Should Loudoun County allow a noise level more than 20 times as high as that of New York City?
The Board of Supervisors will vote Thursday, October 20, on a new noise ordinance for the county. The current proposal before the board is to increase the permitted noise level by moving the measurement of the noise from the location of the noise-maker (the “emitter”) to the property line of adjacent property owners (the “receiver”).
Loudoun County’s current noise ordinance is measured at the emitters property line at 55 dBa. The new ordinance is proposed to be at 55 dBa, measured at the receiver’s property line.
How loud is that? Sound is measured in decibels (dB). Sound measurement is on a logarithmic scale (like the Richter scale for earthquakes). So 55 dB is 20 times as loud as 45 dB. (The unit dBa, A-weighted decibels, is an expression of the relative loudness of sounds in air as perceived by the human ear.)
Noise levels for major cities are lower than that proposed for Loudoun County: New York’s limit is 42 dBa, Boston’s is 50, and even Washington, D.C., limits noise to 55 DBa. (For comparison, an average rural area, for example, has a 30-dB level of noise; the sound of a diesel truck going 40 mph at 50 feet away measures 84 dB.)
Please ask the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors to:
• lower the noise level limit to 45 dBa—a more than reasonable number given Loudoun’s suburban and rural makeup. It’s important to protect the health, safety and welfare of its citizens.
• include tonal noise in the ordinance to protect neighbors of both current and new data centers.
• assess noise levels at “event entities” to protect neighbors of both current and new event type businesses.
Attend the meeting (5 p.m. Thursday at the County Government Building in Leesburg) if you can; if you can’t, please write the Board and let them know we we need less noise, not more.
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