    And it doesnt say you cant shoot... it just says someone needs to complain about it...
    . In addition to any other prohibitions contained in this ordinance, discharge of any firearm between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and
    10:00 p.m. on any Sunday in such a manner as to permit sound to be heard inside the confines of the dwelling unit, house or apartment of another person or as to be plainly audible at a distance of 200 feet or more from its source.
    To be honest, it's a pretty slick dodge around Sunday Hunting. I see a preemption bill coming next session because this might catch on with other counties.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Just to bring it up to date...kind of. AJG went to a semi private meeting last night with the Chairman.
    About 50 people showed from what I heard. I have no idea how many were locals but about 20 spoke.

    As usual, there's a hidden world in this but no changes were promised. The Chairman did say the law didn't prevent shooting or hunting on Sunday in general....Of course, the ordinance doesn't say that and I'm not going to get into legislative intent or legal construction here. Everyone knows the drill.

    I discussed the emails the Chair had gotten, many from VCL members, but the percentage of locals was very low and that's all he's really concerned with.

    The actual BOS meeting is on the 15th.
    Last edited by peter nap; 05-01-2014 at 12:38 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    To be honest, it's a pretty slick dodge around Sunday Hunting. I see a preemption bill coming next session because this might catch on with other counties.
    Where I am genuinely (for once) at a loss is, who in god's name gives a **** about Sunday hunting except for hunters?

    Who are these people that are so bothered that somebody might hunt on Sunday that they feel a pressing need to pass local ordinances to prevent it?

    I ask so that I can ensure these individuals are never invited to any of my parties.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marshaul View Post
    Where I am genuinely (for once) at a loss is, who in god's name gives a **** about Sunday hunting except for hunters?

    Who are these people that are so bothered that somebody might hunt on Sunday that they feel a pressing need to pass local ordinances to prevent it?

    I ask so that I can ensure these individuals are never invited to any of my parties.
    In this case it isn't just hunting, it's shooting also.

    Who cares other than hunters.....PETA, The Humane Society, other anti hunting groups, Anti Gun Groups, Kirby Burch and dog hunters, to name a few.

    Do like I do and just keep a list of people you don't hate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    A hunting license is not generally required to hunt property you own.
    Good point ( I was thinking outside own property ~ from Chgo, 1/8-1/4 acre lots lol)... I hunt ants...with my 50 cal Barrett ...

    Another unconstitutional law of course...

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