Noise Ordinance Revisions

Happening Now

In March 2019, the City of Asheville undertook the process of updating its municipal noise ordinance (UDO Chapter 10 – Article IV). Between March and August 2019, City staff engaged residents, business owners, industrial and institutional operators to identify and prioritize noise concerns and discuss practical solutions. 

To date, this engagement has included: 

  • 24 stakeholder meetings and forums
  • 1,490 digital and paper survey responses
  • 150+ NoiseScore smartphone app “noise reviews”

This feedback reflects Asheville’s diverse experience with excessive noise and provides a clear picture of community perspectives about noise issues. Click here for a visual summary.

The City hosted an update on the noise ordinance revision process on Monday, September 23, 2019 from 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm at the A-B Tech Mission Health Conference Center at 16 Fernihurst Drive. Click here for the meeting presentation.

Asheville residents can continue to provide input about their experience with excessive noise using NoiseScore, a free smartphone and tablet app for Androids and iPhones developed by Boston University’s Community Noise Lab and Software & Application Innovation Lab (SAIL). 

Download this free app here to measure and map noise in your environment (available for iPhone and Android). Results will appear in real time on the live NoiseScore map and be analyzed as part of Noise Ordinance development. To see results on the live NoiseScore map, set the date range between 3/25/19 to today’s date.

The NoiseScore app should not be used to file a noise complaint with the City of Asheville.  Click here for more information about filing a noise complaint.


Background

As Asheville continues to develop and grow, the City of Asheville recognizes the need to revisit and update the current municipal ordinance governing excessive noise in the City limits (Chapter 10 – Article IV). In 2019, City staff will engage residents, business owners, industrial, and institutional operators in a public process to identify and prioritize noise concerns and develop clear and enforceable thresholds for noise generation.

The City of Asheville recognizes the following foundation for noise ordinance development:

  • Excessive noise is a hazard to the public health, welfare, and safety.
  • The community has a right to an environment free from excessive noise that may degrade their quality of life or diminish property values.
  • Noise Ordinance development must prioritize equity as a lens through which to evaluate policy criteria and enforcement action.
  • Noise Ordinance development must balance the reasonable needs of residents and visitors with those of facilities and operations, and recognize that all parties are essential to a thriving local economy.
  • Excessive noise generation can be reasonably addressed through the adoption of a Noise Ordinance that contains clear, enforceable, and effective measures to control noise.

 


Timeline

The following timeline is subject to change according to progress of the public engagement process. Changes and updates will be reflected on this project page.

February 2019 — City staff began collecting and analyzing available noise data and benchmarking examples of noise ordinances from other municipalities.

March 2019 — The City launched a city-wide survey through Open City Hall in English and Spanish that gathers input from residents to better understand current noise sources and perceptions toward noise in the city. The survey remained open for resident input until June 16, 2019. Paper surveys were made available at the front counters of the following locations:

  • The Linwood Crump Shiloh Center, 121 Shiloh Rd.
  • South Buncombe Library, 260 Overlook Rd.
  • Stephens-Lee Recreation Center, 30 George Washington Carver Ave.
  • Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center, 285 Livingston St.
  • Burton Street Center, 134 Burton St.
  • East Asheville Branch Library, 906 Tunnel Rd.
  • Asheville Housing Authority, 165 S French Broad Ave.

April – September 2019 — The City held a series of separate meetings with residents, businesses and institutional/industrial groups to hear concerns and ordinance recommendations, and review preliminary survey results.

 

Residential Outreach Date/Time Location
Residential small group meeting March 3, 4 p.m. Public Works Building, Room A-109
Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods small group meeting March 26, 9 a.m. Public Works Building, Room A-109
Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods monthly meeting April 8, 4 p.m. First Baptist Church, 5 Oak Street
 Downtown Asheville Residents monthly meeting April 18, 2 p.m. City Bakery, 60 Biltmore Avenue
Neighborhood Advisory Committee monthly meeting April 22, 6:30 p.m. City Hall, First Floor Conference Room
Neighborhood Association small group facilitated content meeting May 6, 4 p.m. Public Works Building, Room A-109
Residents Noise Ordinance Forum May 16, 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Dr. Wesley Grant, Sr. Southside Center
Neighborhood Issues Forum August 3, 10:00 am Mission Health / A-B Tech Conference Center

 

Business Outreach Date/Time Location
Asheville Independent Restaurants monthly meeting April 3, 9 a.m. 27 College Place
Asheville Downtown Association monthly meeting April 10, 12 p.m. The Grove Arcade Conference Room
Charlotte Street Business Association monthly meeting April 23, 8 am. Taco Temple, 132 Charlotte Street
Eagle/Market Street Business Association monthly meeting April 24, 2 p.m. The Block Off Biltmore, 39 S. Market Street
West Asheville Business Association monthly meeting April 25, 8:30 a.m. Isis Music Hall, 743 Haywood Road
River Arts District Business Association April 30, 4 p.m. FLS Energy, 130 Roberts Street
Asheville Independent Restaurants membership meeting April 9, 9 a.m. 27 College Place
Buskers group meeting May 14, 8:30 a.m. Public Works, Room A109
Business Noise Ordinance Forum May 15, 8:30 a.m. Chamber of Commerce, 2nd Floor Conference Room
Asheville Music Professionals (AMP) June 13, 10:00 a.m. Public Works, Development Services Conference Rm

 

Industrial/Construction Outreach Date/Time Location
Industrial/Construction Noise Ordinance Forum May 14, 8 a.m. Public Works, Room A109
Mission Hospital Noise Ordinance meeting July 19, 11 a.m. Mission Health / A-B Tech Conference Center

 

Additional Meeting Date/Time Location
Downtown Commission monthly meeting May 10, 8:30 a.m. City Hall, First Floor Conference Room
Public Safety Committee monthly meeting May 23, 11:00 a.m. City Hall, First Floor Conference Room
Public Safety Committee monthly meeting August 22, 11:00 a.m. City Hall, First Floor Conference Room
Noise Ordinance Update Meeting September 23, 3:30 p.m. Mission Health / A-B Tech Conference Center

 

June – July 2019 — City staff organized public engagement results and compiled final results from the Open City Hall survey (closed June 16, 2019) and paper surveys.

August 2019 — City staff co-hosted Neighborhood Issues Forum on Aug. 3; City staff released a public engagement summary and began collecting sound measurement samples. 

September 2019 — City staff held a joint meeting with all groups to review findings, progress, and outstanding concerns on September 23 from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m at the A-B Tech Mission Health Conference Center at 16 Fernihurst Drive. City staff continue to gather sound measurement samples and collect surveys from residents participating in the following Buncombe County Community Engagement Markets:

  • Sept. 16 at Deaverview Community Center
  • Sept. 18 at Shiloh/Rock Hill Church
  • Sept. 24 at Bartlett Arms Apartments
  • Sept. 25 at Pisgah View Apartments
  • October 7 at the Arthur A. Edington Center

October 2019 – City staff will begin drafting noise ordinance recommendations and meet with City boards and Commissions.

November 2019 – City staff will present draft noise ordinance to City Council for public hearing (TBD).

 


Supporting Documents

Noise Public Engagement Summary (August 2019)

City of Asheville Noise Ordinance Appeals Board web page

City of Asheville Noise Complaint Heat Map (March 2019)

Municipal Noise Ordinance Case Examples (March 2019)

Article – ¿Cómo afecta el ruido su calidad de vida?

Closed on 06/16/19: Noise Ordinance Survey   (versión en Español aquí)

Noise Score – A mobile app for community noise issues: Use this free app to measure and map noise in your environment and view results in real time! The Noise Score app should not be used to file a noise complaint with the City of Asheville.

 

Noise Ordinance Update Meeting Presentations and Notes

Notes – Noise Ordinance Update on 09/23/19

Presentation – Noise Ordinance Update on 09/23/19

Notes –  Neighborhood Issues Forum on 08/03/19

Presentation – Noise Ordinance Update to the Public Safety Committee June 2019

Notes – Residents Noise Forums on 5/16/2019

Notes – Business Noise Forum on 5/15/2019

Notes – Institutional/Industrial Noise Forum on 5/14/2019

Presentation – Noise Ordinance Update April 2019

 


Contact Information

Ben Woody, AICP
Director, Development Services Department
828-259-5679

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