Noise Compliance Division



Asheville residents are protected by the city’s noise ordinance from excessive noise that degrades their quality of life. The noise ordinance outlines noise violation criteria and enforcement measures and is administered by the new Noise Compliance Division. 
An updated noise ordinance goes into effect on Sept. 15, 2021 following a two year public engagement process. City staff thank the Asheville community for their invaluable contributions to this project. 
Click here to review the new ordinance. Click here for answers to frequently asked questions. 

Happening Now


The City is currently taking the following steps to implement the updated noise ordinance:

  • Transitioning noise ordinance administration to Development Services (DSD) from APD;
  • Hiring and training new Noise Compliance Division staff;
    • Grainne Miser (Development Services Department) has been appointed Interim Noise Administrator; and
  • Assembling a Noise Ordinance Advisory Board comprised of:
    • Three city residents representing different geographic areas of the city
    • One representative of the performing arts
    • One representative of the restaurant industry
    • One representative of the industrial or construction industry
    • One professional in acoustic engineering or a related field
Applications for the Noise Ordinance Advisory Board are due on October 4, 2021. Click here for more information and to submit an application

Apply for a Sound Exceedance Permit


Beginning September 15, 2021, an annual Sound Exceedance permit is required for any activity on private property in Asheville’s Central Business District and Commercial districts that exceeds the following sound level limits:

Sound Level Limits



Su – Th: 7 am – 10 pm

F – S: 7 am – 11 pm


Su – Th: 7 am – 10 pm

F – S: 7 am – 11 pm

Late Night

CBD only

2 am – 7 am

 Central Business District

72 dBA

67 dBA

62 dBA

 Commercial District 65 dBA

57 dBA



Sound levels are typically measured from a receiver’s property in the proximity of where the sound is being received using the A-weighting scale on an ANSI Class 1 or 2 sound level meter set on slow response for an interval of one minute (Leq1). Sound level limits reflect a one minute average (Leq1), not a single maximum level (Lmax) reading.

A Sound Exceedance permit cannot be issued for:

  • Property in a residential district;
  • Property in an industrial district;
  • Events held on city-owned public property, like a public park, that require a Outdoor Special Event (OSE) permit; or
  • Property located outside of city limits.

An annual permit applies for events held during the calendar year between January 1 – December 31. Those who wish to host activity that will exceed these sound level limits on an applicable property should apply for one of the following types of annual Sound Exceedance permit:

Type 1: 1 – 2 sound exceedance events/year ($0 – no cost – for annual permit)

Type 2: 3 – 8 sound exceedance events/year ($100 for annual permit)

Type 3: 9 – 30 sound exceedance events/year* ($100 for annual permit)

             * Available for permitted Performance Centers only

Sound Exceedance events must adhere to the following conditions:

  • Cannot occur outside the following times:
    • Sun – Thu: 10 am – 10 pm 
    • Fri – Sat : 10 am – 11 pm
  • Cannot exceed 8 hours sound exceedance/event
  • Cannot exceed 85 dBA (average of 1 minute reading) measured from a neighboring property with an occupied dwelling unit

Applications for sound exceedance permits can be submitted and paid for online at www.develop.ashevillenc.govClick here for additional information. 


Contact Information


Contact the Noise Compliance Division at

Click here for information about filing a noise complaint.


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