Town of Ashland, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Ashland 5-3-2017 Annual Town Meeting, Art. 16.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Alarm systems — See Ch. 77.
Peddling — See Ch. 215, Art. I.
[1]
Editor's Note: This enactment also repealed former Ch. 204, Noise, adopted at the May 1995 Annual Town Meeting, as amended.
This bylaw is adopted to regulate, prohibit, eliminate and abate, loud, unusual, and unnecessary noise, or noises which annoy, disturb, injure or endanger the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of others within the Town of Ashland.
1. 
This Bylaw may be cited as "The Nuisance Noise Bylaw."
A. 
"Nuisance Noise" is any noise that prevents a property owner from enjoying the reasonable expectation of enjoyment of their property.
B. 
"Reasonable Person" is able to judge in an unbiased manner the appropriateness of a given social situation. A reasonable person is informed, rational, capable, aware of the law, and fair minded when application of the law is sought taking into account the factors in § 204-4 of this Bylaw.
C. 
"Responsible Party" is the owner or lessee, which is in control of the property on which the noise is emanating and/or occurring at the time the alleged violation occurs.
A. 
No person or business shall make, continue, cause or permit to be made or continued, any intermittent or continuous loud or excessive noise by way of music, machinery, motor vehicles or any other means which would disturb any Reasonable Person within the Town of Ashland.
B. 
The following factors may be used to determine whether a noise is unreasonably loud or excessive noise and is likely to disturb any reasonable person including, but are not limited to:
i) 
Land use and zoning from which the noise is emanating;
ii) 
Land use and zoning of the surrounding area, including proximity of the sound to any residential use or other use containing sleeping quarters;
iii) 
Time of day and day of week;
iv) 
Duration;
v) 
Volume;
vi) 
Type or nature of the sound;
vii) 
The frequency of occurrence;
viii) 
The nature of the activity from which the sound emanates; and
ix) 
Any other relevant factor.
A. 
Motor Vehicle and Machinery Noises.
i) 
No person or business shall create loud, excessive, unusual or unnecessary noise in the operation of a motor vehicle upon a public street, lane, or thoroughfare within the Town of Ashland whether the noise is caused by the mechanical condition of the motor vehicle or the manner which the motor vehicle is operated and whether or not the vehicle is stationary or moving at the time the noise is created.
ii) 
No person or business shall emit or cause the emission of any loud, excessive, unusual or unnecessary noise or noises which annoy, disturb, injure, endanger, or detract from the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of others within the Town of Ashland resulting from any of the following acts:
a) 
The sounding of a motor vehicle signaling device or warning device, or siren, except where required by state or federal law or authorized by this Bylaw.
b) 
The continuous operation of an engine or motor, in or on any motor vehicle, or vehicles, or item of auxiliary equipment for a continuous period exceeding five minutes while such is stationary unless:
1) 
The vehicle or machinery is being driven or operated on a public road or private way; or
2) 
The vehicle, machine, auxiliary equipment, or engine is in an enclosed structure so as to effectively prevent excessive noise emissions; or
3) 
Weather conditions justify the use of heating, refrigerating or air conditioning systems powered by a motor or engine for the safety and welfare of the operator, passengers or animals, or the preservation of perishable cargo; or
4) 
Prevailing low temperatures make longer idling periods necessary after starting the motor or engine.
iii) 
No person shall allow the diesel motor of a tractor, which pulls a trailer or semi-trailer truck to remain running longer than 5 minutes while the tractor-trailer or tractor alone is not in motion in any zone.
iv) 
The provisions of § 204-5(A) of this Bylaw do not apply to an emergency vehicle, or to work on a public road or public utility carried out by the Town of Ashland or to a contractor working on behalf of the Town of Ashland.
B. 
Commercial and Industrial Noise.
i) 
No person shall operate a motor vehicle in the course of a commercial enterprise in violation of § 204-5(A) above;
ii) 
No person shall load or unload trucks in any area designated as being a residential zone or within three hundred feet of the boundary of such zone between the hours of 10 P.M. and 7 A.M.
iii) 
No trash collection or dumpster collection shall take place in any area designated as, or directly abutting a residential zone between the hours of 10 P.M. and 7 A.M.
iv) 
Every effort must be taken during trash collection and dumpster collection in commercial and industrial zones (including adjusting pick-up times and routes) so as to reasonably not create a nuisance in neighboring residential zones. Every effort will be made between vendors and the town to accommodate this clause.
v) 
No person shall operate loud stationary machinery in any area designated as residential or within three hundred feet of the boundary of such zone between the hours of 10 P.M. and 7 A.M.
vi) 
Any establishment granted a license for entertainment that is amplified by microphone, amplifier, or the like will be subject to this Bylaw. The entertainment should not be audible beyond the property boundaries of the establishment.
vii) 
No establishment granted a liquor license shall permit crowd noise to be audible beyond the premises between the hours of 10 P.M. and 7 A.M.
viii) 
Any establishment granted an entertainment license by the local licensing authority, may further be regulated by said authority; any violations of said license shall be deemed a violation of this by-law.
C. 
Domestic Noises.
i) 
No person shall operate a power garden tool, hedge trimmer, roto-tiller, power or hand lawn mower powered by an engine of any description in a residential zone between the hours of 8 P.M. and 7 A.M.
ii) 
No person shall operate a leaf-blower in a residential zone between the hours of 8 P.M. and 8 A.M.
iii) 
No person shall play music, either live or recorded, which interferes unreasonably with the quiet enjoyment of a neighbor's property.
iv) 
Any event, private or public, with an outdoor band will require notification to the Police Department.
D. 
Construction Noises.
i) 
No construction activities shall take place between the hours of 7 P.M. and 7 A.M.
ii) 
No construction activities shall take place on Sundays or federal holidays without special permission from the Planning Office and/or the Board of Selectmen.
iii) 
The provisions of Section D do not apply:
a. 
To work carried out by the Town or its contractors; or
b. 
To work carried out by an individual homeowner on their own property; or
c. 
For emergencies as determined by the Police or Fire Department personnel.
A. 
Notwithstanding any of the provisions of this Bylaw, this Bylaw shall not apply to any noise in connection with any of the following activities:
i) 
Emergency Response.
ii) 
The reasonable use of equipment or device to amplify the human voice or music in a public park or recreational area in connection with any public meeting, public celebration, recreational event, or other permitted gathering.
iii) 
Any band or parade approved by the Board of Selectman or designee.
iv) 
Any outdoor carnival, fair, performance or exhibition approved by the Board of Selectman.
v) 
Any event authorized by the Town of Ashland on Town owned land.
vi) 
The sounding of bells in churches, religious establishments and schools.
vii) 
The sounding of factory whistles, train whistles and similar devices at normal appropriate times.
viii) 
Use of generators in times of a power outages.
ix) 
Snow removal.
A. 
The Board of Selectmen shall have the authority to grant special permit on a limited basis. Any person seeking a special permit shall file an application with the Board of Selectmen.
i) 
The application shall contain information, which demonstrates that bringing the source of the sound activity into compliance with this Bylaw would constitute an unreasonable hardship on the applicant.
ii) 
The Board of Selectmen shall establish appropriate procedures for processing applications for such special permits, including such public hearing as the Board of Selectmen deems appropriate.
iii) 
In determining whether to grant or deny the application, the Board of Selectmen shall consider the impact on the surrounding properties, and health, safety and welfare of persons residing or working in the abutting properties. Applicants for special permits and persons contesting special permits may be required to submit information the Board of Selectmen.
iv) 
The Board of Selectmen may issue a special permit for existing residential, commercial, industrial and/or agricultural noise sources, which have been operating on lawful basis prior to the effective date of this bylaw.
v) 
The Board of Selectmen shall notify the Planning Board, Board of Appeals, the Board of Health, Police Department, and School Committee of the application and the date of the public hearing.
vi) 
Special permits shall be granted by notice to the applicant containing all necessary conditions, including a time limit on the permitted activity. Non-compliance with any condition of the special permits shall be ground to revoke special permit.
vii) 
Applications for extension of time limits specified in the special variances or for modification of other substantial conditions shall be treated like applications for initial special permit.
viii) 
In granting or denying an application, the Board of Selectmen shall place in the office of the Town Clerk a copy of the decision and the reasons for denying or granting the special permit.
ix) 
This special permit is granted to the applicant only. Under no circumstances can this special permit be transferred to another party nor shall it "run" with the land or business license.
A. 
The Police Department, upon a complaint to the Department, will be charged with the enforcement responsibilities of this Bylaw.
B. 
Penalties for violations of this bylaw are listed below:
i) 
The first violation of this Bylaw may result in the issuance of a written warning or a citation indicating the reason(s) for the violation and stating, at the investigating officer's discretion, a time period within which the offender(s) must cease production of the noise, or reduce the noise to acceptable levels which will then comply with the restrictions and criteria of this Bylaw.
ii) 
The second violation of this Bylaw shall be punished by a fine of one hundred ($100.00) dollars.
iii) 
Further violations of this Bylaw shall be punished by a fine of three hundred ($300.00) dollars for each violation.
iv) 
Each hour such violation occurs or continues shall be considered a separate offense unless it occurs within the time period granted for correcting the offense.
v) 
Violations hereunder shall be issued against the Responsible Party who shall be liable for any fines or violations of this bylaw.
A. 
An offender who has been cited and/or fined pursuant to this Bylaw can appeal the citation/fine within thirty (30) days after receiving it by presenting to the Board of Selectmen or its designee, any alternative information, situational evidence, or explanation of extenuating circumstances. The Board of Selectmen or its designee shall hear the appeal, and may in its sole discretion dismiss, or affirm the appeal, request additional details. This appeal is final without further administrative remedy.
B. 
Any appeals of the enforcement hereof, following the exhaustion of the foregoing administrative remedy shall be take in in accordance with G.L. c 40 § 21D.
A. 
If any provision of this Bylaw shall be determined invalid or unenforceable by final judgement or order of a court of competent jurisdiction, the remaining provisions of this Bylaw shall continue in effect to the fullest extent permitted by law.