Charlotte City Council members are expected to vote Monday night on proposed changes to the city’s noise ordinance, which was approved eight years ago. The current ordinance makes it illegal to intentionally create “unreasonably loud and disturbing noise” in the city. Proposed changes would make the rules more specific.
The amendment up for a vote Monday night would create noise buffers of 200 feet around schools, houses of worship, or medical facilities when they are open. The proposed revisions specifically prohibit producing “amplified sound” so loud that it disturbs activities within those buildings.
The effort to tighten Charlotte’s noise ordinance follows years of controversy over loud protests by anti-abortion activists outside an east Charlotte women’s clinic. City Council member Justin Harlow said in April he supports the 200-feet buffer zones, adding that the issue goes beyond the "politically charged" conversation about abortion.
"We want to make sure people have a reasonable expectation to noise, while not limiting any speech," said Harlow.
Anti-abortion activist Daniel Parks said he regularly demonstrates outside A Preferred Women’s Health Center on Latrobe Drive. He feels the proposed revisions would violate the free speech rights of protesters, interfering with their “right to be heard.”
The noise ordinance revisions were recommended by the city's Neighborhood Development Committee in April.
The amendment also includes language aimed at controlling noise around construction sites in Charlotte. Those designated as “chronic noise producers” could be required to work with the City to develop a noise management plan.
The proposal also spells out higher fines for multiple offenses of the City’s noise ordinance.
Proposed changes to Charlotte's noise ordinance will be the topic of WFAE's Charlotte Talks Monday (6/24) at 9:00 a.m.