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County adopts new noise law

On Tuesday, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted a new law to limit nuisance noises in residential areas, like loud parties or music.

The law is viewed as a temporary solution to allow police to adequately address noise complaints while the county overhauls its existing ordinance. Police enforcement of the county’s existing statute had been hampered after a state Supreme Court ruling that found that Virginia Beach’s noise ordinance, which was similar to Fairfax County’s, was unconstitutional.

The law bars noises that can be heard inside a home when the doors and windows are closed, and the police must be able to determine the source for the noise. This includes everything from loud music to yelling to barking dogs inside or outside a home, according to county officials.

The updates in the law only apply to noise within residential buildings and areas, like houses, apartments or hotels, but does not regulate the noice from malls, dog parks, warehouses or transit centers.

Specific activities that create noise are prohibited during certain times of day, including:

• Using a loudspeaker or amplifier outside between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

• Operating power lawn equipment, like a lawnmower or leaf blower, between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.

• Fixing cars or mechanical devices outside between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.

• Collecting trash or recycling within 100 yards of a residence between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

• Loading or unloading trucks outside within 100 yards of a residence between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The law also exempts some common noises like emergency sirens, traffic noise and backup generators running during power outages.

To make a complaint, residents can call the Fairfax County Police non-emergency number at 703-691-2131, TTY 711.

Domestic violence nonprofits merge

Two local nonprofits providing assistance to victims of domestic violence announced this week that they are merging with each other.

Shelter House Inc., a nonprofit providing services to homeless families and victims of domestic violence, and Northern Virginia Coalition (NOVACO), a nonprofit providing transitional housing for survivors of domestic abuse in Fairfax County, will combine their programs in an effort to establish a coordinated community response to victim safety.

NOVACO services and programs will continue as a program of Shelter House, the agencies said in a released statement. NOVACO offers supportive housing services, job training, counseling and financial literacy programs.

“The support of Shelter House, an outstanding organization with a proven track record of success helping the domestic violence community, will help NOVACO create added awareness for our programs, highlighting the continuing need for

families left homeless due to domestic violence,” said Kim Roman Corle, NOVACO’s interim executive director and board chair.

Shelter House already operates the county’s domestic violence shelter, Artemis House, as well as two of the county’s homeless shelters: the Patrick Henry Family Shelter in Falls Church and the Katherine K. Hanley Family Shelter in Centreville.