[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Amherst 11-3-2003 by L.L. No. 12-2003; amended in its entirety 7-21-2014 by L.L. No. 30-2014. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable. For additional information regarding 2010, 2011 and 2012 state local law numbers, refer to the Disposition List at the end of this volume.]
Alarms — See Ch. 65.
Blasting and explosives — See Ch. 78.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 186.
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former Ch. 138, Noise, adopted 7-6-1993.
The Amherst Town Board determines that the creation of unreasonable noise within the Town limits of Amherst is detrimental to the comfort, convenience, safety, health and welfare, and to the quality of life of the citizens of the Town. Therefore, it intends hereby to prohibit all unreasonable noise from all sources subject to its police power in order to preserve, protect and promote the health, safety and welfare, and the peace, quiet, comfort and repose of all persons within the Town.
As used in this chapter, 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 minimum period of 10 minutes.
- A-WEIGHTED SOUND-PRESSURE LEVEL
- The sound-pressure level in decibels as measured on a sound-level meter using the A-weighting network by a trained operator. The level so read is designated dB(a) or dBA.
- DECIBEL (dB)
- The practical unit of measurement for sound-pressure level; the number of decibels of measured sound is equal to 20 times the logarithm to the base of 10 of the ratio of the sound pressure of the measured sound to the sound pressure of standard sound (20 micropascals); abbreviated dB.
- PROPERTY BEING USED FOR NONRESIDENTIAL PURPOSES
- Any property, including vacant land, which is not used for residential purposes, as defined herein.
- PROPERTY BEING USED FOR RESIDENTIAL PURPOSES
- Property which contains one or more dwelling units, including but not limited to single-family attached or detached dwelling units, multiple dwellings, hotels, motels, senior citizen housing, adult residential care facilities, nursing homes, dormitories, sororities and fraternities.
- REAL PROPERTY BOUNDARY LINE
- The imaginary line, including its vertical extension, that separates one parcel of real property from another, or the vertical and horizontal boundaries of a dwelling unit located within a multiple-dwelling-unit building.
- SOUND-LEVEL METER
- An instrument for the measurement of sound levels conforming to American National Standards Institute Type I or II standards.
- SOUND-REPRODUCTION DEVICES
- Any device, instrument, mechanism, equipment or apparatus for the amplification of any sounds from any radio, phonograph, tape player, compact disc player, musical instrument, television, loudspeaker or other sound-making or sound-producing device, or any device or apparatus for the reproduction or amplification of the human voice or other sound.
- 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.
It shall be unlawful for any person to make, continue, cause to be made or permit to be made any unreasonable noise within the geographic boundaries of the Town of Amherst, or within those areas over which the Town has jurisdiction.
A determination as to the existence of unreasonable noise may be established by the specific acts enumerated within § 138-5 of this chapter.
The following acts and the causes thereof are declared to be in violation of this chapter:
The use of any sound-reproduction device outside of a structure whereby the sound emitted from such device is audible on property being used for residential purposes at a point more than 100 feet from the real property boundary line of the property from which said noise emanates.
The use or operation of any sound-reproduction device inside a structure so as to result in the sound, or any part thereof, emitted from such device to be projected therefrom outside the structure whereby the sound emitted from such device is audible on property being used for residential purposes at a point more than 100 feet from the real property boundary line of the property from which the noise emanates.
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 any street repair or any other physical conditions are such that the use of a sound-reproduction device would deprive the public of 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. Said noise disturbance is deemed to be in violation of this section if it can be heard from a distance of greater than 50 feet.
The use or operation of any sound-reproduction device in a vehicle which would constitute a threat to the safety of pedestrians or vehicle operators.
The use or operation of any sound-reproduction device within 500 feet of any school, church or courthouse while the same is in session so as to interfere with the function of such facility, provided that conspicuous signs are displayed indicating the location of such facility.
The use or operation of any sound-reproduction device within 500 feet of any hospital, nursing home or medical facility so as to interfere with the function of such facility or so as to disturb the quiet, comfort or repose of a reasonable person of normal sensitivities while confined to or being treated at such facility, provided that conspicuous signs are displayed indicating the location of such facility.
Snow removal equipment: The use of snow removal equipment between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. of the following day so as to disturb the quiet, comfort or repose of a reasonable person of normal sensitivities.
The use or operation of any audible burglar alarm or motor vehicle burglar alarm, unless the operation of such alarm shall be terminated within 10 minutes after such alarm is first activated.
The operation of any motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating in excess of 10,000 pounds, or any auxiliary equipment attached to such motor vehicle, for a period longer than 15 minutes in any hour while the vehicle is stationary for reasons other than traffic congestion, so that the sound emanated therefrom is audible on property being used for residential purposes between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. of the following day. This provision shall not apply to authorized emergency vehicles or to public utility vehicles actually engaged in emergency operations.
The operation, repair, rebuilding, modifying or testing of any motor vehicle, motorcycle, motorboat, go-cart or minibike on property being used for residential purposes so as to disturb the quiet, comfort or repose of a reasonable person of normal sensitivities.
The use or operation of a refuse-collecting vehicle anywhere which, when collecting or compacting, projects sound which is audible on property being used for residential purposes between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. of the following day.
The owning, possessing or harboring of any animal or bird which shall make sounds which are audible on property being used for residential purposes for a continued duration in excess of 15 minutes or which shall disturb the quiet, comfort or repose of a reasonable person of normal sensitivities.
The conduct of any construction activities, including but not limited to the erection, demolition, assembling, altering, installing or equipping of buildings, public or private roadways, roads, premises, parks, utility lines or other property, including related activities such as land clearing, grading, earthmoving, excavating, blasting, filling or landscaping, so as to project a noise therefrom which is audible on a property being used for residential purposes except that such activities may be conducted 1) between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., on Monday through Friday; 2) between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Saturday; and 3) between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.
The making of any noise for advertising purposes in any street or public place or by means of aircraft; the advertisement, article, business, calling or profession upon any street, sidewalk or entrance to a place of business by means of any horn, megaphone, siren, bell, radio or any other sound-producing or sound-amplifying mechanism, instrument or device.
The use of any sound-reproduction device associated with a drive-through facility between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. of the following day.
Noise levels by land use:
For noise that is not defined as a violation in items A through O of § 138-5, it shall be unlawful for any person to operate or permit to be operated any stationary noise source in such a manner as to create a sound-pressure level in dB(A)s which exceeds the limits set forth for the receiving land use category in Table I when measured at the property boundary.
The following sounds shall not be deemed to be in violation of this chapter:
The sound created by bells or chimes associated with a church, synagogue or any other place of public worship.
The sound created by any governmental agency or by the use of public warning devices.
The sound created by public utilities in carrying out the operations of their function.
The sound created by sporting events of any public organization or private school, or carnival, fair, exhibition or parade, provided that such event shall take place between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.
When the enforcement officer or official seeks to apply the decibel provisions set forth in the aforementioned Table I relative to any violation of this chapter, such officer shall use a sound-level meter conforming to ANSI (American National Standards Institute). Type II standards shall be used and shall be calibrated at least annually. Qualified Town personnel approved by the Chief of Police shall operate, witness and read the sound-level meter(s) and related equipment. The wind-velocity gauge shall conform to accepted standards and shall be checked periodically for accuracy.
This chapter shall be enforced by the Police Department of the Town of Amherst.
Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a violation and shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $250 or imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or both. Each day that such violation occurs shall be deemed a separate offense punishable as such. This chapter shall be enforced by the Town of Amherst Police Department.
If any section, subdivision, paragraph, sentence or other portion of this chapter shall for any reason be held or adjudged to be invalid or illegal or unenforceable by any court of competent jurisdiction, it is the intention of the Town Board that such section, subdivision, paragraph, sentence or other portion so adjudged invalid, illegal or unenforceable shall be deemed separate, distinct and independent, and the remainder of this chapter shall be and remain in full force and effect.
The Noise Ordinance of the Town of Amherst, adopted by the Town Board on July 6, 1993, and all amendments thereto, are hereby repealed.
This chapter shall be effective upon its filing with the Secretary of State.