City of Asheville releases draft Noise Ordinance revisions, launches survey 

Noise ordinance graphic

Update: The survey deadline has been extended to Dec. 11.


The City of Asheville’s Noise Ordinance revisions are getting closer to Council consideration. But before staff brings them to Council, we want to bring them to you, our residents.


Visit the City’s informational webpage about the Noise Ordinance to review the draft revisions and take a survey about the draft.


These Noise Ordinance draft revisions have been over a year in the making, in a process that included extensive engagement with neighborhoods, businesses and industries. 


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. Comprehensive changes to the Noise Ordinance were last made in 2000. 


In February 2019, the City’s Development Services Department undertook the process of updating the Noise Ordinance (UDO Chapter 10 – Article IV). City staff engaged 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. A comprehensive review of that engagement is reflected on the  informational webpage.


Top noise issues that emerged from the engagement relate to: 

  • Construction;
  • Refuse collection;
  • Commercial and Industrial Equipment;
  • Music over-amplification from venues, outdoor events and buskers;
  • Fireworks;
  • Vehicle exhaust and engine revving;
  • Residential Neighbor and lawn equipment; and
  • Dogs and animals


Proposed changes in a nutshell

Here are some of the ways the proposed noise ordinance differs from the current noise ordinance: 


  • Establishes objective decibel standards and clarifies sound measurement criteria for commercial and industrial noise sources.
  • Restricts construction in all districts to 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Monday – Saturday; requires an after-hours permit for construction outside of these times.
  • Establishes new permitting requirements for music venues.
  • Establishes new permitting requirements for sound events that will exceed the noise ordinance, including commercial fireworks displays.
  • Replaces Noise Ordinance Appeals Board process with objective decibel limits and Music Venue and Sound Exceedance permitting for commercial and industrial sound sources.
  • Increases escalating civil penalties for noise violations from $50/$100/$200/$300 to $100/$200/$300/$500.


The proposed changes are expected to go before City Council in February 2021. Prior to that, you, our residents, are invited to review the draft Noise Ordinance revisions and fill out our survey about the proposed changes.  The public comment period will remain open until Dec. 11. Visit this link to review the draft Noise Ordinance revisions and take the survey. Thank you for your time!