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Waynesboro purchases decibel meter, reviewing noise ordinance related to entertainment venues

Crystal Graham
measuring sound in hallway of music event
(© Peerapixs – stock.adobe.com)

The City of Waynesboro has heard from local business owners about its noise ordinance and is working to determine if amendments are needed to the current policy.

The issue of noise came up this summer as a new music venue on the East End – The Foundry at Basic City Beer Co. – began to host live events. To date, the venue has received two noise warnings from the Waynesboro Police Department likely due to neighbors’ complaints.

Bart Lanman, president of Basic City Beer Co., has adjusted starting times for many shows so they end earlier but has asked city leaders to take another look at the regulation specifically to define noise in decibels like neighboring cities including Staunton and Harrisonburg.

Waynesboro City Manager Mike Hamp told AFP that “city staff is proactively researching and compiling data to provide to City Council.”

If amendments are recommended, Hamp said, they should be on Waynesboro City Council’s agenda in October or November.

The city has purchased a decibel meter.

“Staff conducted onsite testing at multiple entertainment venues throughout the City to better understand the impact of certain decibel levels,” Hamp said.

Hamp said staff’s goal is “to provide Council with the information they need to make an informed decision on possible amendments – mainly related to entertainment venues – to the City’s noise ordinance.”

Hamp said the city is:

  • Meeting with local business owners to understand the positive impact entertainment venues are having on their business and the Waynesboro community.
  • Engaging in conversations with neighboring jurisdictions to learn what current decibel level tolerances and restrictions are being utilized to control noise at entertainment venues and businesses.
  • Meeting with professional sound engineers employed by local businesses to understand how sound travels and can impact the area adjacent to an entertainment venue or business.

Lanman told AFP he has been in touch with city staff and Waynesboro Mayor Lana Williams and is asking the city to revise the noise ordinance to businesses offering entertainment after 10 p.m.

“Waynesboro and the community in general have been very supportive over the last seven years,” Lanman said. “We continue to grow together. Our growth has introduced new opportunities for the city to consider and for the community to enjoy.”

Lanman said the business will follow City regulations – but they need to be “reasonable” and clearly defined.

“That is why we are asking for the City to work with us to revise this noise ordinance from a somewhat subjective definition of ‘noise’ to a more quantifiable, measurable definition of noise,” he said in a previous interview with AFP.

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Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.