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King George approves noise ordinance

King George County adopted a noise ordinance last night based on decibel levels, and pledged to review it in as little as 60 days.

Only three people commented during the public hearing, held before the long-discussed ordinance was approved. Two were Andy and Peggy Myruski, who live in Fairview Beach and said noise from restaurants in the beach-front community makes it difficult for older people, like themselves, to enjoy a quiet existence.

Peggy Myruski didn’t like the fact the county had adjusted the allowable decibel readings after other Fairview Beach residents asked for more time to enjoy the weekends and live music. At a May 7 public hearing, more than 85 people attended, including several speakers who asked for the chance to celebrate life at the beach—and to be able to do it a little later at night in the summer, when it’s lighter later.

Supervisors agreed and made adjustments. Instead of dropping the allowable levels from 75 to 65 decibels at 10 p.m., County Attorney Eric Gregory amended the ordinance to allow 70-decibel readings from 10 p.m. to midnight on Fridays, Saturdays and nights before federal holidays.

“If you keep the decibel reading at 70, you’re making the statement that the restaurants are more important than we are, the older people of King George,” Peggy Myruski said.

Supervisors said they understood the Myruskis’ complaints, but that they’re trying to “balance what we’ve heard from folks who live there, and we have two different points of view,” said Supervisor Joe Grzeika.

He and others pledged to review the data collected once the ordinance is in place and revisit the measure in three to six months. Supervisor Ruby Brabo said that’s “an extremely long time for the Myruskis to wait.” She wondered if the sheriff could give a report in 60 days, and Sheriff Steve Dempsey, who was sitting in the front row, nodded his head in agreement.

Supervisor Chairman Dale Sisson Jr. said he’d been “on the fence” from the start about a noise ordinance, but that the sheriff asked for a tool to enforce complaints.

“It is just still a number at this point,” Sisson said. “I think the jury is still out over whether this is the right number. We’ll have to see how this plays out at the point of measurement.”

Terry O’Toole, another Fairview Beach resident, was the other person who commented. He said he believes the noise ordinance is a good start, but said 70 decibels may be a little loud for residents.

The noise ordinance was revised after the May 7 hearing and does not include noises made by farm machinery or animals or any aspect of farm production. Noises from power generators and home, lawn and garden work also are exempt.

The noise ordinance does not address a complaint often dealt with by county deputies: a neighbor’s barking dog or other annoying animal. Supervisors said they’d revisit that issue, perhaps as a nuisance ordinance.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425