Council approves 65dB noise ordinance

jackblackDespite pleas from several music-lovers that it might kill a burgeoning part of the Charlottesville music scene, City Council voted 5-0 Monday night to create a new ordinance to ban amplified evening music over 65 decibels in two Charlottesville neighborhoods, including the Belmont district where–- one police officer testified–- "100 percent" of the noise complaints are aimed at just one place: Bel Rio restaurant.

Unlike the last City Council meeting, when only one pro-ordinance speaker appeared, several told tales of pounding bass and rattling windows late into evenings.

"Ordinances are not punishment," said Councilor Kristen Szakos, who urged a more restrictive measure of 55 decibels after 11pm.

However, Councilor David Brown, finding that too restrictive, made a motion for the compromise 65dB ordinance in the city's two "neighborhood commercial corridors," i.e. JPA/Fontaine and Belmont. The sound would be measured at a residential property line, and Council will revisit the ordinance after three months.

"It's allowing Bel Rio to be Bel Rio on a typical night," said mayor Dave Norris, "but clamping down when it's so noisy that it's keeping citizens awake."

–last updated 6:58am Tuesday with mention of corridors and measurement location

Read more on: noise ordinance


Thanks, Old Timer, you got the goods.
Tater Tots, you don't.
Drawing that red herring on a string across the hounds' path is an old tactic and you've veered off course. But on a serious note, cops working the night shift do have real jobs...busting bar crowd yahoos for drunk driving, drugs possession, A&B, etc....Also pleased to be advised there are no Belmont Mill workers, not even day shift much less night...
Drawing comparisons between Belmont and the more urban neighborhoods of the DC metroplex is a stretch..

I have to confess. In the 28 going on 29 years that I have lived in this area, I have rarely found the need or desire to visit Belmont. Now, in fear that my footsteps might awaken someone ââ?¬â? after all, people who work the night shift have to sleep, too ââ?¬â? I’ll pass.

I am reasonably sure that much of the commentary bears false witness to the reality of the situation. It appears that Bel|Rio is both a lousy neighbor and an exciting, fun place. One thing is for sure, we have two groups of people deeply vested in telling the other side where it can go. My instincts tell me that there is some middle ground � indeed, the City Council appears to have tried aiming for it � nonetheless, the rancor will not end until one side has its way � and that may be another 28 or 29 years.

After all, the Meadowcreek Parkway wasn’t built in a day!

I do, however, completely understand Mayor Dave's desire that all of the City dwellers not be woken from their deep sleep...

an auto shop that makes noise late at night is not a red herring gas dog with a chip on his shoulder.

A restuarant that smells of curry is not one either. They are both applicable to the "quiet enjoyment" you refer to.

you said: It’s pretty clear that Belmont is predominantly residential and that people who have real jobs might want to sleep instead of listening to throbbing music and drunken revelry into the wee hours of the morning.

your the one who brought up "real jobs" I imagine there are lots of hard workers who would beg to differ with your characterization of them.

The friggin train track is a few hundred yards away and takes ten minutes to pass making the ground shake like thunder.

I imagine that the non sleepers will still have the same problems but blame it on something else.

Kendra - rah rah hrah.

Holly wants a review because I don't think she is convinced that this supposed compromise will work. It won't because the supposed compromise was just a reworded ordinance leaving the sound level pretty much the same. We went from 75 dbs at the business property line to 65 dbs at the residential line. Evidence already indicated there was about an 8db drop between the measurement at the business property line and the residential one.

Szakos figured that out as did Huja. Norris doesn't want to, because he likes to play politician, and Brown obviously thinks its all good. He only wants to protect business.

I can't understand why the city is being so stupid. Here cities are facing major revivals, which will continue with stagnant income and creeping inflation, and they want to run out the local residents and turn housing into businesses. There is a lot of vacant commercial space in Charlottesville.

There is a lot of vacant commercial space in Charlottesville. (Quote).
Is there ever and more appearing all the time. A long walk on a nice day in Charlottesville is instructive as one sees the empty spaces that were all full of businesses 3 years ago. Now, it's also true that many of those businesses were lemonade stand ventures whose success was predicated on a surplus of cash in the economy that led people to spend for all kinds of frivolities, and many of those defunct businesses were restaurants, of which there is still a huge surplus in this area....
Commercial real estate is the next shoe to drop in this recession as many owners of vacant space will be getting quite the haircut over the next few years...

the new rule is 65db. We shall see how it plays out.

By the way I went to the EPA site and it says that the average house with the window closed reduces sound by 24db. 65-24=41 So I hope that gets you a good nights sleep.

can you find me a listing that says having a person who calls the city because they can't sleep as a selling point?

So what do you think is going to happen when 11:00 rolls around and they turn off the "amplified" sounds and just go into a drum solo for two hours.....

tater tot,

Many of the bothered residents don't live in the mixed use area they live in the residential (zoned) area.

All the bothered residents pre-date the restaurants and Bel Rio.

The residents didn't complain about the first three restaurants, because parking was manageable, and noise.

Until La Taza decided to have loud outdoor live music the residents didn't complain about the restaurants at all.

People who move into an area with certain zoning should expect that zoning to be followed:

The zoning was ignored to put in more restaurants that the location could support.

Bel Rio is not a restaurant its a night club and not allowed in that zoning.

I am sure if you were living in a residential area and a factory was set up next doors against current zoning, you would have something to say about it. Even mill workers on the night shift need to sleep and that's why residential areas have lower sound ordinances during the day as well.

What I watched the Council do last night was screw a group of residents who are entirely within their rights to demand that Bel Rio be closed, a sound ordinance put in place, and an increase in police protection now all the crack and crystal meth heads have been invited back in to place.

Chicken Wing,

I am an engineer and I've been around a few construction sites in my time. I know a crack pipe when I see one. I have eaten at the The Local but never been in the area late. So I took a walk the other weekend and wouldn't you know? I walked right by a vehicle parked next to the *restaurant* section going at it.

Was it random coincidence? Maybe. The style of clothes and model/age of the vehicle fit in really nicely with those of the surrounding patrons though. I guess it could have just been tobacco not testing it.

I'm called Old Timer for a reason. I've been around the block a few times and what happens at an establishment at 8PM versus what goes on at 11:30 PM are entirely different things.

so gas bag cops working the night shift don't have "real" jobs? How about doctors and firefighters?

Does the guy working the late shift at the mill or factory not have a real job?

If you live in a mixed area you get what comes with the territory.

Go to Georgetown or Adamas morgan in DC

Go to any of the main streets in fairfax or arlington or alexandria.

If you are near a resturant district then it goes with the territory.

If they opened up a "curry delight" the yuppies would whine about the smell.

There are auto shops in belmont.. will the city change the rules to "amplified" auto reparing if one of the guys needs to work longer hours to feed his family and uses his air chisel?

"I sit at stop lights next to cars with louder car stereos. I hope the businesses relocate to a more ââ?¬Å?noise friendly” area. Obviously the neighborhood doesn’t appreciate the added vitality and increased property values."

Here is how I would word it. Funny how we see things differently.

I sit at stop lights next to obnoxious people with loud car stereos. I hope the arrogant business owners relocate to a slum area where they can be appreciated. Obviously the neighborhood is fed up with spoiled hippies that will eventually drive property values down.

65db measured from the nearest residential property.

At what distance?

tater tot,

Claiming that the residents would suddenly complain about curry if not the noise is a deliberate distortion of Belmont residents not borne out by the factual history so you can create a straw man argument through deamonizing them. No one complained about the smells of cooked or cooking food, but when the 3rd restaurant (Belmont BBQ) went in and the real clamp on parking and disruption began, they politely started by saying the area had reached saturation. And they were right.

The only smells they complained about justifiably was garbage improperly stored and disposed of, causing a smell so severe patrons didn't want to park on that street. They have a right to complain about that and you would too if it were in your neighborhood.

The train track also runs right behind my house and it does not thunder through because it is not allowed to. It goes through ina slow hypnotic fashion. Becuase it runs on a set schedule the brain eventually blocks it out. I sleep through it fine unless they chnage a lot of cars which is rare. Loud rock music with bangs, crashes and bass always changing and loud voices the brain never filters out because those are danger sounds.

The EPA rules that sounds over 45 dbs inside a house disrupt sleep and routine conversation. I am sorry you don't want to accept that, but those are the facts. Try sleeping with a couple of steady of conversations next to your bed.

I lived in that area long before the e restaurants, and I see no reason why I or the people now living on that corner should change lifestyle while the establishments and their patrons make no adjustments. People gave up their parking, they should get their sleep after 11PM. If I moved into your neighborhood and decided to change your sleep routine and lifestyle you would be up in arms about it.
Like you I find loud music in other cars very annoying, and this is no different. I wish I could ban those as well.

quote: " police officer testified� '100 percent' of the noise complaints are aimed at just one place: Bel Rio restaurant."

I believe that about as much as I believe the Pillsbury Dough Boy is suffering from anorexia nervosa.

I sit at stop lights next to cars with louder car stereos. I hope the businesses relocate to a more "noise friendly" area. Obviously the neighborhood doesn't appreciate the added vitality and increased property values.

Can someone please find us an example of a real estate listing that includes having a loud bar next door as a selling point? I'd like to see just how much that increases the property's asking price.

Dear Old Timer--I think it's really sweet that you still care, but Kendra's not on council any more. Kristin wanted a lower db level, and Holly wanted a three-month review.


Geepers, only one business needs to relocate to a noise friendly area and that's Bel Rio. I do find it curious that you think residential areas need a strip club to be considered as having vitality. Ask the people over in the Greenbrier area or maybe over next to Walker school if they think they need some nightclubs with loud parties and a stripper bar to give them vitality.

None of those businesses in question brought property values up in Belmont. They showed up after the fact. What you'll see now is a number of houses go up for sale as people try and get out before the property values collapse. Belmont will decline again, and those businesses will all close their doors and move after having sucked it dry.

Hey confused it was all that sleep deprivation yuk yuk. Geezers like me can't burn the candles at both ends anymore. My head was nodding. Either that or too many math figures running in my head.

I don't know why I keep wanting to call Holly Edwards Kendra, but I do. Whatever, the she doesn't look to convinced over the 65 supposed compromise which is really just keeping it the same, because now it's measured at the residential property lines. Brown should now just call himself what he is, a Republican.

I also found myself chuckling at what these musicians think is the music scene in Charlottesville.

Old Timer, you're getting a bit long in the tooth. We haven't had anyone named Kendra on city council for years. Flashback?

Maybe we should have a rule that all posters must state their age.That way we could just pigeonhole their points of view. some tell it straight up like "Old Timer" I imagine both gasbags are old timers as well, but we all can tell which ones are punks now. Can't we?

Belmont used to be pretty "country" way back. Now it's "transitional". I don't live there, but I do know how much I hate waking up late at night to somebody's racket. Trains and such things are transient and might wake you up, but you KNOW it'll be gone soon. Loud amplified music just keeps on and once you wake up you know it's not going to stop until 2:00 AM. I assume that's when these places close up shop, but if I'm wrong about that specific, that's no biggie.

Those who don't like the noise can always hope that the short shelf life of the typical Charlottesville restaurant/club will work its magic and bring redemption!!

The only "noise friendly areas" are places where nobody lives. Many years ago there was a succession of clubs at the "island" in Barracks Rd. Shopping Center. That made sense to locate a club in a business area where nobody is trying to sleep.

Rowdy clubs with amplified music at night, especially after 10, fall into the same category as someone running a poultry processing plant in your neighborhood and dumping tons of chicken guts into the creek flowing behind your house. Both impinge on your rights to "quiet enjoyment" of your property. I for one find it offensive that someone should consider the freedom to destroy people's quality of life for a 100 yard radius of their business as a "freedom" or "right". It's pretty clear that Belmont is predominantly residential and that people who have real jobs might want to sleep instead of listening to throbbing music and drunken revelry into the wee hours of the morning.

Zoning is a curious business at best... If I wanted to take an old house in Belmont and turn it into a car repair business, there'd be no way the city would let me, even though we'd close up at night leaving the neighborhood quiet as churchyard. But let some aspiring restauranteure want to open a club on the cheap...well, come on down...

Does someone know how tor research this "100 percent" complaint through police records?


I guess we will see how it works out...

The ordinance did not pass. It was only forwarded to be voted on as amended. Huja nad Szakos won't go for it. Kendra is on the fence, and put in a 3 month review. I sat in on the meeting, to see who the Republicans on the concil were, defending the rights of businesses in the NCC over the rights of the residential people.

When this is reviewed it will go down in flames, because based on the readings taken, the complaints are at 63 dbs on the residential property lines. The police also admitted tot akting readings at 90dbs in the property lines, when Bel Rio absolutely was out of compliance.

Why weren't they cited?

Like I said, Bel Rio needs to turn it down

Hmmm. I live in Belmont and I've been to Bel Rio a handful of times. What I saw was people sitting down enjoying dinner, drinks, and music. It seemed more like a wedding party than a "stripper bar."

I've yet to notice any crack or meth-heads.

In Old Timer's mind, anyone carrying a guitar or under the age of 45 is a "crack and crystal meth head."

Pee on the fire and call in the dogs. It`s over.