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No new noise control ordinance for Buckingham

The Buckingham Board of Supervisors decided unanimously Tuesday night against adopting a controversial revised version of the county’s noise control ordinance.

Morgan Dunnavant

Multiple members of the public came before the board during its Tuesday, Oct. 13, Board of Supervisors meeting to voice concerns surrounding the ordinance, particularly the potential effect on kennel operations and the amount of time each day a property owner can participate in the lawful discharge of firearms.

A popular argument among county residents during the public comments portion of the meeting was that limiting the discharge of firearms to two hours of firing time every six hours per the revised ordinance would be an infringement upon the citizens’ right to bear arms.

Former supervisor Morgan Dunnavant echoed these thoughts when he addressed the board.

“Gentleman, it was not that long ago when I sat up there with you when we passed a resolution unanimously declaring Buckingham County a Second Amendment sanctuary. Unanimously,” Dunnavant emphasized.  “Tonight, you all are proposing to undermine that principal by infringing on our Second Amendment rights.”

Many letters were also submitted to the board to be read aloud. One letter was written by the Buckingham Farm Bureau Board of Directors and signed by Bureau President Chip Davis. In the letter, the board expressed its clear opposition of the resolution.

Complaints of excessive dog barking from county kennels was another subject the Noise Control Committee attempted to address in the revised ordinance. Several speakers on Tuesday also argued that the new ordinance would be an unfair and unjust burden brought upon dog owners.

County residents Lisa and Steve Lann both spoke during the public comments regarding their history of run-ins with a neighbor who has made multiple calls to law enforcement regarding dogs barking on their property.

Lisa said the kennel owners have gone to many lengths to attempt to quiet their 11 dogs after the neighbor moved onto the adjoining land, including putting up tarps and a radio to calm the dogs. She said despite what’s been said in the past, it’s not the dogs that keep the neighbor up, but rather the neighbor’s tinkering in the yard late into the night that keeps the dogs up.

Steve said he’s frustrated his neighbor is advocating for a revised noise control ordinance in such a rural community where kennels and hunt clubs are so ingrained into the culture.

“These dogs have been here for 50 years,” he said.

District 7 Supervisor Danny Allen made the motion to do away with the revised noise control ordinance and leave the current ordinance as is. The motion was seconded by District 4 Supervisor Thomas Jordan Miles III.

Donnie Bryan

District 2 Supervisor Donnie Bryan said he was torn in reference to the idea of throwing away the revision and sticking with the current ordinance. He said he felt the current ordinance does not protect kennel owners nor those using firearms from being found in violation of the ordinance.

“There are changes to be made. I’ll be the first to admit it, I’m not happy with this either,” he said, gesturing to the revised ordinance. He later continued, “To kill the ordinance now, you’re pretty much telling people, ‘Tough luck, live with it.’ That’s not us.”

District 6 Supervisor Joe Chambers, who was part of the Noise Control Ordinance Committee that worked to create the new ordinance, said he was disappointed fellow board members were ready to discard the ordinance after tasking himself and others to the committee in order to address potential problems.

Ultimately, the revised ordinance was struck down unanimously. The old noise ordinance still stands.