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New noise control ordinance goes into effect June 1

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The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners adopted a new noise control ordinance on May 18, 2021.

The new ordinance, which goes into effect June 1, replaces the County’s noise control ordinance that was adopted in 2015. The new ordinance uses the plainly audible standard for determining whether a sound is violation of the ordinance. Under the new ordinance, sound will be regulated based upon the location, time of day and distance from which the sound is plainly audible. 

Under the ordinance, sound from consumer fireworks is regulated generally with other sounds on days and times not preempted by state law.

Additionally, a permit process was created to accommodate events that might briefly exceed the sound limit. Information about permits and applications for permits may be obtained from the Gwinnett County Department of Planning and Development.

FAQs: Noise Control Ordinance

When does the Noise Control Ordinance take effect?
The Noise Control Ordinance adopted by the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners went into effect June 1, 2021.

What sounds are regulated by the ordinance?
The following sounds are regulated by the ordinance:

  • Mechanical sound making devices such as radios, stereos, speakers, loudspeakers, soundbars, televisions, musical instruments, horns, whistles, bells, chimes or carillons, phonographs, amplification devices, or other machines or devices for the producing, reproducing, or amplifying of sound;
  • Human-produced sounds such as yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling, singing, speaking, or arguing;
  • Impulsive sound;
  • Party and event noise;
  • Testing of burglar, fire, or car alarms; and
  • Sound coming from construction and demolition activities, machines, or electrical generators.

How are sounds regulated under the ordinance?
Under the Noise Control Ordinance, sounds are regulated by location, time, and distance using the plainly audible standard.

How are fireworks addressed in the Noise Control Ordinance?
State law preempts the County’s regulation of sound from fireworks on January 1, the last Saturday and Sunday in May, July 3, July 4, the first Monday in September, and December 31 and only authorizes the County to regulate the sound from consumer fireworks as part of general noise regulation. Under the County’s Noise Control Ordinance, consumer fireworks are exempted on the days and times specified in state law. At all other times, the sound from consumer fireworks is regulated by the Noise Control Ordinance and subject to the same time, distance, and location restrictions as other impulsive sounds.

What if I am holding a special event that might exceed the sound limits in the ordinance?
The Noise Control Ordinance includes a noise permit process whereby event organizers can obtain a noise permit for events of short duration upon approval of a noise permit application by the Department of Planning and Development.