Borough of Spotswood, NJ
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Derived from Sec. 6-2 of the 1969 Revised General Ordinances of the Borough of Spotswood (adopted by the Borough Council 5-11-1970 by Ord. No. 278, as amended through 9/94). Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Noise associated with places of amusement — See Ch. 43.
Nuisances — See Ch. 140.

§ 137-1 Noise prohibited.

It shall be unlawful for any person to make, continue or cause to be made or continued any loud, unnecessary or unusual noise or any noise which either annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of others within the limits of the Borough.

§ 137-2 Definitions.

All terminology used in this chapter, not defined below, shall be in conformance with applicable publications of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or its successor body.
A-WEIGHTED SOUND LEVEL
The sound pressure level in decibels as measured on a sound level meter using the A-weighting network. The level so read is designated "dB(A)" or "dBA."
COMMERCIAL AREA
An area as defined in Chapter 120, Land Development, of the Code of the Borough of Spotswood.
DECIBEL (dB)
A unit for measuring the volume of a sound, equal to 20 times the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of the pressure of the sound measured to the reference pressure, which is 20 micropascals.
EMERGENCY
Any occurrence or set of circumstances involving actual or imminent physical trauma or property damage which demands immediate action.
EMERGENCY WORK
Any work performed for the purpose of preventing or alleviating the physical trauma or property damage threatened or caused by an emergency.
INDUSTRIAL AREA
An area as defined in Chapter 120, Land Development, of the Code of the Borough of Spotswood.
NOISE
Any sound which annoys or disturbs humans or which causes or tends to cause an adverse psychological or psysiological effect on humans.
NOISE CONTROL OFFICER
The person designated by the Health Department to enforce the provisions of this chapter and any police officer of the Borough.
NOISE DISTURBANCE
Any sound which:
A. 
Endangers or injures the safety or health of humans or animals; or
B. 
Annoys or disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivities; or
C. 
Endangers or injures personal or real property.
NOISE-SENSITIVE ZONE
Any area where a school, hospital, house of worship, day-care center, nursing home, public library, senior citizen center, residence or court is located; an area of potential noise disturbance.
PERSON
Any individual, association, partnership, or corporation, and includes any officer, employee, department, agency or instrumentality of a state or any political subdivision of a state.
PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
Any street, avenue, boulevard, highway, sidewalk or alley or similar place which is owned or controlled by a governmental agency.
REAL PROPERTY
An imaginary line along the ground surface, and its vertical extension, which separates the real property owned by one person from that owned by another person, but not including intrabuilding real property divisions.
RESIDENTIAL AREA
An area as defined in Chapter 120, Land Development, of the Code of the Borough of Spotswood.
RMS SOUND PRESSURE
The square root of the time averaged square of the sound pressure, denoted "Prms."
SOUND
An oscillation in pressure, particle displacement, particle velocity or other physical parameters, in a medium with internal forces that causes compression and rarefaction of that medium. The description of sound may include any characteristic of such sound, including duration, intensity and frequency.
SOUND LEVEL
The weighted sound pressure level obtained by the use of a sound level meter and frequency weighting network, such as A, B, or C as specified in American National Standards Institute specifications for sound level meters (ANSI SI.4-1971, or the latest approved revision thereof). If the frequency weighting employed is not indicated, the A-weighting shall apply.
SOUND LEVEL METER
An instrument which includes a microphone, amplifier, RMS detector, integrator or time averager, output meter, and weighting networks used to measure sound pressure levels.
SOUND PRESSURE
The instantaneous difference between the actual pressure and the average or barometric pressure at a given point in space, as produced by sound energy.
SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL
Twenty times the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of the RMS sound pressure to the reference pressure of 20 micropascals. The sound pressure level is denoted "Lp" or "SPL" and is expressed in decibels.

§ 137-3 Examples of noise.

A. 
The following acts are hereby declared to be examples of loud, disturbing and unnecessary noise in violation of this chapter:
(1) 
Radios; televisions; phonographs. The using, operating, or permitting to be played, used or operated, of any radio receiving set, television, musical instrument, phonograph or other machine or device for the producing or reproducing of sound in a manner to disturb the peace, quiet and comfort of the neighboring inhabitants or with louder volume than is necessary for convenient hearing for the person or persons who are in the room, vehicle or chamber in which the machine or device is operated and who are voluntary listeners thereto is prohibited. The operation of any set, instrument, phonograph, machine or sound production or reproduction device between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. of the following day, in such a manner as to be plainly audible across real property boundaries, or through partitions common to two parties within a building, or any such operation which is plainly audible at a distance of 50 feet from where such device is located when operated within a motor vehicle, building or structure shall be considered prima facie evidence of a violation of this chapter. "Property boundary" is defined as an imaginary line at the ground surface, which line separates the real property owned by one person from that owned by another person, and its vertical extension.
(2) 
Loudspeakers; amplifiers for advertising. The using, operating, or permitting to be played, used or operated, of any radio receiving set, musical instrument, phonograph, loudspeaker, sound amplifier or other machine or device for the producing or reproducing of sound which is cast upon the public streets for the purpose of commercial advertising.
(3) 
Yelling; shouting. Yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling or singing on the public streets, particularly between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. of the following day, or at any time or place so as to annoy or disturb the quiet, comfort or repose of persons in an office, dwelling, hotel, motel or other type of residence, or of any persons in the vicinity.
(4) 
Animals; birds. The keeping of any animals or birds which, by causing frequent or long-continued noise, shall disturb the comfort or repose of any person in the vicinity, but nothing herein contained is intended to apply to a dog pound or kennel licensed in accordance with Chapter 46, Animals, Article I, Dogs and Cats, of this Code.
(5) 
Horns. The sounding of any horn or warning device on any automobile, motorcycle, bus or other vehicle, except when required by law, or when necessary to give timely warning of the approach of the vehicle, or as a warning of impending danger to persons driving other vehicles, or to persons on the street. No persons shall sound any horn or warning device on any automobile, motorcycle, bus or other vehicle which shall emit an unreasonably loud or harsh sound, or for any unnecessary or unreasonable period of time.
(6) 
Steam whistles. The blowing of any steam whistle attached to any stationary boiler, except to give notice of the time to begin or stop work, or as a warning of danger, or as a signal or warning in connection with civil defense, fire or ambulance calls.
(7) 
Bells. The sounding of any bell or gong, or the blowing of any whistle attached to a building or locomotive, except as a warning to prevent injury to life or property.
(8) 
Exhaust. The discharge into the open air of the exhaust of any steam engine, stationary internal combustion engine or motor vehicle, except through a muffler or other device which will effectively prevent loud or explosive noises.
(9) 
Defect in vehicle or load. The use of any automobile, motorcycle or vehicle so out of repair or so loaded as to create loud and unnecessary grating, grinding, rattling or other noise.
(10) 
Loading; unloading; opening boxes. The creation of loud and excessive noise in connection with loading or unloading vehicles or with the opening and destruction of bales, boxes, crates and containers.
(11) 
Construction or repairs. Wherever building or construction permits are required for other than in a completely enclosed structure, excavation, demolition, construction, repair or alteration work in connection with any building, structure or other improvement is prohibited other than between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Where there is urgent necessity or in the interest of public health or safety, the Borough's Construction Official may grant authorization for excavation, demolition, construction, repair or alteration work for a period not to exceed three days during which emergency continues, but the permit may be renewed for an additional period of three days where the emergency continues.
(12) 
Schools; courts; churches; hospitals. The creation of excessive noise on a street adjacent to a school, institution of learning, church or court while in use, which unreasonably interferes with the working of such institution; or on a street adjacent to a hospital, which disturbs or unduly annoys patients in the hospital, provided that conspicuous signs are displayed in the street indicating that it is a school, hospital or court street.
(13) 
Drums. The use of drums or other instruments or devices for the purpose of attracting attention to a performance, show or sale by creation of noise.
(14) 
Hawkers; peddlers. The shouting and crying of peddlers, hawkers and vendors which disturb the peace and quiet of the neighborhood between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 151, Peddling and Soliciting.
(15) 
Transportation of metal rails, pillars and columns. The transportation of rails, pillars or columns of iron, steel or other material on carts, drays, cars, trucks or in any other manner, causing loud noises or disturbing the peace and quiet of streets or other public places.
(16) 
Pile drivers; hammers. The operation other than between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, of any pile driver, steam shovel, bulldozer or other earth-moving machinery, pneumatic hammer, derrick, steam or electric hoist or other appliance, the use of which is attended by loud or unusual noise.
(17) 
Blowers. The operation of a noise creating blower or power fan or an internal combustion engine which causes noise because of the explosion of operating gases or fluids, unless the noise from the blower or fan is muffled and the engine is equipped with a muffler device sufficient to deaden such noises.
(18) 
Devices for scaring off birds and animals. Devices for the purpose of scaring birds and animals, except between sunrise and sunset.
(19) 
Exterior loud speakers. Using or operating any mechanical device or loud speakers in a fixed or movable position exterior to any building or mounted upon any aircraft, motor vehicle or motor boat, such that the sound therefrom is plainly audible at or beyond the property boundary of the source or on a public way between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. of the following day.
(20) 
Lawn mowers, chain saws, etc. The operation, other than between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., of any lawn mower, edger, weed trimmer, chain saw or other device utilizing a motor for the purpose of gardening, cutting wood, cutting or trimming lawns.
B. 
The above enumeration is intended to give illustrations of prohibited noise and shall not be construed as exclusive.

§ 137-4 Power and duties of Noise Control Officer.

The noise control program established by this chapter shall be administered by the Health Department which will have the overall responsibility to coordinate, implement and enforce the provisions of this chapter. The Noise Control Officer shall not enforce any noise regulations within the jurisdiction of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

§ 137-5 Maximum permissible sound levels.

No person shall operate or cause to be operated within the limits of the Borough of Spotswood any source of sound in such manner as to create a sound level which exceeds the limits set forth in Table 1.
Table 1
Maximum Permissible Sound Levels by Receiving Land Use Category
Sound Source Land
Receiving Land Use Category
Use Category
Residential
Commercial
Industrial
Residential
7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
10:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m.
55
50
65
75
Commercial
7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
10:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m.
65
50
65
75
Industrial
7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
10:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m.
65
50
65
75

§ 137-6 Exceptions.

Nothing herein contained shall be construed to apply to:
A. 
The use of bells, chimes or sound amplifiers by churches in church activities.
B. 
Activities of the Borough departments, or contractors hired by the Borough, in the performance of their duties, drills or public demonstrations.
C. 
Activities in public parks, playgrounds or public buildings under the permission or authority of the Borough officials.
D. 
A public utility, as defined in Title 48 of the Revised Statutes of New Jersey, or its employees when the public utility or its employees are engaged in performing work to prevent the threatened interruption of services or to terminate the interruption of service rendered to customers.
E. 
Domestic power tools, lawn mowers and agricultural equipment when operated with a muffler between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. weekdays and 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on weekends and holidays.
F. 
Noise from construction activity.
G. 
The emission of sound for the purpose of alerting persons to the existence of an emergency.
H. 
The emission of sound in the performance of emergency work.

§ 137-7 Sound trucks.

Sound trucks may be operated in accordance with the following regulations on the issuance of a permit by the Board of Commissioners for each occasion and each location:
A. 
Sound trucks shall not be operated in residential zones in the Borough before 9:00 a.m. and after 7:00 p.m.
B. 
Sound trucks shall not be operated in commercial or industrial zones in the Borough before 9:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m.
C. 
Moving sound trucks shall keep to the extreme right-hand side of the road and shall proceed at a speed of not less than 10 miles per hour.
D. 
Stationary sound trucks are prohibited in all residential zones in the Borough, but may be operated in commercial or industrial zones between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

§ 137-8 Enforcement.

A. 
Notice of violations. Violation of any provision of this chapter shall be cause for a notice of violation to be issued by the Noise Control Officer.
B. 
Abatement orders.
(1) 
Except as provided in Subsection B(2), in lieu of issuing a notice of violation as provided in Subsection A, the Noise Control Officer responsible for enforcement of any provision of this chapter may issue an order requiring abatement of any sound alleged to be in violation of this chapter within a reasonable time period and according to guidelines which the Noise Control Officer may prescribe.
(2) 
An abatement order shall not be issued:
(a) 
For any violation covered by Subsection C(2); or
(b) 
When the Noise Control Officer has reason to believe that there will not be compliance with the abatement order.
C. 
Violations and penalties.
[Amended 2-6-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-02]
(1) 
Any person who shall violate a provision of the chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by one or more of the following: a fine not exceeding $2,000 or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days or by a period of community service not exceeding 90 days, or any combination thereof.
(2) 
Each day of violation of any provision of this chapter shall constitute a separate offense.
(3) 
Each day of violation of any provision of this chapter shall constitute a separate offense.
D. 
Other remedies. No provision of this chapter shall be construed to impair any common law or statutory cause of action, or legal remedy therefrom, of any person for injury or damage arising from any violation of this chapter or from other law.