UPDATE: During a city council meeting Tuesday evening, members voted to put off the vote till July 12 to allow more input at a community workshop on June 28. The workshop will take place from 2-4 p.m. in Building 19 at the Municipal Center.

Council Members John Moss and Guy Tower will be in attendance.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Those who are too loud, too late into the night could soon find themselves facing a fine if Virginia Beach City Council approves an update to their noise ordinance on Tuesday.

The change would add a civil penalty for those who cause commotion inside city limits and make it easier for someone to prove the noise is loud. Current criminal penalties will remain and be reserved for repeat offenders.

City Council members hope the change will better hold accountable those who infringe on the quality of life of both residents and visitors, while also lessening the load on police.

“We need a new ordinance and I am very grateful that we got one in front of us that I hope will work,” Councilman Guy Tower said in a recent council workshop.

He joined with several others who say they continue to hear nothing is being done about excessive noise, specifically at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.

“I can be walking my dog or talking on the phone and you can barely hear yourself think because it is so loud,” Vice Mayor Rosemary Wilson said this week.

Much of the noise Wilson said is caused by vehicles with their music too loud and trucks and cars with modified mufflers. For whatever reason, the resort area is known as a magnet for vehicles with those characteristics, that cruise up and down the strip.

“People can enjoy themselves without having noise that loud,” Wilson said.

This isn’t the first time noise has been made about Virginia Beach’s noise ordinance. The current one was put into place in 2009 after the former was ruled unconstitutionally vague by Virginia’s Supreme Court.

In a briefing in front of City Council last month, City Attorney Mark Stiles said the current ordinance relies on sound pressure levels measured by noise meters. 

Right now, a person making a loud noise between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. can be criminally charged with a class 3 misdemeanor for the first offense, class 2 for the second and subsequent offenses, if a specific set of circumstances occurs.

First, a person must call 9-1-1 and have a police officer respond, according to Stiles. The officer then must come into the home of the person complaining about the noise, and using a sound measuring device, find the noise exceeding 75 dBA.

“You can see why we don’t get a lot of charges and convictions under this ordinance,” Stiles said.

Under the proposed ordinance, sound would only have to be “plainly audible” to trigger a $250 civil violation.

“Plainly audible” meaning any sound that can be heard by the human ear without aid according to Stiles. He said audible doesn’t mean you must make out the words of the noise. Hearing the thumping bass reverberations of music would be enough to satisfy as long as you can identify where it is coming from.

During the day, the noise must be plainly audible inside the home. However between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., sound would only have to be heard 50 feet from the source.

If a person is a repeat offender, they could face the criminal penalty if a noise meter is used.

A public hearing is scheduled ahead of the vote on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in City Council chambers at the old Virginia Beach City Hall.

Wilson feels it is important to move forward with the proposal.

“It’s early June. They’ve been working on this a long time and we want to get this out before the [Summer] season starts,” Wilson said. “I think everybody deserves to be able to have a good night’s sleep without having a huge amount of noise.”