Cobb BOC takes up noise ordinances for commercial developer during public hearing

Cobb County government building sign, a vertical rectangular sign with the words "Board of Commissioners," "County Clerk," "County Manager," "County Office," "Employment," and a wheelchair entrance icon

by Caleb Groves Oct. 11, 2023

MARIETTA, Ga.– The Cobb County Board of Commissioners held the 2023 code amendment public hearing where the board discussed noise ordinance code amendments on Tuesday.

During the BOC work session last week, commissioners discussed amending the County Code Ordinance, which would now define the specific decibel level that is above the noise ordinance.

The noise ordinance amendments will provide a definitive decibel limit of 70 during the day and 65 from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.; currently, what violates code is up to the discretion of the police. Penalties for the noise ordinance violators will be up to the Magistrate Court’s discretion.

Advertisement

Alongside this, amendments will be made to allow for construction on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6:59 p.m.

However, Commissioner Monique Sheffield raised concerns about what this may mean for the large construction projects being done on Sundays.

“My only challenge with this is while this may accommodate the one-offs and the people in the situation you just described, it doesn’t exclude development and larger projects,” Sheffield said.

Lieutenant Pettitt of the Cobb County Police Department aimed to have the amendment focus on projects for residents. To stay true to the intent of the amendment, the BOC plans to add extra language excluding commercial projects from the update code.

“I just don’t want the community to be vulnerable to construction noise at a larger development on Sunday morning.

During the code amendment public hearing, the President of East Cobb Civic Association, Richard Grome, recommended the BOC delete the Sunday construction provision altogether.

Community Development Director, Jessica Guinn, also presented changes to the codes that were not discussed during the last work session. The code will now also include powerwashers and generators as prohibited noise.

Commissioner JoAnn Birrell raised concerns about the inclusion of generators in the noise code due to circumstances such as power outages. She gave the example of a senior citizen on oxygen who would require continuous power.

Eventually, the board agreed to change the language to make an exception for power outages.

Later in the meeting, both Commissioner Keli Gambrill and Birrell opposed an application for grant funds for a new federal grant that would support communities working to remove barriers to affordable housing, called the Pathways to Removing Obstacles to Housing Grant.

During public comment, residents of a nearby subdivision urged the BOC to reconsider the placement of the Noonday Creek Trail extension.

Steve Zubek said he was given little to no warning about the trail placement and is worried that it could lead to items being stolen from his backyard. He asked the board to reconsider trail placement.

Another member of the same neighborhood, Rutledge Wilson, was concerned that the trail would go through his neighborhood. Many of the residents and Wilson were unaware there was a plan to have the trail extension go through the neighborhood until a couple of months ago.

Concerned with housing security Wilson urged the BOC to reconsider the trail extension placement.

Advertisement