Noise Ordinance Complaints

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    CITY OF ASHEVILLE NOISE ORDINANCE

    Some background about the noise ordinance.

    In mid-August, 1998, the City of Asheville hosted a public meeting to hear the concerns of residents about the existing noise ordinance. It was clear from the meeting that the existing ordinance was not working, and the problem of noise was a significant concern to many residents of Asheville.

    Beyond providing an opportunity for residents to ask questions and express some of their frustration, the public meeting was intended to begin the process of revamping the noise ordinance so that it would be:

    • Understandable;
    • Acceptable; and
    • Enforceable.

    A committee of concerned, knowledgeable, and committed citizens and public officials attended weekly meetings to rewrite the ordinance. The new ordinance was approved by City Council in November 2012, and is presently being enforced throughout the City of Asheville.

    What is considered a “noise disturbance” (or, what is a violation of the City’s Noise Ordinance)?

    Noise is any sound or combination of sounds which, because of its volume or quality, tends to disturb reasonable persons of normal sensitivity or to interfere with normal human activity. [Section 10-82 (c)]

    A noise disturbance is any unreasonably loud and raucous sound or noise which

    1. Endangers or injures the health or safety of humans or animals;
    2. Endangers or injures personal or real property; or
    3. Disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivity. [Section 10-82 (d)]
    Who enforces the Noise Ordinance?

    There are three possible enforcement officers for a noise disturbance. The Asheville Police Department is available to cite any offender (including barking dogs) at all times. Animal Service Officers, a division of the Asheville Police Department, are available Monday through Friday 8 a.m to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.  They can assist with noise complaints that are created by animals. Zoning or Building Safety Enforcement Officers are available to cite commercial noise ordinance violations Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

    If I am disturbed by noise, what can I do?

    You can contact the Asheville Police or Animal Services at 252–1110 to report what you believe is a violation of the noise ordinance. An enforcement officer (i.e., a Police Officer or an Animal Services Officer) must witness the violation in order to cite the offender. Please be advised that the APD responds to calls for service based on the severity of the call. Noise ordinance violations have lower priority than other criminal offenses. Officers will respond to noise ordinance complaints once the officer has cleared the higher priority call. APD asks that the citizens be patient waiting for the police to respond to a noise complaint.

    What can I do if the enforcement officer can’t cite the offender?

    Circumstances don’t always permit officers to witness violations of the Noise Ordinance. The ordinance provides a unique remedy for this situation. Two or more individuals from separate households can file a complaint with the City. A Noise Ordinance Appeals Board has been created to hear these complaints, and the Board has the authority to issue citations if it believes a Noise Ordinance violation has occurred. People wishing to file such a complaint can use the downloadable forms available on this website, and submit them to the Noise Ordinance Appeal Board, c/o Janet Lampkin in the Administrative Office of the Asheville Police Department, 100 Court Plaza, Asheville, NC 28801. The Board will usually hear the complaint at its next (monthly) meeting. This is a quasi-judicial proceeding, and complainants are advised to present strong evidence of the problem they have experienced. It is recommended that complainants provide a written record of the noise disturbance(s) at issue, such as a log of basic details such as time, date, and location of the disturbance(s). Complainants and defendants are permitted to bring witnesses and documentation such as photos or police records supporting their case to the hearing. Board members do not seek such evidence outside the hearing and base their decisions entirely on the information that is presented at the hearing.

    How can a person appeal a citation if he or she is cited for a noise violation?

    An individual who receives a citation can file a written appeal with the Noise Ordinance Appeal Board, c/o Janet Lampkin in the Administrative Office of the Asheville Police Department, 100 Court Plaza, Asheville, NC 28801. Such an appeal must be made in writing and must be received by Ms. Lampkin within 15 days of the date of the citation. Documentation supporting your appeal is permitted during the hearing (see section above).

    A person can appeal a decision of the Noise Ordinance Appeal Board to the City Manager. Appeals must be in writing and submitted to the City Manager within 10 days of receipt of the Board’s decision.

    What are the penalties an offender faces?

    An offender faces a fine of $50 for the first offense. For a second offense, the offender will be fined $100. For a third offense, the offender will be fined $200, and subsequent offenses carry a $300 fine per offense.

    More on the Noise Ordinance Appeals Board:

    The Appeals Board was created to provide a body outside of the court system to hear complaints brought by individuals and appeals from those cited who believe the citation was wrong. The Board consists of two citizens appointed by City Council, a Building Safety Officer, a Police Officer, and an Animal Services Officer. Two alternates are also available to sit at board meetings when appropriate. City employees are appointed by the City Manager. The Appeals Board  meets at 3 p.m on the 4th Thursday of the month at the Municipal Building in the Large Police Conference Room on the 3rd floor. Meetings are open to the public.

    Need to file a Complaint?  Print a copy of the Noise Ordinance Complaint Form. 

    Need to appeal your complain?  Print a copy of the Noise Ordinance Appeals Form.

    If you still have questions:

    Please call Janet Lampkin in Police Administration at 259-5813, or email to jlampkin@ashevillenc.gov.

     

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