Township of Springfield, PA
Delaware County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by Board of Commissioners of the Township of Springfield 6-12-1979 as Ord. No. 1010. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Dogs — See Ch. 36.
Explosives — See Ch. 41.
Firearms and fireworks — See Ch. 48.

§ 77-1 Title.

This ordinance may be cited as the "Anti-noise Ordinance of the Township of Springfield."

§ 77-2 Findings; purpose.

Whereas, excessive noise is a serious hazard to the public health and welfare and the quality of life; and
Whereas, a substantial body of science and technology exists by which excessive noise may be substantially abated; and
Whereas, the people have a right to and should be ensured an environment free from noise that may jeopardize their health or welfare or degrade the quality of life; and
Whereas, the necessity in the public interest for the provisions and prohibitions hereinafter contained and enacted, is declared as a matter of legislative determination and public policy and the provisions and prohibitions hereinafter contained and enacted are in pursuance of and for the purpose of securing and promoting the public health, comfort, convenience, safety and welfare and the peace and quiet of the inhabitants of the Township of Springfield.
Now, therefore, it is the policy of the Township of Springfield to prevent noise which may jeopardize the health or welfare of its citizens or degrade the quality of life.

§ 77-3 Terminology and standards.

All terminology used in this chapter and not defined below shall be in conformance with applicable publications of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or its successor body.

§ 77-4 Definitions.

As used in this ordinance, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AMBIENT NOISE LEVEL
The sound pressure level of the all encompassing noise associated with a given environment, being usually a composite of sounds from many sources and/or the A-weighted sound pressure level exceeded 90% of the time/L90 based on a one-hour period.
A-WEIGHTED SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL
The sound pressure level as measured in decibels on a sound level meter using the A-weighting network. The level so read shall be designated dB(A) or dBA.
CONTINUOUS NOISE
A steady, fluctuating or impact noise which exists, essentially without interruptions, for a period of one hour or more.
CYCLICALLY VARYING NOISE
A steady, fluctuating or impulsive noise which may or may not contain a pure tone, which varies in sound pressure level such that the same level is obtained repetitively at reasonably uniform intervals of time.
DECIBEL
A logarithmic (dimensionless) unit of measure often used in describing the amplitude of sound. Decibel is denoted as "dB."
DEPARTMENT
Any municipal agency.
DEVICE
Any mechanism which is intended to produce or which actually produces noise when operated or handled.
EMERGENCY VEHICLE
A motor vehicle used in response to a public calamity or to protect persons or property from imminent danger.
EMERGENCY WORK
Work made necessary to restore property to a safe condition following a public calamity, work to restore public utilities or work required to protect persons or property from an imminent exposure to danger.
FLUCTUATING NOISE
The sound pressure level of a "fluctuating noise" varies more than six dB(A) during the period of observation when measured with the slow meter characteristic of a sound level meter and does not equal the previously existing ambient noise level more than once during the period of observation.
MOTOR VEHICLE
Any vehicle which is propelled or drawn by mechanical equipment, such as but not limited to passenger cars, trucks, truck-trailers, semitrailers, campers, motorcycles, minibikes, go-carts, snowmobiles, amphibious craft on land, dune buggies or racing vehicles.
MUFFLER
Any apparatus consisting of baffles, chambers of acoustical absorbing materials, whose primary purpose is to transmit liquids or gases while causing a reduction in sound emission at one end.
NOISE
Any sound which is unwanted or which causes or tends to cause an adverse psychological effect on human beings.
NOISE BAFFLE
A physical barrier for deflecting, checking or otherwise regulating the flow of noise.
[Added 9-14-1993 by Ord. No. 1285]
NOISE DISTURBANCE
Any sound which annoys, disturbs or perturbs reasonable persons with normal sensitivities; or any sound which injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, hearing, peace or safety of other persons.
PERSON
Any individual, association, partnership or corporation and includes any officer, employee, department, agency or instrumentality of the United States, a state or any political subdivision of that state.
PLAINLY AUDIBLE NOISE
Any noise for which the information content of that noise is unambiguously communicated to the listener, such as but not limited to understandable spoken speech or comprehensive rhythms.
POWERED MODEL VEHICLES
Any powered vehicles, either airborne or landborne, which are not designed to carry persons or property, such as but not limited to model airplanes, boats, cars or rockets and which can be propelled by mechanical means.
PROPERTY BOUNDARY
Any 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.
PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
Any street, avenue, boulevard, highway, alley or similar place which is owned or controlled by a public government entity.
PURE TONE
Any noise which can be distinctly heard as a single pitch or a set of single pitches. For the purposes of measurement, a "pure tone" shall exist if the one-third octave band sound pressure level is the band which the tone exceeds the arithmetic average of the sound pressure levels of the two contiguous one-third octave bands by five dB for frequencies of 500 hertz and above, by eight dB for frequencies between 160 and 400 hertz and by 15 dB for frequencies less than or equal to 125 hertz.
REPETITIVE IMPULSIVE NOISE
Any noise which is composed of impulsive noises that are repeated at sufficiently slow rates such that a sound level meter set at fast meter characteristic will show changes in sound pressure level greater than two dB(A).
SOUND
A temporal and spatial oscillation in pressure or other physical quantity in a medium with internal forces that causes compression and rarefaction of that medium and that propagates at finite speed to distant points.
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.
STATIONARY EMERGENCY SIGNALING DEVICES
Any device, excluding those attached to motor vehicles, used to alert persons engaged in emergency operations. These include, but are not limited to fire fighters, first aid squad members and law enforcement officers, whether paid or volunteer.
STATIONARY NOISE SOURCE
Any device, fixed or movable, which is located or used on geographically defined, real property other than a public right-of-way.
STEADY NOISE
A sound pressure level which remains essentially constant during the period of observation, i.e., the fluctuations are too small to meet the criterion for fluctuating noise.
TIME
Prevailing time.
TOWNSHIP
Springfield Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

§ 77-5 Enforcement.

It shall be the duty and responsibility of the Police Department and the Health Officer of the Township of Springfield to enforce the provisions of this ordinance.

§ 77-6 Method of enforcement.

A violation of this ordinance shall be cause for summons and complaint to be issued forthwith; provided, however, that if the noise source is not a motor vehicle moving on a public right-of-way, in lieu of a summons and complaint, enforcement personnel may issue a notice, in writing, which may be served personally or by certified mail to the last known address of the person or persons in charge of or in control of the device, building or premises. The notice shall state the nature of the violation and a specific time period for the correction and abatement of the violation. Failure to comply with the notice so issued shall constitute a violation of this ordinance.

§ 77-7 Power of township.

In order to implement the purposes of this ordinance, the Police Department and the Health Officer of the Township of Springfield shall have the following powers:
A. 
Studies. To conduct or cause to be conducted studies, research and monitoring related to noise.
B. 
Education. To conduct programs of public education regarding the cause and effects of noise but not giving specific advice for its abatement and to encourage the participation of public interest groups in related public information efforts.
C. 
Inspections. For reasonable cause and upon presentation of proper credentials, to enter any building, property, premises or place and inspect any noise source for the purpose of ascertaining the compliance or noncompliance with any provisions of this ordinance, or have access to and require the production of books and papers pertinent to any matter under investigation.
D. 
Records. To require the owner or operator of any noise source to establish and maintain records and make such reports as the township may reasonably prescribe.
E. 
Measurements. To require the owner or operator of any noise source to measure the noise emissions thereof in accordance with such methods and procedures and at such locations and times as the township may reasonably prescribe.

§ 77-8 General prohibitions.

It shall be unlawful for any person to make, continue to cause to be made or continue or cause any excessive or unusually loud noise or to create a noise disturbance within the limits of the Township of Springfield.

§ 77-9 Specific prohibitions.

The following acts, among others, are declared to be loud, disturbing or excessive noise and/or noise disturbance in violation of this ordinance, but said enumeration shall not be deemed to be exclusive:
A. 
Horns and signaling devices. The sounding of any horn or signaling device on any motor vehicle except as a danger warning signal or as provided in the Vehicle Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
B. 
Radios, television sets and similar devices.
(1) 
Operating or permitting the use or operation of any radio receiving set, musical instrument, television, phonograph, drum or other device for the production or reproduction of sound in such manner as to cause a noise disturbance; or
(2) 
Operating any such device between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. 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 and plainly audible at 50 feet from such device when operated within a motor vehicle parked on a public right-of-way or on a public space.
C. 
Exterior loudspeakers. Using or operating any audible electronic device or loudspeaker in a fixed or movable position exterior to any building or mounted upon any vehicle or structure is hereby prohibited from all commercial or industrial establishments.
[Amended 1-8-1980 by Ord. No. 1027; 6-11-1985 by Ord. No. 1108]
(1) 
Interior loud speakers which emit noise levels to any area outside of the building of the commercial or industrial establishment and which exceed the limits set forth in § 77-10 herein shall be prohibited.
[Added 11-14-1989 by Ord. No. 1214]
(2) 
Failure to close movable building parts, including, but not limited to, open windows, open garage doors, open hanger doors and other like building parts or any openings which enable noise to escape the structure, in the operation of interior loud speakers, if such continuous opening contributes in any manner to the violation of this section, shall, after notification by the Code Enforcement Officer or other enforcement personnel, be a separate violation subject to the penalties imposed by Article II, General Penalty. § 1-10, Violations and penalties, Subsection A(1), of Chapter 1.
[Added 11-14-1989 by Ord. No. 1214]
D. 
Animals. Owning, keeping, possessing or harboring any animal or animals which, by frequent or habitual howling, barking, meowing, squawking or other noisemaking shall cause a noise disturbance. The provisions of this section shall also apply to all private or public facilities, including any animal pounds which hold or treat animals.
E. 
Loading operations. Loading, unloading, opening or otherwise handling boxes, crates, containers, garbage cans or other similar objects between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. the following day in such a manner as to cause a noise disturbance.
F. 
Construction noise. Operating or causing to be operated any equipment used in commercial construction, repair, alteration or demolition work on buildings, structures, streets, alleys or appurtenances thereto in any land use category between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 7:30 a.m. the following day.
[Amended 10-8-1996 by Ord. No. 1323]
G. 
Vehicle repairs or testing. Repairing, rebuilding, modifying or testing any motor vehicle, off-road vehicle or motorboat in or near a residential use district in such a manner as to cause a noise disturbance or violate the provisions of § 77-11.
H. 
Places of public entertainment. Operating or permitting to be operated any loudspeaker or other source of sound in any place of public entertainment which produces a maximum sound pressure level of 90 dB(A) at any point that is normally occupied by a human being as read with the slow response on a sound level meter, without a conspicuous and legible sign located outside such place, near the entrance, stating "WARNING: SOUND ENVIRONMENT WITHIN MAY CAUSE TEMPORARY HEARING IMPAIRMENT WHICH MAY BECOME PERMANENT WITH CONTINUED EXPOSURE."
I. 
Powered model vehicles. Operating or permitting the operation of powered model vehicles between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. the following morning. Maximum sound pressure levels during the permitted period of operation shall conform to those set forth in Table I of § 77-10 and shall be measured at the property boundary of the source. Powered model vehicles shall not be operated on public property.
J. 
Refuse compacting vehicles. The operating or permitting the operation of any motor vehicle which can compact refuse and which creates, during the compacting cycle, a disturbing noise between the hours of 9:30 p.m. and 7:30 a.m. the following day in any Business District, Shopping Center District, Special Use District or Industrial District, as defined in Chapter 143 of the Code of the Township of Springfield, if an establishment therein abuts within 100 feet of a residentially-zoned property upon which there is a residence building.
K. 
Bells and alarms. The sounding or permitting the sounding of any exterior burglar alarm on any building or motor vehicle unless such burglar alarm shall terminate its operating within 15 minutes of its being activated.
L. 
Stationary emergency signaling devices. Testing of only the electromechanical functioning of a stationary emergency signaling device shall occur at the same time each day that a test is performed, but not before 8:00 a.m. or after 6:00 p.m. Any such testing shall only use the minimum cycle test time.
M. 
Tools. Operating or permitting to be operated any powered saw, sander, drill, grinder, garden equipment or tools of like nature, used primarily for domestic purposes, outdoors in residential zones between one hour after sunset and 8:00 a.m. the following day.
N. 
Motorized parking lot sweepers. The operating or permitting of the operation of any motor vehicle or motor-driven equipment which is designed to collect refuse by rotating broom, vacuum, blower or other method requiring mechanical operation and which creates during the collection cycle or operation a disturbing noise between the hours of 9:30 p.m. and 7:30 a.m. the following day in an E Business District, SC Shopping Center District, SU Special Use District or F Industrial District, as defined in Chapter 143 of the Code of the Township of Springfield.
[Added 4-11-1989 by Ord. No. 1199]
O. 
Idling motor vehicle engines.
[Added 12-10-1991 by Ord. No. 1254]
(1) 
Operating or permitting the operation of a commercial motor vehicle engaged in the process of loading or unloading (or standing or parked in anticipation thereof or following the same) and allowing the engine of the motor vehicle to idle, or otherwise run unnecessarily when vehicle is standing motionless (even though the noise generated may measure less than provided by § 77-10 of Chapter 77). An exception is made for a motor vehicle which uses its engine as the main source of power for adjunct refrigeration equipment designed for the preservation of food products being delivered.
(2) 
In areas of the Township of Springfield zoned E Business District, SC Shopping Center District, SU Special Use District or F Industrial District, as defined in Chapter 143, Zoning, of the Code of the Township of Springfield, the property owner or lessee, or their representative or agent, of property located therein, which requires motor vehicle loading or unloading at their place of business or establishment shall provide a sign which shall be posted and maintained where the motor vehicle operator may readily see it, which shall inform the vehicle operator of the requirements of this ordinance. Said sign shall be between a minimum of 300 square inches and a maximum of 400 square inches in area and of durable construction and shall be, for the purpose of this ordinance, considered a governmental sign, as provided in Chapter 143, § 143-101C(2), for which a permit is not required. Such real property owner, lessee or their representative or agent in violation of the provisions hereof shall be subject to the penalty provision hereof.
P. 
All air conditioners, refrigeration units, compressors, heat pumps or air-handling mechanical devices in nonresidential districts which exist or are to be installed shall be provided with a noise baffle designed to eliminate any audible noise from the operating equipment from reaching abutting residential property boundaries. In this requirement, the provisions of § 77-10, entitled "Maximum permissible continuous sound pressure levels," shall not be applicable. Existing equipment must be modified to meet this requirement upon receipt of complaints or when the property changes ownership and/or a new certificate of occupancy, as required by Chapter 20, is requested. The noise baffle shall be constructed and installed in accordance with applicable township ordinances. Once installed, the noise baffle shall be maintained to preserve the integrity of the noise baffle.
[Added 9-14-1993 by Ord. No. 1285]

§ 77-10 Maximum permissible continuous sound pressure levels.

A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to operate or permit to be operated any stationary source of noise in such a manner as to create a sound pressure level which exceeds the limits set forth for the receiving land use (Land Use Category) in Table I below when measured at the property boundary. When a noise source can be identified and its noise measured in more than one land use category, the limits of the most restrictive use shall apply at the boundaries between different land use categories.
B. 
For any source of sound which emits a pure tone or impulsive sound, the maximum sound level limits set forth in Table I shall be reduced by five dB(A).
Table I
Receiving Land Use Category*
Time
Sound Pressure Level Limit
[dB(A)]
A, B, C Residence District
8:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
55
D Apartment Districts
10:00 p.m. - 8:00a.m.
50
E Business Districts
At all times
60
SC Shopping Center Districts
At all times
60
SU Special Use Districts
At all times
60
F Industrial Districts
At all times
65
*NOTE: As provided in Chapter 143 of the Code.

§ 77-11 Maximum permissible motor vehicle noise levels on public rights-of-way.

No person shall operate a motor vehicle on a public right-of-way at any time in such manner that the sound pressure level emitted by said vehicle exceeds the levels set forth in Table II when measured at the location established by § 77-13. This section shall apply to all motor vehicles, whether publicly or privately owned, that are duly licensed.
Table II
Sound Pressure Level [dB(A)]
Speed Limit
Speed Limit
Vehicle Class
35 mph or less
35 mph or more
Federally registered interstate motor carrier
86
90
All other motor vehicles with manufacturer's gross vehicle rating of 10,000 pounds or more, and any combination of vehicles towed by such motor vehicle
92
96
Motorcycles
88
92
Any other motor vehicle and any combination of vehicles towed by such motor vehicle
82
88

§ 77-12 Measurement of distance for motor vehicle noise levels.

For the purpose of § 77-11, the standard measurement height shall be four feet (1.2 meters) and the standard horizontal measurement distance from the center line of the traffic lane being monitored shall be 50 feet (15 meters). Whenever it is not feasible to use 50 feet, the distance may be shortened to 25 feet (7.5 meters), in which case the values of Table II of § 77-11 shall be increased by six dBA.

§ 77-13 Motorized vehicles off public rights-of-way.

No person shall operate or cause to be operated any motorized vehicle off a public right-of-way in such a manner that the sound pressure level therefrom exceeds those stated in Table I of § 77-10 when measured at the property line. Recreational motorized vehicles shall not be operated in public parks.

§ 77-14 Exceptions.

A. 
Noise caused in the performance of emergency work for the immediate safety, health or welfare of the community or individuals of the community or to restore property to a safe condition following a public calamity shall not be subject to the provisions of this ordinance. Nothing in the section shall be construed to permit law enforcement, ambulance, fire or other emergency personnel to make excessive noise in the performance of their duties when such noise is clearly unnecessary. The use of stationary emergency signaling devices shall be for emergency use only.
B. 
The Board of Commissioners may grant specific and temporary exceptions to the provisions of this ordinance upon receipt of a written application requesting such exception. The application shall state the nature of the violation and the reason for the request. No exceptions shall be granted for a period exceeding one year from the date of the request. Any person affected by any noise source for which an application for exception has been filed may also submit information to the Board of Commissioners in favor of or in opposition to the proposed exception. Notice of requests for exceptions shall be advertised in a local newspaper of general circulation and persons residing within 200 feet of the location of the exception shall be notified by certified mail of the request. A public hearing shall be held within 30 days of receipt of the request and a decision rendered by the Board within 30 days of the hearing.

§ 77-15 Violations and penalties. [1]

[Added 12-10-1991 by Ord. No. 1254]
Failure of any person to comply with the sections of this ordinance shall constitute an offense punishable under the provisions of Chapter 1, Article II, as amended, of the Code of the Township of Springfield.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 77-15, Violations and penalties, was repealed 4-21-1987 by Ord. No. 1156.

§ 77-16 Injunctive relief.

The operation or maintenance of any noise source in violation of any provision of this ordinance shall be deemed and is declared to be a public nuisance and may be subject to abatement summarily by a restraining order or injunction issued by a court of competent jurisdiction or in any other manner available for the abatement of public nuisances.

§ 77-17 Other remedies; construal of provisions.

A. 
Any remedy available pursuant to this ordinance shall be considered separate and not exclusive of any other remedy available hereunder.
B. 
Nothing in this ordinance shall be construed to impair any cause of action or legal remedy therefor of any person for injury or damage arising from any violation of this ordinance.

§ 77-18 Repealer.

Chapter 33 of the Code of the Township of Springfield, Article II, Noise, and Article III, Disorderly Practices, § 33-9, Definitions, Subsections A, B and C thereof, are hereby repealed and all other ordinances inconsistent herewith are repealed, but only to the extent of such inconsistency.

§ 77-19 (Reserved) [1]

[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 77-19, Expiration date, was repealed 5-13-1980 by Ord. No. 1030.