[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of East Fishkill 5-23-2013 by L.L. No. 3-2013. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Many times it is necessary to establish minimum standards to safeguard the many from the actions of a few.
The vast majority of the residents of the Town conduct themselves in a manner that is respectful of their neighbors and considerate of the rights of others.
Unfortunately, there are those few who engage in activities and conduct which, due to intensity, time or manner in which they so engage, annoy and harass their neighbors with unreasonable and inappropriate noise. It is to safeguard the community from these few that this chapter is enacted.
Finally, this chapter is comprehensive as seemed reasonable at the time of its enactment, but in no way should it be considered as all inclusive of all possible situations, but only those that have most often been complained of to the Town.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- AMBIENT NOISE
- The surrounding background noise generally associated with a particular environment; the cumulative combination of disparate sounds from more than one source.
- COMMERCIAL PURPOSE
- The use, operation, generation or maintenance of sound for the purpose of advertising or promoting business, goods or services or soliciting or attracting public attention to goods or services for sale, lease or rental.
- DECIBEL (dB)
- A unit of energy/pressure used to represent the amplitude or volume of sound waves. A decibel is equal to 20 times the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of the measured sound-pressure level to the reference sound pressure of 20 micropascals per square meter.
- DECIBEL, A-WEIGHTED
- An electric function of a sound-level meter, over the range of perceptible frequencies, to approximate that of the human ear. A noise volume measured by a sound-level meter using the A-weighted filter is represented by the notation "dBA."
- EMERGENCY WORK
- Any work necessary to maintain public health, safety or welfare following an emergency or public calamity or any work required to protect persons or property from an imminent exposure of danger. Emergency work includes, but is not limited to, snow removal, restoration of public utilities and maintenance of public rights-of-way.
- The number of times that a noise wave oscillation takes to pass a single point. Units of noise frequency are represented by cycles per second, commonly referred to as "hertz" (Hz).
- New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- All vehicles subject to regulation by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. The term "motor vehicle," as used in this chapter, includes mopeds, mini-bikes and go-carts.
- The unwanted, unwelcomed and unnecessary sound produced, intentionally or unintentionally, by any act or in the course of any activity.
- NONCOMMERCIAL PURPOSE
- The use, operation, generation or maintenance of sound for any purpose other than a commercial purpose. "Noncommercial purpose" includes, but is not limited to, philanthropic, political, patriotic and charitable purposes.
- Any pressure variation in air perceptible to the human ear.
- SOUND-AMPLIFYING EQUIPMENT
- Any machine or device used for the amplification of sound. "Sound-amplifying equipment," as used in this chapter, shall not include any warning device, siren, horn or whistle used by emergency vehicles or by any governmental agency to alert the public to an emergency or warn of a dangerous condition.
- SOUND-LEVEL METER
- An instrument for the measurement of sound, conforming to Type 1 or Type 2 ANSI standard under Specifications S1.4-1971, or the latest approved revision thereof.
- SOUND TRUCK
- Any motor vehicle, regardless of method of power, whether in motion or stationary, which has sound-amplifying equipment.
- The Town of East Fishkill.
- UNREASONABLE INTRUSIVE NOISE
- Any sound which would annoy, disturb or irritate a reasonable person of normal sensitivities under the same circumstances, and time of day and frequency.
The following sounds and noises are deemed beyond the scope and intent of the Town to regulate and are not subject to this chapter.
Any sound intended to warn the public or indicate the existence of an emergency condition, including any warning device, siren, horn or whistle used by emergency vehicles or by any governmental agency to alert the public to an emergency or warn of a dangerous condition. This exception shall exempt the noise generated by business and residential alarms permitted under the Town of East Fishkill Town Code when such alarms are activated under circumstances indicating the existence of an emergency condition.
Any sound within limits set by and under the jurisdiction of the Federal Occupational Health and Safety Act or any other state or federal act preempting local regulation.
Sound generated by or produced in association with a religious celebration or observance.
Sounds associated with the operations of a farm regulated under the Agricultural Law of the State.
Sounds associated with the performance of municipal-type activities (i.e., police, fire, and refuse collection, water and sewer line repairs).
Sounds associated with the use by a duly constituted sportsman club on property that was utilized by them prior to the adoption of this chapter.
Snow, ice and tree removal equipment when being used in conjunction with a storm or other weather event.
Sounds produced by equipment containing sound suppression equipment meeting the original standards set by the manufacturer. (i.e., lawn equipment).
Sounds produced by peddlers with a valid peddlers permit.
No person shall make, continue, cause or permit to be made, verbally or mechanically, any unreasonable intrusive noise. The measurement of such sound will be from within 10 feet from occupied residences or other structures legally existing and which are customarily occupied by residents of the property. Standards to be considered in determining whether an unreasonably intrusive noise exists include, but are not limited to, the following:
The volume of the noise.
The frequency of the noise.
The periodicity of the noise.
Whether the noise is unusual and incongruous with the surrounding environment.
The volume and frequency of the ambient noise, if any.
The proximity of the noise source to any residential, educational, medical, religious or judicial facility.
The use, nature and character of the zoning district of the immediate area where the noise source exists.
The time of day or night the noise occurs.
The duration of the noise.
The following list of acts and associated sounds are permissible as of right and not subject to regulation under this chapter. This enumeration is illustrative only and is not intended to be exhaustive. Permissible acts and associated sounds include, but are not limited to, the following:
Music performed in conjunction with any military or civic parade, funeral procession or religious service or the use of any bell, chimes, or other instrument, apparatus or device by any church or synagogue or school licensed, charted or recognized by the State of New York, provided that such performance or activity does not occur between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. of the following day.
Sounds created by any governmental agency, railroad or emergency service organization intended to alert the public to an emergency or warn of a dangerous condition.
Sounds created by public utilities in furtherance of fulfilling their franchise.
Sounds generated by, or associated with, organized sporting events of any public or private school or generated by, or associated with, any sport or recreational activity sponsored or permitted by the Town.
Sounds generated by, or associated with, the activities of the Town Department of Public Works.
Sounds generated on private property, amplified or unamplified, for private, noncommercial use and enjoyment, provided that such sound does not exceed 70 dBA as measured from within 10 feet from occupied residences or other structures legally existing and which are customarily occupied by residents of the property owned, rented or leased by any person complaining that such sound is unreasonably intrusive.
Amplified noncommercial speech offered to express ideas or communicate thought is permitted, provided that such sound does not exceed 70 dBA as measured from within 10 feet from occupied residences or other structures legally existing and which are customarily occupied by residents of the property owned, rented or leased by any person complaining that such sound is unreasonably intrusive.
Routine construction work, unless prohibited by § 132-7, and all associated sounds and noises between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and Saturdays between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. All construction work includes, but is not limited to, building, repairing, blasting, when authorized by Town permit, grading, leveling, excavating and other similar acts and activities usually and customarily associated with building and construction.
Power tools, blowers and gasoline- and non-gasoline-powered engines operating with sound suppression equipment meeting the manufacturers' original standards.
Residential generators in use during power outages or other times of emergency and for testing purposes or required by the manufacturer for the proper maintenance thereof.
Emergency work. An application to perform emergency work otherwise prohibited by § 132-7 must be made, in writing, and state the reason emergency work is necessary, the scope and type of work proposed, the date the emergency repairs or construction activity shall be complete and such other further and additional information as the Chief of Police may require. Nothing herein shall relieve an applicant of the duty to obtain a building permit from the Town Building Inspector.
Nothing herein shall prevent any use of machines and equipment necessitated by an act of God (i.e., downed trees from a storm).
Amplified sound generated, broadcast or intended for outside, open-air use and enjoyment, including, but not limited to, concerts, block parties, commercial advertising and sound transmitted by speaker. An application for a permit for amplified sound pursuant to this section must be made, in writing, and state the purpose, location, duration and anticipated volume level, in decibels, measured at the boundary or property line of the proposed location of the sound, noise, music or speech sought to be broadcast. Where an applicant seeks permission to broadcast sound for outside, open-air use in or bordering on a residential zone, the applicant shall provide the name, address and telephone number of an individual responsible for controlling the sound, noise, music or speech. In addition to the permit requirements set forth in this section, the Chief of Police may, in his/her sole discretion, require whatever other additional information deemed necessary to evaluate the impact of issuing a permit under this section.
Whenever a sound permit is issued under this section, the Police Chief may impose whatever conditions, in his/her sole discretion, deemed reasonably necessary to protect public health, safety and welfare and limit any unreasonably intrusive noise to the greatest degree practicable under the circumstances consistent with § 132-4. Any such noise shall not be allowed past 11:00 p.m.
Appeal. Any person seeking a permit under this section may appeal a decision by the Police Chief to deny the application or impose conditions to the Town Supervisor. In addition, the Town Board may entertain an appeal of a decision by the Police Chief to grant a permit under this section upon petition of not fewer than 10 Town residents who allege that the act and associated sounds authorized will result in unreasonably intrusive noise.
The following acts and associated sounds are prohibited under this chapter. Prohibited acts and associated sounds include, but are not limited to, the following:
The habitual, constant, repetitive, annoying or frequently sounding of any horn or signal device on any motor vehicle, except as a warning signal pursuant to the provisions of the Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of New York.
The use or operation of any radio, television, phonograph, musical instrument or instruments, loudspeaker, sound-amplification equipment or other machine or device for the production or reproduction of sound so as to create an unreasonably intrusive noise.
Any unreasonably intrusive noise exceeding 70 dBA at any time within a residential district or exceeding 75 dBA within any other district between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., Monday through Friday, or exceeding 70 dBA before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m., Saturday, or exceeding 70 dBA between the hours of 12:01 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. on Sunday or any recognized holiday. The measurement of such sound will be from within 10 feet from occupied residences or other structures legally existing and which are customarily occupied by residents of the property.
The keeping or harboring of any animal, fowl or bird which disturbs the peace, comfort or repose of any person residing in the vicinity by causing unreasonably intrusive noise. This section shall not pertain to legally existing agricultural properties within the Town.
The discharge of exhaust into the open air generated by any steam engine, internal-combustion engine, stationary or mobile, air compressor or other device which creates an unreasonably intrusive noise, except where such discharge is through a muffler or other device which effectively prevents loud, unusual or explosive noise.
Construction work, including but not limited to the operation of mechanical machinery or equipment, blasting, grading, leveling and excavating, between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., Monday through Friday, before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m., Saturday, or between the hours of 12:01 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. on any Sunday or recognized holiday.
The operation of gasoline-powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers or other gasoline-powered lawn or garden equipment or construction tools between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., any weekday, before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m., Saturday or any holiday, or before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m., Sunday.
The use or operation of any radio, phonograph, musical instrument, loudspeaker, sound amplifier or other machine or device for the production or reproduction of sound intended as a commercial advertising or solicitation unless permitted by the Chief of Police.
The use of any drum, bell, loudspeaker or other instrument or device for the purpose of attracting attention to any solicitation, performance, show, sale or display of merchandise unless permitted by the Chief of Police.
No person shall keep or harbor a dog which howls or barks in violation of this section.
It shall constitute a violation of this section if the howling or barking occurs and is audible beyond the property line of the premises on which the dog is located:
For more than five consecutive minutes repeatedly, repetitiously, habitually between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.; or
For more than 15 consecutive minutes between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.; or
For a shorter duration than cited above, but on more than five occasions within a given ten-day period if attested to by complaints from two or more separate properties. It shall be a defense to such violation if the owner of the dog proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the only reason the dog was howling was that the dog was being provoked by a person or was otherwise being incited, or was acting as a guide dog, hearing dog, service dog or police work dog.
"Consecutive" for this section will mean either intermittent or continual.
The measurement of any sound or noise shall be made with a sound-level meter, as defined herein, using the slow-response setting and the A-weighted decibel scale.
The sound-level meter will be calibrated annually according to the manufacturer's instructions and before and after each use. A record of maintenance and calibration shall be maintained.
The sound-level measurement shall be made at or within 10 feet of any residence or other customarily occupied structure on the property adjoining the property from where the noise is generated.
Where a summons is written for violation of this section, the enforcing officer shall record the time, approximate location before and after calibration checks and the sound-level reading(s) that were recorded. When investigating a sound/noise complaint, the enforcing officer may take as many sound-level readings as deemed necessary, and nothing shall prevent an enforcement officer from taking multiple sound-level readings and citing only the highest recorded sound-level reading as a violation.
Where a noise complaint alleges interference with the peaceful enjoyment of private property, sound-level readings may be taken from within 10 feet of occupied residences or other structures legally existing and which are customarily occupied by residents of the property of any adjacent landowner who consents to entry and grants access for the limited purpose of measuring compliance with this chapter.
The Town Police shall be charged with enforcement of this chapter unless the Chief of Police designates an enforcement officer outside the Police Department and, with the consent of the Town Board, designates authority for prosecution to such enforcement officer.
The measurement of the level of any sound by either decibel meter or otherwise shall be made at a point within 10 feet of occupied residences or other structures legally existing and which are customarily occupied by residents of the property.
The Town enforcement officer may, in lieu of filing a criminal proceeding, file a civil proceeding as provided for herein.
In lieu of filing either a criminal or civil proceeding, the Chief of Police may issue a warning to anyone accused of having violated the provisions herein.
Any complaint filed hereunder may, upon consent of all parties, be referred for binding mediation/arbitration by the Chief of Police. The Town shall make available an independent mediation service for this purpose. If mediation is completed, the complaint will be deemed resolved.
In lieu of a criminal proceeding a civil action may be filed in the Justice Court of the Town. Upon a civil finding by the court that a violation of this chapter has occurred, a civil judgment may be entered by the Judge according to the following table:
Any prior violation over 18 months old will not be considered a predicate offense.
Any person convicted of violating any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction for a first offense, be guilty of a criminal violation and subject to a penalty of not less than $50 nor more than $500.
Any person convicted of a 2nd offense of this chapter within three years of a prior conviction under this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, be subject to a penalty of not less than $250 nor more than $1,500.
Upon application of the Town Attorney and court order, any person violating any provision of this chapter may be enjoined from continuing such violation.