Gwinnett commissioners delay vote on new noise ordinance

Ben Ku, District 2 Commissioner, listens during a meeting in Lawrenceville, Georgia. The Gwinnett Board of Commissioners delayed a decision last month on a noise ordinance. (Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) AJC FILE PHOTO
Ben Ku, District 2 Commissioner, listens during a meeting in Lawrenceville, Georgia. The Gwinnett Board of Commissioners delayed a decision last month on a noise ordinance. (Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) AJC FILE PHOTO

Credit: Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta J

Credit: Rebecca Wright for the Atlanta J

Gwinnett County commissioners have delayed a decision on a revised noise ordinance after residents expressed confusion about its reach.

At an April 27 public hearing, resident after resident expressed concern about fireworks — which are governed by state law. The county noise ordinance can’t further limit the time when fireworks can be legally detonated.

Others complained about music that rattled windows or residents’ inability to have peace in their homes because of outside noise from neighbors.

County commissioners delayed the vote until May 18 so residents have a chance to read the proposal and ask questions.

A rewrite of the 2015 law, the new ordinance adds definitions for things like amplification and impulsive sound. It takes into account more residents living in mixed-use developments, where their homes may be close to businesses. And it lays out the hours that “plainly audible” noise should be curtailed.

“It does a lot to address a lot of concerns,” Commissioner Ben Ku told residents.

Commission Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson said the delay in voting would give the commission a chance to hear, and potentially address, any additional concerns from residents.

The ordinance requires people to orient in-home speakers near doors toward the interior of their homes and limits noise at privately owned outdoor spaces. It also outlaws vehicles without mufflers when the noise can be heard from 100 feet away, and prohibits construction noise on a half-dozen federal holidays.

If approved, the ordinance would only apply to unincorporated parts of Gwinnett County.

To see the full ordinance, go to https://www.gwinnettcounty.com/static/pdf/Noise%20Control%20Ordinance.pdf

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