Noise Ordinance Makes Good Neighbors

We’ve all been there and dealt with noisy neighbors—the ones that have a dog that won’t stop barking at the squirrels in the yard, upstairs neighbors who seem to pace all night, those that play their rock music loudly, and the fun neighbors who throw rowdy parties on weeknights. Noise is an inevitable part of living near other people in a community. To live more harmoniously with each other, we can all be mindful of how loud we are being, whether it be our music, dog, a party, or cheering on our favorite football team on a Sunday.

Stafford County has a noise ordinance that applies to all areas of the county, for both indoor and outdoor sound. Noise ordinances are laws which limit the allowable noise level(s) at different times of day for differently zoned areas (i.e. residential, commercial, industrial). In other words, it allows us to live more peacefully near one another!

That’s not to say you can’t play music in your homes or have your band practice in the garage, just don’t play the music at concert level volumes. If you throw a party that may get noisy, be sure to invite those neighbors to join in the fun, and turn the music down by 10:00 p.m. Sound that is plainly audible by another person inside of their home or at a distance of 50 feet from the device emitting noise between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. is not allowed.

The allowable noise levels are higher during daytime hours and lower during nighttime hours. That is just common sense. Certain levels of daytime noise are permissible so that people can live, work, and play during the day. The lower allowable noise levels at night promote a quiet environment for residents to enjoy a peaceful night’s rest in their homes.

Review Stafford’s noise ordinance for all prohibited noises and exemptions. The noise ordinance in residential zones applies to the sound generated within an apartment or single property, as well as to amplified stereo sound in automobiles.  It is unlawful for any person to use any loudspeaker, sound amplifier, or similar machine or device in the county, unless a Loudspeaker or Sound Amplifier Permit is obtained from the Stafford County Sheriff's office. If your neighbor is being too loud and breaking the noise ordinance, try talking with them first about the disruption. If that doesn’t work, you can call the Sheriff’s department at the non-emergency number (540) 658-4400 to report the noise violation.