Charles County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of County Commissioners of Charles County 3-7-2005 by Bill No. 2004-01. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Right to farm — See Ch. 100.
Alarm systems — See Ch. 216.
Animals — See Ch. 230.

§ 260-1 Purpose; objectives.

A. 
The purpose of this chapter is to provide for the control of noise levels throughout Charles County so as to promote public health, safety, and welfare, the peace and quiet of the residents of the County, and the use and enjoyment of both public and private property.
B. 
The objectives of this chapter include the following:
(1) 
To reduce the threat to health, safety, welfare, and economic value when excessive noise impacts a community by defining the circumstances under which such conditions may be considered a threat; and
(2) 
To abate excessive noise conditions, to promote the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Charles County, and to promote the maximum use and enjoyment of property.

§ 260-2 Definitions.

In this chapter, the following terms have the meanings indicated. Any term not defined in this chapter shall have the meaning as defined in any chapter of the Code. Any term not defined in the Code in any chapter shall have its generally accepted meaning.
COMMERCIAL LAND USE
Property zoned or used for the sale of goods or services or for office uses.
DAYTIME
Between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., local time.
dBA
Abbreviation for the sound level in decibels determined by the A-weighting network of a sound level meter or by calculations from octave band or 1/3 octave band data.
DECIBEL (dB)
A unit of measure equal to 10 times the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of a particular sound pressure squared to a standard reference pressure squared. For the purpose of this chapter, 20 micropascals shall be the standard reference pressure.
DEPARTMENT
The Charles County Health Department.
DIRECTOR
The Director of Environmental Health.
A. 
For a noise originating from any source:
(1) 
An employee or agent of the Department designated by the Director to enforce this chapter;
(2) 
A law enforcement officer;
(3) 
A person authorized under the Zoning Ordinance to enforce this chapter; or
(4) 
A person authorized by the County to enforce this chapter.
B. 
For a noise originating from an animal source, the Chief of the Division of Animal Control Services or the Chief's authorized designee.
INDUSTRIAL LAND USE
Property zoned or used for manufacturing or storing goods.
NIGHTTIME
Between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., local time.
PERSON
Any individual, group, firm, association, agency or other entity.
PUBLIC PROPERTY
Any real property or structures thereon that are owned, leased, or controlled by a governmental entity, including any street, avenue, boulevard, road, highway, sidewalk, alley or easement that is owned, leased, or controlled by a governmental entity.
RECEIVING PROPERTY
Any real property where people live or work and where noise is heard, including an apartment, condominium unit, or cooperative building unit.
[Added 9-7-2010 by Bill No. 2010-11]
RESIDENTIAL LAND USE
Property zoned or used for dwellings.
SOUND
An oscillation in pressure, particle displacement, particle velocity or other physical parameter, in a medium with internal forces that causes compression and rarefaction of that medium. The description of sound may include any characteristic of such sound, including duration, intensity and frequency.
SOUND LEVEL
The weighted sound pressure level obtained by the use of a sound level meter and frequency weighting network, such as A, B, or C as specified in American National Standards Institute specifications for sound level meters (ANSI SI.4-1971, or the latest approved revision thereof). If the frequency weighting employed is not indicated, the A-weighting shall apply.
SOUND LEVEL METER
An instrument designed to measure noise levels, meeting American National Standards Institute S1-4-1971 Specifications for Type 2 sound level meters.

§ 260-3 Noise exceeding measurable standards.

A. 
It is prohibited for any person located within the County to make any noise or operate any sound amplifier on any property owned or occupied by such person, or to permit any noise to be made or any sound amplifier to be operated on property owned or occupied by such person, at a level that exceeds the sound levels set forth in Table 260-1, when measured at the property line of the receiving land.
[Amended 9-7-2010 by Bill No. 2010-11]
B. 
The noise prohibited in Subsection A of this section shall include noise exceeding the following standards:
Table 260-1
Maximum Allowable Noise Levels (dBA)
Measured at Receiving Land Uses
Land Use of Receiving Property
Maximum Decibel Level
Industrial
75 dBA, daytime or nighttime
Commercial
67 dBA, daytime
62 dBA, nighttime
Residential
60 dBA, daytime
50 dBA, nighttime
C. 
Construction noise limits. A person may not cause or permit noise levels emanating from construction or demolition site activities which exceed:
(1) 
90 dBA from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., weekdays;
(2) 
The levels specified in Table 260-1 for nighttime hours at any other time.
D. 
The equipment and techniques employed in the measurement of noise levels may be those recommended by the Maryland Department of the Environment, which may, but need not, refer to currently accepted standards or recognized organizations, including but not limited to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

§ 260-4 Exemptions.

A. 
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to the following:
(1) 
Household tools and portable appliances, when used for household maintenance during daytime hours and when maintained in accordance with manufacturer's specifications.
(2) 
Motor vehicles licensed for use on public roads when used in a manner consistent with the Transportation Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
(3) 
Aircraft and related operations at airports licensed by the Maryland State Aviation Administration.
(4) 
Boats and motorized land vehicles, both on- and off-road, in operation on public lands under the jurisdiction of the Department of Natural Resources or the County, or operated by other law enforcement or emergency services personnel.
(5) 
Emergency operations, including but not limited to snow removal operations.
(6) 
Pile-driving equipment during the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
(7) 
Trap shooting, skeet shooting, or other target shooting between the hours of dawn and dusk.
(8) 
Trash collection operations between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
(9) 
Construction and repair work on public property.
(10) 
Noise emanating from household pet activity when kept in a manner consistent with Chapter 297, Zoning Regulations, and when activities are in compliance with any applicable section of the Charles County Code. Noise complaints involving household pet activity shall be resolved under the Charles County Animal Regulations, Chapter 230 of the Charles County Code.
(11) 
Activities or events conducted or sponsored by the County or other government entity, including without limitation agencies working in conjunction with Charles County Animal Control Services, concerts, the 4th of July parade and fireworks, and the like.
(12) 
Sound equipment used by public service companies as defined in Article 78 of the Annotated Code of Maryland,[1] or to federal, state or local governmental agencies.
[1]
Editor's Note: Article 78 was repealed by Acts 1998, c. 8, § 1, effective 10-1-1998.
(13) 
Sound generated by sporting, amusement, and entertainment events and other public gatherings operating according to terms and conditions of the appropriate local jurisdictional body. This includes but is not limited to athletic contests, amusement parks, carnivals, fairgrounds, sanctioned auto racing facilities, parades and public celebrations. This exemption only applies between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 12:00 midnight.
(14) 
This chapter shall not apply to the erection (including excavation), demolition, alteration or repair of any building or structure where it is necessary for public health and safety to allow such activity, and then only with prior written permission from the Department of Planning and Growth Management.
B. 
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as to supersede or abridge any right granted pursuant to Chapter 100 of the Charles County Code, Right to Farm.

§ 260-5 Violations and penalties.

A. 
Violations of this chapter are civil infractions, subject to the penalty and enforcement provisions of Article 25B, § 13C of the Annotated Code of Maryland,[1] and shall be subject to a fine of up to $500 for the first violation, and up to $1,000 for each subsequent violation.
[1]
Editor's Note: Repealed effective 10-1-2013; see Local Government Article (2013 Maryland Laws Ch. 119), Subtitle 2, §§ 11-201 through 11-211.
B. 
Each hour during which a violation of § 260-3 of this chapter shall continue to exist shall constitute a separate and additional violation.
C. 
In addition to the foregoing penalty, the County may seek any other remedies available at law or in equity.
D. 
Nothing herein should be construed to prohibit enforcement of this chapter by the Maryland Department of the Environment.