The Vienna Town Council is considering rewriting its noise law to reallocate authority for enforcing it and to provide residents with a better understanding of it.
The town's current noise ordinance divides enforcement authority between the zoning administrator and the police chief.
Vienna planning officer James Grant said it is difficult to determine who should investigate the numerous noise complaints received by the police and zoning offices. The proposed law would specify who would enforce it.
"The council proposes to simply clarify and put together a more comprehensive noise ordinance," Grant said. "For the first time, the enforcement responsibility will be delineated."
Mayor Charles A. Robinson Jr. said the council's action stemmed from earlier complaints from residents who wanted stricter control over "objectionable" noise, such as barking dogs, loud music and engine repairs.
Grant said the proposed new ordinance could cover heavy machinery such as chain saws and lawn mowers, which are now excluded from the town's noise law.
Council member Vince Olson said the town's current limitations on noise are "lacking in specificity. We have a long way to go for a finished product."
Olson said the current law lacks organization, focus and clarity. He emphasized the need to establish a more concise definition of the term "noise," and to create an easier way for the town's police department to enforce the law.
"Nothing is put together in a neat and tidy way. The law is scattered and unenforceable," he said.
Nelson Street resident Glenn Grant said he is constantly bothered by loud noise from neighbors who use chain saws in the early morning or late evening hours.
"We must be living in the noisiest block in the whole town . . . about eight people on the block have chain saws," Grant said. "You can hear the saws for two or three blocks away. We spend million of dollars on noise barriers on the highways, yet Vienna permits this type of noise."
Residents who live near a commercial business also are affected by disturbing late-night noise, Robinson said. He said many businesses unload trucks during the early morning hours and keep citizens from sleeping.
The council will discuss the proposed ordinance at its April 29 work session.
In other matters, the council:
* Approved a waiver for the Vienna Presbyterian Church to build a three-story addition to its existing church facility on Park Street SE. The new wing would be used for administrative and clerical offices, classrooms and a choir room. Construction tentatively is scheduled to start in late August.
* Voted to buy a $1,050 Wang Pure Power Conditioner to protect the city's computer terminal against electrical power surges, power failures and brownouts.
City officials said that if the terminal is left unprotected, records and other city data would be destroyed by sudden electrical surges through the machine's wiring.
* Allocated $500 to the Vienna Women's Club for its annual Health Fair on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Vienna Community Center. The fair is open to all Fairfax County residents 18 and older and offers free blood pressure tests, hearing and vision exams and height and weight checks.