Public Hearing On Outlawing Loud Amps Downtown
There are two public hearings scheduled for Tuesday night's meeting that begins at 7:30 p.m.
The Fredericksburg City Council has two public hearings Tuesday night including one to prohibit the use of amplifiers and loudspeakers in the downtown business district if they can be heard from 100-feet away.
The proposal came to light after several business owners and local residents complained about musicians being too loud in the downtown area.
Originally, the ordinance was worded in a way that could have essentially caused major problems for musicians who play music downtown if they can be heard from 50-feet away and someone complains. But after Fredericksburg Patch alerted the public to the proposal, Councilwoman Bea Paolucci asked to remove the word "musical instruments" from the ordinance, providing an early victory for musicians. The distance was also increased to 100 feet.
The proposal does not impact events that already have the permits to operate.
"No additional prohibitions on musical instruments are proposed," the staff report states. "Musical instruments plainly audible at a distance of 50 feet at night are already prohibited citywide by the ordinance.
"So, if the ordinance is adopted, it will put in place a limit on the volume of amplified music downtown during the daylight hours, using the “plainly audible” standard, with a distance of 100 feet. The 100-foot standard is proposed after measuring this distance in downtown Fredericksburg, where it is equivalent to approximately half of a city block. It is the same standard as is currently used for car stereos."
Enforcement is likely to be complaint driven.
Here is the language of the ordinance:
IT IS HEREBY ORDAINED by the City Council of the City of Fredericksburg, Virginia, that Chapter 38 of the City Code is amended as follows:
SEC. I. City Code Amendment. Sec. 38-36. - Specific acts prohibited.
The following acts are declared to be per se violations of this article. This enumeration shall not constitute an exhaustive list:
(1) Loudspeakers, amplifiers, public address systems, and similar devices on public streets and sidewalks in the downtown business district. The use or operation of a loudspeaker, amplifier, public address system, or similar device on the public streets or sidewalks in the downtown business district that is plainly audible at a distance of 100 feet from the sound source. This prohibition shall not apply to any sound generation which occurs as part of a permitted special event in conformance with the terms and conditions of the permit. For purposes of this subsection, the "downtown business district" shall be that area bounded by the Rappahannock River, Amelia Street, Prince Edward Street, and Lafayette Boulevard. Where subsection (2) is more restrictive, that section shall govern.
The other public hearing is:
- Ordinance 12-__, First Read, Adding Trade Schools as Special Uses in the Commercial/Office-Transitional (C-T) Zoning District, by Amending City Code Chapter 78, Section 78-1 “Definitions,” and Section 78-481 “Uses Permitted by Special Use Permit”