Fairfax County Considers New Overnight Noise Ordinance

Fairfax County, Virginia, may soon be much quieter at night.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is considering a new noise ordinance that would ban household noises such as lawn mowers and barking dogs from dusk until dawn. If passed as is, violators could face fines or even jail time.

The ordinance proposes that:

  • Trash pickup be banned in residential districts between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • No one may mow their lawn between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.
  • On Sundays through Thursdays, outdoor speakers must be muted from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
  • Local dog parks open at 8 a.m. on weekends and holidays
  • The city ban barking dogs (or other domestic pet noises) from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

The ordinance specifies that in order for a pet owner to be fined for a noise violation, the animal must make the sound in question for two minutes in any 10-minute period. The fine does not apply when the animal is making noise because it is hurt or threatened.

The proposal also suggests civil and criminal penalties for individuals who violate the ordinance, with an original fine starting at $250 and $500 for each subsequent offense. Criminally, individuals who disobey the ordinance could receive a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of a $1,000 fine or up to six months in jail if the ordinance is passed as is.

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