Campbell County Supervisors Hold Sound Test to Change Noise Ordinance

Rustburg, VA - A big test in Campbell County Tuesday, to help that county's Board of Supervisors decide the limits for a noise ordinance.

Many business owners there, who have live music or other events, complained the initial proposal was way too low.

And Tuesday was all about putting numbers to volumes.

Previously, people had complained that a level of 86 decibels was too low, and Tuesday, that sounded pretty loud to the Supervisors.

Sound is a science.

"It's just basically physics. Sound travels at 600-something miles per second" said Tim Echols.

And Echols is a sound scientist.

He was asked by the Campbell County Board of Supervisors to conduct a sound test, helping them to determine accurate decibel levels to help set a noise ordinance.

"The supervisors can talk about standards all they want, but if they don't really know what they're in relation to. It's going to be hard to make an informed decision" said Echols.

After complaints that the county's initial proposal, limiting noise to no greater than 86 decibels was unfair, supervisors set up the test; taking decibel readings from 100 and 200 feet from a speaker playing music.

Ultimately it was decided the initial proposal of 86 decibels from the edge of a complainant's property was too loud.

After a vote, the supervisors agreed to change the proposal: Between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. the sound to surrounding properties must not register greater than 65 decibels.

"The government's just way too far in everybody's business" said county business owner, Sharon Devault.

Devault is not pleased with the board's decision.

"It's unreasonable to believe that the noise ordinance should be that low. You could have yourself a family picnic and you could exceed it from what I heard here today" she said.

The City of Lynchburg has a daytime ordinance specifying noise no louder than 57 decibels.

Tuesday's vote only changed the proposal. Supervisors will hold one more public hearing in May before voting to finalize the noise ordinance.