Editor's Note: An ordinance adopted 4-7-1986, Section 1, 2, provided for the repeal of Ch. 13 1/2, Noise, being Sections 13 1/2-1 through 13 1/2-4, as derived from ordinances adopted 7-1-1968, Section 1; 9-4-1968, Section 2; 2-16-1970; 12-9-1980, Section 1; 6-16-1981, Section 1-5; and enacted new provisions relative to the same subject matter designated as Sections 13 1/2-1 through 13 1/2-13.
Section 13 1/2-1Declaration of policy.
Section 13 1/2-2Definitions.
Section 13 1/2-3Factors in determining reasonableness of noise.
Section 13 1/2-4Acts deemed violation.
Section 13 1/2-5Unreasonable noise.
Section 13 1/2-6Prohibited noise.
Section 13 1/2-7Objective standards for the determination of unnecessary noise.
Section 13 1/2-8Recreational vehicles.
Section 13 1/2-9Snowmobiles.
Section 13 1/2-10Air-conditioning and air-filtering devices.
Section 13 1/2-11Places of public entertainment.
Section 13 1/2-12Exemptions from chapter.
Section 13 1/2-13Violations and penalties.
The proliferation of unreasonably loud noises in the city of such character, intensity, duration or repetition as to be detrimental to the life, health or safety of any individual or of the public has reached such proportions that the Common Council, pursuant to the authority granted to it in its state, enabling statutes and in the New York Constitution, Article 9, § 2, to preserve, protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare has adopted this noise control ordinance which pursuant to the standards hereinafter set forth shall delineate permitted noise levels within the city.
For the purposes of this Chapter, the terms used herein shall be defined as follows:
- The American National Standards Institute or its successor bodies.
- A-WEIGHTED SOUND LEVEL
- The frequency-weighted sound pressure level (in decibels) measured on a sound level meter with an A-weighted scale as specified in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) specifications for sound level meters (ANSI No. 4-1971).
- The City of Poughkeepsie, situated within the County of Dutchess and State of New York.
- A unit for measuring the volume of sound equal to 20 times the logarithm to the base of 10 of the ratio of the pressure of the sound measured to the reference pressure which is 20 micropascals [20 micronewtons per square meter].
- A public calamity or the exposure of any person or property to imminent danger.
- EMERGENCY WORK
- Work or activity that is necessary to prevent or recover from an emergency, including but not limited to work to repair electric, gas, water, sewerage and telephone services.
- The A-weighted sound level measured with slow response that is exceeded 10% of the time.
- The A-weighted sound level measured with slow response that is exceeded 50% of the time.
- The A-weighted sound level measured with slow response that is exceeded 90% of the time.
- The logarithm of the ratio of a quantity to a reference of the same kind. The base of the logarithm is 10. The kind of level and the reference must be specified.
- NOISE OF AN IMPULSIVE CHARACTER
- Bursts of sound usually less than one second's duration; for example, explosions and gunshots, which significantly exceed the ambient sound level of the area.
- NOISE OF A PERIOD CHARACTER
- A sound of short duration punctuated by pauses of indefinite duration; for example, a power saw.
- Any person who has regular control of a device or site, including but not limited to the owner of a freehold of the premises or lesser estate therein or mortgages thereof or an agent or lessee of such person.
- Any individual, partnership, company, public or private corporation, association, firm, organization, political subdivision, governmental agency, administration or department, municipality, trust estate, group of individuals or any other legal entity whatsoever.
- RECREATIONAL VEHICLE
- Any vehicle which is propelled by any power other than muscular power that is designated for or capable of cross-country travel, such as a motorcycle, trail bike or minibike, but not a snowmobile. A "recreational vehicle" is also classed as a motor vehicle when such "recreational vehicle" is operated or driven upon a public highway.
- REFUSE-COMPACTING VEHICLE
- Any vehicle which is designated to be used or is actually used to compact and transfer refuse, garbage or trash.
- Any self-propelled vehicle designed for travel on snow or ice, steered by skis or runners and supported in whole or in part by one or more skis, belts or cleats.
- SOUND LEVEL
- The quantity in decibels measured by a sound level meter satisfying the requirements of American National Standards Specification for Sound Level Meters S1.4-1971. This publication is available from the American National Standards Institute, Inc., 1430 Broadway, New York, New York 10018. Sound level is the frequency-weighted sound pressure level obtained with the standardized dynamic characteristic fast or slow and weighting A, B or C; unless indicated otherwise, the A-weighting with a slow response is understood.
- SOUND LEVEL METER
- An instrument, including a microphone, an amplifier, an output meter and frequency-weighing network for the measurement of sound levels. Sound level meters shall conform to the requirements of ANSI specifications for sound level meters S1.4-1971, Types 1, 2, S1A or S2A.
- SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL
- Twenty times the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of the root mean squared pressure of a sound to a reference pressure of 20 micropascals. The unit applied to this measure shall be the decibel (dB).
- UNREASONABLE NOISE
- Any excessive or unusually loud sound which injures or endangers the repose, health, peace or safety of a reasonable person or which causes injury to animal life or damages to a person's property or business.
The factors which will be used to determine that noise is unreasonable to a reasonable person are:
The noise occurs at night between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., rather than during the day;
The source of the sound is permanent, rather than temporary;
The noise is of a periodic or impulsive character, rather than continual and steady;
The noise intrudes into a residential zoning district or an area with sleeping facilities, including residences, apartments, motels, hotels or college dormitories;
The duration of the noise is prolonged, rather than short;
The noise is reoccurring on an intermittent basis, rather than continual and steady;
The noise is louder and more intense than the volume and intensity of the background noise in the area; and
The noise is unnatural, rather than sound normally occurring in nature.
Unreasonable noise shall be measured or determined at the adjoining property line or, in the case of a multiple residence or multiple dwelling, within adjoining or adjacent apartments or hallways.
Any act or violation of any of the provisions of this Chapter is deemed to be in violation of Section 13 1/2-6 of this Chapter without in any way limiting the generality of the provisions of Section 13 1/2-6 of this Chapter.
No person shall make or continue or cause or permit to be made or continued any unreasonable noise. Noncommercial public speaking and public assembly activities conducted in any public space shall be exempt from the operation of this section.
The following acts and the causing thereof are declared to be in violation of this Chapter, but any enumeration herein shall not be deemed to be exclusive:
Drums. The playing or the permitting of playing a drum or drum set between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., other than in a place of public entertainment.
Electronic device or musical instrument outdoors. The projection of sound by an electronic device, musical instrument or otherwise, directly onto the public way for any purpose whatsoever so as to create unreasonable noise. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as prohibiting the normal emanation of sound from a vehicle playing a car radio, tape recorder or similar device or the normal emanation of sound from the demonstration or use of a musical instrument within a store or within a music department of a store; provided, however, that there is no unreasonable noise therefrom at a distance of 50 feet or more from said vehicle or store.
Building construction. Operating or permitting the operation of any tool or equipment used in construction, drilling or demolition work, including excavation, and the alteration or repair of any building between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 6:30 a.m., except in the case of an emergency or the interests of public safety and then only with a permit of the Building Inspector, which permit may be issued for a maximum period of three days and may be renewed once for a maximum period of three days during the existence of the emergency period.
Loading or unloading vehicles, boxes. The loading or unloading of any vehicle or the opening and destruction of bales, boxes, crates and/or containers in such a manner so as to create unreasonable noise at the adjoining property line, or in the case of a multiple residence, within the adjoining or adjacent apartment.
Refuse compacting. The operation of a refuse-compacting vehicle in the process of compacting or collecting refuse contained in a dumpster or similar receptacle between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. or the operation of a refuse-compacting vehicle in the process of compacting or collecting refuse contained in individual garbage cans between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
It shall be prima facie evidence that an act is in violation of this Chapter when a sound level meter determines that the decibel level of a particular activity is in excess of the standards hereinafter set forth. All measurements will be made on the A-weighted sound level of a sound level meter with a slow response.
No person shall operate or permit to be operated any recreational vehicle off a public highway at any time, at any speed or under any condition of grade, load, acceleration or deceleration or in any manner whatsoever as to exceed 92 dBA. The limit shall apply at a distance of 50 feet from such recreational vehicle.
No person shall operate or permit to be operated any snowmobile at any time, at any speed or under any condition of grade, load, acceleration or deceleration or in any manner whatsoever as to exceed 82 dBA. The limit shall apply at a distance of 50 feet from such snowmobile.
Except as provided by Subsection (d) of this section, no person shall operate or permit to be operated an air-conditioning or air-filtering device that exceeds the maximum sound level limitations provided in this section.
In areas zoned for multiple dwellings or apartments, continuous sound shall not exceed 50 dBA outside any living area window with the microphone not more than three feet from the window opening.
The provisions of this section shall not apply if the sound from the air conditioner or air-filtering device produces less than a five-dBA increase in the sound level that exists in the absence of such sound.
No person shall operate or permit to be operated a place of public entertainment, including but not limited to a restaurant, bar, cafe, discotheque or dance hall in which the sound level is equal to or exceeds 95 dBA sustained for more than 30 seconds measured at the location of the spectators.
The following sounds shall not be deemed to be in violation of this Chapter:
Sounds created by church bells or chimes.
Sounds created by any government agency by the use of public warning devices.
Sounds created by lawn mowers and home power tools in good working order in use between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. weekdays and 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Sundays and holidays.
Sounds created by public utilities in carrying out the operations of their franchise.
Sounds connected with sporting events of any public or private school or an authorized carnival, fair, exhibition, parade or concert authorized by permit of the city.
Sounds created by safety and protective devices.
Sounds created by the operation of a code-compliant emergency generator operating during a bona fide emergency. As used in this section, "bona fide emergency" means any condition existing on real property which renders, or has the capability to render, the real property uninhabitable or causes an interruption of electrical power from normal utility sources on the real property parcel where the generator is operated.
Sounds created by the lawful testing of an emergency generator, provided that it is not operated more than once a month during the daytime, and for a maximum of 60 minutes, plus once a year for a maximum of 180 minutes.
For each and every violation of the provisions of this Chapter, the person violating the same shall be guilty of an offense and shall be punished by not more than a fine of $300 and/or a term of imprisonment not to exceed 10 days. If the violator is a corporation, the fine shall not exceed $500 and/or a term of imprisonment not to exceed 10 days. Each and every day the violation continues after the owner has been notified of violation shall be deemed to be a separate and distinct violation.