Town of Christiansburg votes to change noise ordinance

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – The town of Christiansburg has a new noise ordinance. 

The ordinance was approved 5 to 1 at Tuesday night's council meeting. It will give law enforcement a decibel level to look for when responding to noise complaints. While the majority of the council was in favor of the ordinance, the majority of people in the room were not. 

"I'm disappointed. As of today, I have the right to make as much noise as I want to in the course of doing my business and they've just stripped me of that right," said Jared March, owner of Due South BBQ and Fatback Soul Shack.

The ordinance also uses the phrase "plainly audible" to determine noise levels. Now businesses, and even churches with their bells, that believe they will be in violation of the ordinance, will have to apply for a conditional use permit. The permit was initially recommended to cost about $700 but council agreed to waive the fee until the first of August to make it easier for establishments to apply.

"They want to bring in business but their existing businesses are getting treated terribly right now. We're being put under the gun with this noise ordinance," said Marie March, owner of Due South BBQ and Fatback Soul Shack.

Starlite Drive-In has been at the center of the noise ordinance controversy. After a tough 2017 season, the drive-in's owner fears this could be the beginning of the end for the town landmark. 

"We've been here running this business for over 60 years, never quit, paid our taxes, served the community, the community loves us and still we can't have the support of the town," said Peggy Beasley.

During the meeting, many council members expressed their support for local businesses but said the ordinance is a reasonable resolution. 

The mayor and council members were not available to speak after the meeting, but 10 News is hoping to speak with them Wednesday about their decision.