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Thread: Proposed Caroline County Noise Ordinance

  1. #1
    Regular Member 2a4all's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
    Newport News, VA, ,

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    From VCDL Alert 4/25/2009:

    ************************************************** *******
    1. Caroline County considering enacting a new noise ordinance
    ************************************************** *******

    Caroline County members: Caroline County is considering a noise
    ordinance that could impinge on lawful shooting in the sparsely
    populated county. The ordinance will be up for public comment THIS
    TUESDAY, April 28th at 7:30 PM.

    The meeting will be in the auditorium of the Community Services
    Center, 17722 Richmond Turnpike.

    The previous code had a specific decibel level, but the proposed
    ordinance leaves it to a more vague "reasonable person" determination.

    Hunting is exempted, but not target shooting.

    Here is the agenda for Tuesday:

    Here is the Board member contact information:

    Wayne Acors (Chairman) (Madison District) 804-448 2631,

    David M. "Maxie" Rozell, Jr (Reedy Church District) 804-994-5559,

    Robert J. "Bobby" Popowicz (Port Royal District) 804-633-1015,

    Jeffery M. "Jeff" Sili (Bowling Green District) 804-633-9084,

    Floyd W. Thomas (Mattaponi District) 804-633-9237,

    Edited to add:

    For those of you who don't get the VCDL Alerts via e-mail, the following was not part of the e-mailed alert. I added it to this post to perhaps provide ammunition to shoot down the proposed ordinance. No way to know how many folks in Caroline County heard about Va Beach.

    This recent decision (not part of the VCDL alert), should give the Board some pause for thought. (Sorry for any confusion.)

    Justices strike down Va Beach noise law

    By LARRY O'DELL |Associated Press Writer April 17, 2009 RICHMOND, Va.

    Localities throughout the state may have to rewrite their noise ordinances now that the Virginia Supreme Court has declared Virginia Beach's law unconstitutionally vague, lawyers involved in the case said Friday.

    The justices unanimously ruled Friday that the city's statute prohibiting "unreasonably loud, disturbing and unnecessary noise" cannot stand because it lacks measurable standards and leaves enforcement to the whim of police officers.

    "Noise that one person may consider `loud, disturbing and unnecessary' may not disturb the sensibilities of another listener," Justice Barbara Milano Keenan wrote in the unanimous ruling. "As employed in this context, such adjectives are in inherently vague because they require persons of average intelligence to guess at the meaning of these words."

    Deputy City Attorney Chris Boynton said representatives from his office and the police department will meet "and come up with an ordinance that passes constitutional muster." He said his counterparts throughout Virginia likely will do the same, because most local noise ordinances are similar to the one in Virginia Beach.

    "We are not in this boat by ourselves," he said.

    Kevin Martingayle, attorney for the Virginia Beach nightclub owners who challenged the ordinance, agreed.

    "We looked at noise ordinances from all around Virginia. It appears most do not have measurable standards, such as decibel levels. Even those that do seem to have some catchall language that makes them too vague," he said.

    Martingayle represented Bradley S. Tanner and Eric A. Williams, owners of The Peppermint Beach Club on the oceanfront. The club on the ground floor of a hotel regularly features disc jockeys or live music, including hip-hop and punk rock.

    "If they had been playing Lawrence Welk real loud, they never would have been given the first summons," Martingayle said.

    He said the club has been cited at least 10 times for violating the ordinance, although only one conviction was affirmed on appeal to circuit court. Violations are a misdemeanor punishable by a $250 fine.

    Martingayle said his clients fought every citation to avoid the fate of another nightclub that just paid the fines as a cost of doing business. That club lost its liquor license and was forced to shut down after the convictions piled up, Martingayle said.

    "The chief gripe my clients had was they never had a complaint from anybody. They weren't too loud for the customers, for neighboring businesses--just the police officers," he said.

    The Virginia Beach statute allows a charge to be filed if a "reasonable person" would consider the noise excessive. Martingayle said that standard has been upheld in other cases so "it was a bit of a surprise and disappointment" that the Supreme Court ruled it was too vague.

    The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, praised the ruling and also predicted broad ramifications.

    "What's likely to happen is localities' attorneys as a result of this will take a look at their own ordinances and begin to make changes if they feel they aren't in compliance," said Kent Willis, executive director of the Virginia ACLU.
    A law-abiding citizen should be able to carry his personal protection firearm anywhere that an armed criminal might go.

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  2. #2
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    North Chesterfield VA

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    I'm planning to be at the meeting Tuesday night, but only to watch the Bd. of Supervisors withdraw their proposed new law.

    I understand they are now aware of the fact that they were about to step in the hoohah. It should be interesting to see if they will explain witrhout prompting from the peanut gallery why they are withdrawing the agenda item.

    stay safe.

    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"

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