Borough of Westwood, NJ
Bergen County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Westwood 5-14-1946 by Ord. No. 378; amended in its entirety 4-24-1979 by Ord. No. 821. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Alarm systems — See Ch. 81.
Animals — See Ch. 99.
Land use and development — See Ch. 195.
Shows, parades and street meetings — See Ch. 301.
Nuisances — See Ch. 396.
A. 
Findings.
(1) 
Excessive noise is a serious hazard to the public health and welfare and is an unfair and unreasonable and unwarranted imposition on the rights of the residents of the Borough of Westwood to the peaceful enjoyment of their homes.
(2) 
Through reasonably priced and generally accepted technical means, excessive noise can be controlled and abated.
(3) 
Certain forms of noise interfering with the safe enjoyment of persons can be eliminated entirely by the owner or occupant of the premises from which the noise emanates without any undue interference with the rights of the owner or occupant to enjoy his property.
(4) 
It is necessary in the public interest to secure to the residents of Westwood an environment free of excessive and unreasonable noises.
B. 
It is the policy of the Borough of Westwood to prevent noises which may jeopardize the health or welfare of its citizens or degrade the quality of life within the Borough.
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.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
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.
DEPARTMENT
Any municipal agency.
DEVICE
Any mechanism which is intended to produce or which actually produces noise when operated or handled.
[Amended 10-28-1986 by Ord. No. 86-11]
DEVICE, NOISEMAKING
Any mechanism which has as its primary purpose the making or broadcasting or amplifying of noise.
[Added 10-28-1986 by Ord. No. 86-11]
DEVICE, NOISY
Any mechanism which produces a noise disturbance incidental to its operation or its use in the performance of its intended function.
[Added 10-28-1986 by Ord. No. 86-11]
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.
HABITUAL HOWLING, BARKING, MEOWING, SQUAWKING OR OTHER NOISEMAKING
Continuous barking, crying or other noisemaking, without pauses of one minute or longer, for a period of more than 20 minutes between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., or for a period of more than 10 minutes between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., on at least two occasions over a three-month period.[1]
MOTOR VEHICLE
Any vehicles which are 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 or acoustical absorbing materials whose primary purpose is to transmit liquids or gases while causing a reduction in sound emission at one end.
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.
NOISE SOURCE
Any device, fixed or movable, which is located or used on geographically defined real property other than a public right-of-way.
[2]
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 comprehensible musical rhythms.
POWERED MODEL VEHICLES
Any powered vehicles, either airborne, waterborne or landborne, which are designed not 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
An 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 and PUBLIC SPACE
Any street, avenue, boulevard, highway, alley or public space which is owned and controlled by a public government entity.
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.
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, firefighters, first-aid squad members and law enforcement officers, whether paid or volunteer.
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.
WEEKDAY
Any Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday which is not a legal holiday.
[1]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
It shall be the duty and responsibility of the Police Department of the Borough of Westwood to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
A violation of this chapter shall be cause for the issuance of a summons and complaint, which may be lodged against:
A. 
Any person making a noise disturbance prohibited by this chapter.
B. 
The owner or occupant of any property from which any such noise disturbance is permitted to emanate.
C. 
Any person, other than officials and agents of the Borough of Westwood, owning or having in his custody and control any electrical or mechanical device creating or broadcasting any said noise.
D. 
Any person having the lawful right to stop such noise disturbance and who fails to do so after having been requested to stop the noise by a member of the Westwood Police Department.
In order to implement the purposes of this chapter, the Police Department of the Borough of Westwood shall have the power to:
A. 
Inspections. For reasonable cause, and upon presentation of proper credentials, enter any building, property, premises or place and inspect any noise source for the purpose of ascertaining the compliance or noncompliance with any provision of this chapter or have access to, and require the production of, books and papers pertinent to any matter under investigation.
B. 
Records. Require the owner or operator of any noise source to establish and maintain records and make such reports as the Police Department may reasonably prescribe.
C. 
Measurements. 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 Police Department may reasonably prescribe.
A. 
General prohibitions. It shall be unlawful for any person to make, continue, cause or permit the continuance of a noise disturbance within the Borough of Westwood. This subsection is not intended to prohibit the reasonable use of noisy devices, as defined herein, during reasonable hours in connection with activities that are incidental to the reasonable and lawful use of the property from which the noise emanates and which noises are limited in duration. It is the intention of this chapter to prohibit the operation of noisemaking devices in such a manner as to create a noise disturbance at any time.
[Amended 10-28-1986 by Ord. No. 86-11]
B. 
Specific prohibitions. The following acts, among others, are declared to be loud, disturbing or excessive noise in violation of this chapter, but said enumeration shall not be deemed to be exclusive:
(1) 
Horns and signaling devices. The sounding of any horn or signaling device on any motor vehicle on any public right-of-way, except as a danger warning signal or as provided in the Vehicle Code of the State of New Jersey.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 39:1-1 et seq.
(2) 
Radios, television sets, electronic amplifiers and similar noisemaking devices.
[Amended 10-28-1986 by Ord. No. 86-11]
(a) 
Operating or permitting the use of any noisemaking device, such as a radio, musical instrument or tape player, in such a manner as to cause a noise disturbance. Where noisemaking equipment is operated in such a manner as to be plainly audible to the human ear in the interior of an adjacent residential structure, it shall be rebuttably presumed that the person responsible for the operation of such noisemaking device is creating a noise disturbance.
(b) 
Operating any noisemaking 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 any real property boundaries or through partitions common to two parties within a building or the operation of a noisemaking device in an automobile in such a manner as to be audible 50 feet from such a device on a public right-of-way or in a public space shall also be rebuttably presumed to be a noise disturbance punishable under this chapter.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
(c) 
The foregoing specific prohibitions are not exclusive, and the operation of noisemaking devices in any other manner or at times other than those indicated above in such a manner as to create a noise disturbance as herein defined is also prohibited.
(3) 
Exterior loudspeakers. Using or operating any mechanical device or loudspeaker in a fixed or moveable position exterior to any building or mounted upon any aircraft, motor vehicle or motor boat, such that the sound therefrom is plainly audible at or beyond the property boundary of the source or on a public right-of-way between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. the following day, Sundays through Thursdays, or 11:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. the following day on Fridays and Saturdays.
[Amended 3-15-2005 by Ord. No. 05-10[3]]
[3]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
(4) 
Animals.[4] Owning, keeping, possessing or harboring any animal or animals which, by frequent or habitual howling, barking, meowing, squawking or other noisemaking, cause a noise disturbance. The provisions of this subsection shall also apply to all private or public facilities, including any animal pounds, which hold or treat animals.
[4]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 99, Animals.
(5) 
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 7:00 a.m. the following day in such a manner as to cause a noise disturbance.
(6) 
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 residential or commercial land use categories, between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day on weekdays or between 6:00 p.m. Saturday night and 8:00 a.m. Monday morning and on legal holidays.
(7) 
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 Subsection A.
(8) 
Refuse-compacting vehicles. The operation 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 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day in residential use districts.
(9) 
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 operation within 30 seconds of its being activated. Any motor vehicle upon which a burglar alarm has been installed shall prominently display the telephone number at which communication may be made with the owner of such motor vehicle.
(10) 
Operating or permitting to be operated any powered saw, sander, drill, grinder, garden equipment or tools of like nature outdoors in residential zones between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. the following day.[5]
[5]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
(11) 
Blowers, fans and pumps. The use of any blower, fan, pump or engine or motor in connection therewith, including, by way of example and not by way of limitation, air-conditioning systems, compression devices and pool filter systems, if such use creates loud, penetrating or continuous noises that disturb the comfort or repose of persons residing in the vicinity.
(12) 
The use of any automobile, motorcycle or vehicle so out of repair, so loaded or in such manner as to create loud or unnecessary grating, grinding, rattling or other noise.
(13) 
The discharge into the open air of the exhaust of any automobile, motorcycle, steam or other engine except through a muffler or other device which effectively prevents loud or explosive noises therefrom.
(14) 
The operation, in a residential zone, of a noisy device, as defined herein and not otherwise permitted by this chapter, during the hours listed, between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. the following day or at other times for a period in excess of three hours in any twenty-four-hour period on more than one occasion during any seven-day interval of time. For purposes of this subsection, a "noisy device" shall include any machine or piece of equipment whose principal use is for recreation, if such device creates a noise which would be otherwise prohibited under any section of this chapter.
[Added 10-28-1986 by Ord. No. 86-11; amended 3-15-2005 by Ord. No. 05-10]
It shall not be necessary to give any person prior warning or to make any request upon said person to cease and desist conduct which is a violation of this chapter in order for said person to be found guilty of a violation hereof. However, the Police Department, in its discretion, may give such warning. When such warning has been given, it shall be noted on the police log as to the time of the warning and the nature of the noise. After such warning has been made to the owner, occupant or other person having control of property from which prohibited noises are emanating, any subsequent violations of this chapter committed within four hours of any such warning shall be rebuttably presumed to have been made with the knowledge of the person to whom the warning was given.
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 chapter. Nothing in this 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.
A. 
Any person, firm or corporation who shall be found guilty of violating any provision of this chapter shall, for each offense, be fined a sum of not more than $500 or be imprisoned in the county jail for a period not exceeding 90 days, or both. Each day of such violation's continuance shall be considered as a separate offense and shall be separately punishable.
B. 
Any person, firm or corporation who shall be found guilty of violating any provision of this chapter for a second time within a six-month period shall, for each offense, be fined a sum of not less than $200 and not more than $500 or be imprisoned in the county jail for a period not exceeding 90 days, or both.
The operation or maintenance of any noise source in violation of any provision of this chapter 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.
A. 
Any remedy available pursuant to this chapter shall be considered separate and not exclusive of any other remedy available hereunder.
B. 
Nothing in this chapter 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 chapter.