City of Oneonta, NY
Otsego County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Oneonta 7-3-2001 by Ord. No. 8-2001.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Animals — See Ch. 68.
Building construction — See Ch. 86.
Circuses, exhibitions, shows and carnivals — See Ch. 100.
Parades, assemblages and motorcades — See Ch. 188.
Peddling and soliciting — See Ch. 204.
Public conduct — See Ch. 220.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance superseded the provisions of former Ch. 178, Noise, derived from Art. I and VIII of Ch. 65 of the 1975 Compilation.

§ 178-1 Legislative intent.

The Common Council determines that the creation of excessive and unreasonable noise within the City limits of Oneonta is a detriment to the comfort, convenience, safety, health and welfare of the citizens of the City and that the persons within the City are entitled to have maintained noise levels which are not a detriment to life, health, welfare and enjoyment of property. Therefore, it intends hereby to prohibit all excessive and unreasonable noise from all sources subject to its police power in order to preserve, protect and promote health, safety and welfare and the peace, quiet, comfort and repose of persons within the City.

§ 178-2 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context or subject matter otherwise requires:
AMBIENT NOISE
The all-encompassing noise associated with a given environment, usually being a composite of sounds with sources near and far.
DECIBEL (dB)
A standard unit for measuring the volume of sound.
EMERGENCY WORK
Work made necessary to restore property to a safe condition following a public calamity or work required to protect persons or property from an imminent exposure to danger.
REASONABLE PERSON OF NORMAL SENSITIVENESS
For purposes of this chapter, a reasonable person of normal sensitiveness shall include citizens, whether residing in the area or not, and police officers of the City of Oneonta.
SOUND-AMPLIFYING EQUIPMENT
Any machine or device for the amplification of the human voice, music or any other sound. "Sound-amplifying equipment," as used in this chapter, shall not include warning devices on authorized emergency vehicles or horns or other warning devices on any vehicle used only for traffic safety purposes.
SOUND-LEVEL METER
An instrument, including a microphone, an amplifier, an output meter and frequency weighting networks, for the measurement of noise and sound levels in a specified manner.

§ 178-3 Unreasonable noise prohibited; prohibited noises enumerated.

It shall be unlawful for any person to willfully make or continue, or cause to be made or continued, any loud, unnecessary, unreasonable or unusual noise, or to permit any other so to do, which disturbs the peace or quiet within the geographical boundaries of the City of Oneonta, or which causes discomfort or annoyance to any reasonable person of normal sensitiveness. For the purposes of this chapter, it shall be presumed that the owner, tenant, person or persons in possession or control, and the occupants of the particular premises, are, jointly or severally, permitting such noise. Prohibited noises may arise from the following activities, but the following list shall not be deemed to be exclusive:
A. 
The use or operation, or allowing any other person or persons to use or operate, any radio receiving set, musical instrument or instruments, phonograph, television set, amplifier, loudspeaker, or other machine or device for the producing or reproducing of sound in such manner as to disturb the peace, quiet and comfort of neighboring residents or of any reasonable person of normal sensitiveness, whether residing in the area or not. This provision shall not be construed to prohibit public performances being conducted in accordance with the provisions of a special permit granted by the City.
B. 
Any noise on any street, sidewalk or public place adjacent to any school, institution of learning or church while the same is in use or adjacent to any hospital, which noise unreasonably interferes with the workings of such institution or which disturbs or unduly annoys patients in the hospital, provided that conspicuous signs are displayed in such streets, sidewalks or public places indicating the presence of a school, church or hospital.
C. 
The hawking, peddling or sale by outcry within any area of the City. The provisions of this section shall not be construed to prohibit the selling by outcry of merchandise, food and beverages at licensed sporting events, parades, fairs, circuses and other similar licensed public entertainment events.
D. 
The maintenance or harboring, or allowing the keeping of, upon any premises owned, occupied or controlled by such person, any animal or fowl otherwise permitted to be kept which by any sound, cry or behavior shall cause annoyance or discomfort to a reasonable person of normal sensitiveness.
E. 
The operation of any machinery, equipment, pump, fan, air-conditioning apparatus or similar mechanical device in any manner so as to create any noise which would cause annoyance or discomfort to a reasonable person of normal sensitiveness.
F. 
The performance or engagement in construction or repair work after 9:00 p.m. or before 7:00 a.m., excepting emergency work and including but not limited to building, excavation, site preparation, hoisting, grading, demolishing, dredging or pneumatic hammering, where the standards for determination so dictate or in such a manner that a reasonable person of normal sensitiveness in the area is caused discomfort or annoyance.
G. 
The repair, rebuilding or testing of any motor vehicle, excepting emergency repairs, where the standards for determination so dictate or in such a manner that a reasonable person of normal sensitiveness in the area is caused discomfort or annoyance.
H. 
The operation or sounding, or causing to be operated or sounded, a train horn or train whistle, or any horn or security alarm or other auditory signaling device where the standards for determination so dictate or in such a manner that a reasonable person of normal sensitiveness in the area is caused discomfort or annoyance, except as required by law or to provide a warning signal during use thereof. This provision shall not be construed to prohibit the use and operation of a signal device in an emergency vehicle.
I. 
The operation of a vehicle without an adequate muffler or exhaust system to prevent any unreasonable noise in violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Law § 375, Subdivision 31.
J. 
The use and operation of any sound-reproduction device in a vehicle which would constitute a threat to the safety of pedestrians or vehicle operators or where conditions of overcrowding or street repair or other physical conditions are such that the use of a sound-reproduction device would deprive the public the right to the safe, comfortable, convenient and peaceful enjoyment of a public street, park or place for public purpose and would constitute a threat to the safety and welfare of the public.
K. 
The operation of a bar, nightclub or tavern while any doors or windows to such establishment are open enough to allow emanating noise to reasonably disturb neighboring residences.
[Added 4-6-2004 by Ord. No. 1-2004]
L. 
The emptying of any refuse container or dumpster into a garbage collection vehicle before 5:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.
[Added 6-7-2016 by Ord. No. 4-2016]

§ 178-4 Standards for determination.

The standard or standards to be considered in determining whether a noise is unreasonable noise which constitutes a prohibited noise shall include, but not be limited to, one or more of the following:
A. 
The volume of the noise.
B. 
The intensity of the noise and/or its purpose.
C. 
Whether the nature of the noise is usual or unusual.
D. 
Whether the origin of the noise is natural or unnatural.
E. 
The volume and intensity of the background noise, if any.
F. 
The proximity of the noise to residential sleeping facilities.
G. 
The nature and the zoning district of the area within which the noise emanates.
H. 
The date, time of day or night the noise occurs.
I. 
The duration of the noise.
J. 
Whether the noise is temporary.
K. 
Whether the noise is continuous or impulsive.
L. 
The presence of discrete tones.

§ 178-5 Exceptions.

A. 
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the production of music in connection with any military or civic parade, funeral procession or religious service or the use of any bell or chimes or other instrument, apparatus or device by any church or synagogue, or school licensed or chartered by the State of New York, provided that such production or use does not occur between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. of the following day.
B. 
Sounds created by any governmental agency or railroad agency by the use of public warning devices are exempted from the limitations of this chapter.
C. 
Sounds created by public utilities in carrying out the normal operations of their franchises are exempted from limitations of this chapter.
D. 
Sounds created in the normal exercise of any legitimate trade, industry, business or employment, provided that it is not conducted in such a manner as to create any unreasonable or unnecessary noise of any unreasonable extent or duration, unless such sounds are specifically addressed in this chapter.
[Amended 6-7-2016 by L.L. No. 1-2016]
E. 
Properly registered and approved amplified sounds as defined and regulated in § 178-6 below.

§ 178-6 Loudspeaker permits.

A. 
Registration required. It shall be unlawful for any person, other than personnel of law enforcement or governmental agencies, to install, use or operate within the City a loudspeaker or sound-amplifying equipment in a fixed or movable position or mounted upon any vehicle for the purpose of giving instructions, directions, talks, addresses, lectures or transmitting music to any persons or assemblages of persons in or upon any street, alley, sidewalk, park, place or public property without first filing a registration statement and obtaining approval thereof as set forth in this section.
B. 
Registration requirements and duties.
(1) 
Registration statements; filing. Every user of sound-amplifying equipment shall file a registration statement with the City Clerk five days prior to the date on which the sound-amplifying equipment is intended to be used, which statement shall contain the following information:
(a) 
The name, address and telephone number of both the owner and user of the sound-amplifying equipment.
(b) 
The maximum sound-producing power of the sound-amplifying equipment, which shall include the wattage to be used, the volume in decibels of sound which will be produced and the approximate distance for which sound will be audible from the sound-amplifying equipment.
(c) 
The license and motor number if a sound truck is to be used.
(d) 
A general description of the sound-amplifying equipment which is to be used.
(e) 
Whether the sound-amplifying equipment will be used for commercial or noncommercial purposes.
(2) 
Statements; approval after submission to City Clerk for approval. The City Clerk shall return to the applicant an approved certified copy of the registration statement, unless it is found that:
(a) 
The conditions of the motor vehicle movement are such that use of the equipment would constitute a detriment to traffic safety;
(b) 
The conditions of pedestrian movement are such that use of the equipment would constitute a detriment to traffic safety; or
(c) 
The registration statement reveals that the applicant would not be able to comply with the provisions of this chapter.
(3) 
Statements; disapproval. In the event that the registration statement is disapproved, the City Clerk shall endorse upon the statement the reasons for disapproval and return it forthwith to applicant.
C. 
Fees. Prior to the issuance of the registration statement, a fee in the amount to be set from time to time by resolution by the Common Council of the City of Oneonta, per day, or any portion thereof, shall be paid to the City, if the loudspeaker or sound-amplifying equipment is to be used for commercial purposes. No fee shall be required for operation of loudspeakers or sound-amplifying equipment for noncommercial purposes.
D. 
Regulations. The commercial and noncommercial use of sound-amplifying equipment shall be subject to the following regulations:
(1) 
The only sounds permitted shall be either music or human speech, or both.
(2) 
The operation of sound-amplifying equipment shall only occur between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. each day, except on Sundays and legal holidays. No operation of sound-amplifying equipment for commercial purposes shall be permitted on Sundays or legal holidays. The operation of sound-amplifying equipment for noncommercial purposes on Sundays and legal holidays shall only occur between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
(3) 
No sound emanating from sound-amplifying equipment shall exceed 15 dBA above the ambient, as measured at any property line.
(4) 
It shall be unlawful to operate any sound-amplifying equipment within 200 feet of churches, schools, hospitals or City or county buildings.
(5) 
In any event, the volume of sound shall be so controlled that it will not be unreasonably loud, raucous, jarring, disturbing or a nuisance to reasonable persons of normal sensitiveness within the area of audibility.

§ 178-7 Penalties for offenses.

Any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be punished as provided in § 1-18 of this Code.