Charleston County Clarifies Noise Ordinance

September 22, 2011

Investigative Reports

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The NerveBy Warwick Jones
Citizen Reporter

Charleston County is taking another crack at its noise ordinance, though this time around it is incorporated in a livability ordinance.

The new ordinance, laid out at the Sept. 8 County Council meeting, better defines regulation relating to keeping domestic animals and fowl.

As county staff noted, the original noise ordinance passed in 1993 had archaic words and descriptions such as its opening “All clamorous crying of wares, singing whooping, obstreperous, wanton and unnecessary noises either in the day time or at night which disturb the peace and quiet of the county,” etc.

The difficulty of applying the ordinance prompted the creation of another ordinance in 2000, but it too was hard to enforce, largely because it was too sophisticated, relying on precise measurements of sound levels.

Staff also noted that it was unclear whether the latter ordinance replaced or supplemented the original.

The new ordinance, encouraged specifically by Council members Vic Rawl and Colleen Condon, in a way stands between the two previous ordinances. But more importantly, it places more initiative on individuals and their right to seek court action for remedy.

The new ordinance replaces the existing ordinances.