City of Biddeford, ME
York County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Code 1975, § 15-30]
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
AMBIENT NOISE LEVEL
The all-encompassing noise level associated with a given environment, being a composite of sounds from many distant, individually indistinguishable sources, excluding the alleged offensive noise.
COMPLAINING RECEPTOR (COMPLAINANT)
Any person who owns, controls, or occupies as a temporary or permanent residence real property or any part thereof and notifies the Noise Control Officer or other proper enforcement authority of a possible violation of this article affecting such real property and his enjoyment thereof.
CONSTRUCTION
Any site preparation, assembly, erection, substantial repair, alteration, or similar action, but excluding demolition, for or of public or private rights-of-way, structures, utilities or similar property.
CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT
Any equipment or device operated by fuel or electric power used in construction or demolition work.
DAYTIME HOURS
The hours between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
DECIBEL (db)
The practical unit of measurement for sound pressure level; the number of decibels of a measured sound is equal to 20 times the logarithm to the base 10, of the ratio of the sound pressure of the measured sound to the sound pressure of a standard sound (20 micropascals); abbreviated "db."
DEMOLITION
Any dismantling, intentional destruction or removal of structures, utilities, public or private right-of-way.
DOMESTIC POWER EQUIPMENT
Means, but is not limited to, power saws, drills, grinders, lawn and garden tools and other domestic power equipment intended for use in residential areas by a homeowner or other authorized person.
EMERGENCY
Any occurrence or set of circumstances involving actual or imminent physical trauma or property damage which demands immediate action.
EMERGENCY VEHICLE
Any motor vehicle authorized by the City to have sound warning devices such as sirens and bells which can lawfully be used when responding to an emergency.
EMERGENCY WORK
Work made necessary to restore property to a safe condition following an emergency, or work required to protect persons or property from exposure to imminent danger.
LOUD AND UNREASONABLE NOISE
Any sound, the intensity of which exceeds the standards set forth in Section 34-54 and Section 6-91(a)(2).
MOTOR VEHICLE
Any vehicle which is propelled or drawn on land by a motor, such as, but not limited to, passenger cars, trucks, truck-trailers, semitrailers, campers, go-carts, snowmobiles, amphibious craft on land, dune buggies, or racing vehicles, but not including motorcycles, trailbikes or minibikes.
NIGHTTIME HOURS
The hours between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
NOISE CONTROL OFFICER
A municipal employee trained in the use of sound level meters. This article shall normally be enforced by a police officer, but may also be enforced by the Code Enforcement Officer during normal working hours.
NOISE LEVEL
The sound pressure level as measured with a sound level meter using either the A- or C-weighting network. The level so read is designated db(A) or db(C).
PERSON
Any individual, firm, partnership, association, syndicate, company, trust, corporation, municipality, agency, or political or administrative subdivision of the state or other legal entity of any kind.
PREMISES
Any building, structure, land or portion thereof, including all appurtenances, and shall include yards, lots, courts, inner yards, and real properties without buildings or improvements, owned or controlled by a person.
PROPERTY LINE
That real or imaginary line along the ground surface and its vertical extension which separates real property owned or controlled by any person from contiguous real property owned or controlled by another person, and which separates real property from the public right-of-way. In situations involving multiple buildings on the same lot, the property line shall be deemed to be the exterior walls. In situations involving multiple occupancies within the same building, the property line between individual units shall be deemed to be common walls (including floors and ceilings).
RECREATIONAL VEHICLE
Any internal combustion engine powered vehicle which is being used for recreational purposes.
RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT
All residential zones specified in the City Zoning Ordinance (suburban residential, general residential, and single-family residential).
SOUND LEVEL
The sound pressure level measured in decibels with a sound level meter set for A-weighting or C-weighting; sound level is expressed in db(A) or db(C).
SOUND LEVEL METER
An instrument for the measurement of sound levels conforming to A.N.S.I. Type I or Type II standards.
SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL
The level of a sound measured in db units with a sound level meter which has a uniform (flat) response over the band of frequencies measured.
[Code 1975, § 15-21]
It is recognized that people have a right to and should be ensured an environment free from excessive noise that may jeopardize their health, safety or welfare or degrade the quality of life. This article is enacted to protect, preserve and promote the health, safety, welfare and quality of life for the citizens of the City through the reduction, control and prevention of excessive noise.
[Code 1975, § 15-22]
It shall be unlawful for any person to emit or cause to be emitted any noise beyond the boundaries of his premises in excess of the noise levels established in this article.
[Code 1975, § 15-23]
Sound from any source controlled by this article shall not exceed the following limits at the property line of the source:
7:00 a.m. through 10:00 p.m.
10:00 p.m. through 7:00 a.m.
Type of District
db(A)
db(C)
db(A)
db(C)
Industrial
70
82
60
72
Commercial
60
72
50
62
Residential
55
67
45
57
(1) 
Where the emitting and receiving premises are in different districts, the limits governing the stricter district shall apply to any regulated noise entering that district.
(2) 
The levels specified may be exceeded by 10 dbA for a single period, no longer than 15 minutes, in any one day.
[Code 1975, § 15-24]
The noise level standards set out in Section 34-54 shall not apply to noise emitted by or related to:
(1) 
Natural phenomena.
(2) 
Any bell or chime from any building clock, school or church.
(3) 
Any siren, whistle or bell lawfully used by emergency vehicles, or any other alarm systems used in an emergency situation; provided, however, that burglar alarms not terminating within 30 minutes after being activated shall be unlawful.
(4) 
Warning devices required by OSHA or other state or federal safety regulations.
(5) 
Farming equipment or farming activity.
[Code 1975, § 15-25; Ord. No. 2007.38, 6-19-2007]
The following shall be exempt from this article, subject to special conditions spelled out:
(1) 
Noise from domestic power equipment, such as but not limited to power saws, sanders, grinders, lawn and garden tools or similar devices operated during daytime hours.
(2) 
The noises of safety signals, warning devices, emergency pressure relief valves, and any other emergency activity.
(3) 
Timber harvesting (falling trees and removing logs from the woods) during daytime hours.
(4) 
Noise generated by any construction or demolition equipment which is operated during daytime hours and emergency construction or repair work by the state or public utilities also is exempted.
(5) 
Noise created by municipal vehicles in the removal of snow, debris or refuse.
(6) 
Noise created by any recreational activities which are permitted by law and for which a license or permit has been granted by the City, including, but not limited to, parades, sporting events, concerts, and fireworks displays.
(7) 
Noise created by blasting operations, except that all blasting operations shall be in accordance with Chapter 34, Environment, Article V, Blasting.
[Code 1975, § 15-26]
The following activities are specifically prohibited:
(1) 
Animals and birds. Owning, possessing or harboring any animal or bird which intermittently or continuously for 1/2 hour or more makes sounds which disturb the peace and tranquility of a residential area, or makes such sounds to the disturbance of any person residing in such residential area, at any time of the day or night, regardless of whether the animal or bird is situated on private property.
(2) 
Motor vehicle noise, truck idling. No person shall operate an engineer or any standing motor vehicle with a weight in excess of 10,000 pounds manufacturer's gross vehicle weight for a period in excess of 15 minutes within any hour during daytime hours and in excess of 15 minutes within any eight-hour period during nighttime hours, when such vehicle is parked on a residential premises or on a City street next to a residential premises.
[1975, § 15-27]
For the purpose of determining noise levels as set forth in this article, the following guidelines shall be applicable:
(1) 
All personnel conducting sound measurements shall be trained in the current techniques and principles of sound measuring equipment and instrumentation.
(2) 
Instruments used to determine sound level measurements shall conform to the sound level meters as defined by this article. Specifically, they shall be ANSI Type I or Type II meters.
(3) 
The general steps listed below shall be followed when preparing to take sound level measurements:
a. 
The instrument manufacturer's specific instructions for the preparation and use of the instrument shall be followed.
b. 
The sound level meter shall be calibrated before and after each set of measurements. The calibrator itself shall be recalibrated at least once every year.
c. 
When measurements are taken out of doors, a wind screen shall be placed over the microphone of the sound level meter as per the manufacturer's instructions. No sound level measurements, shall be taken at wind speeds greater than 12 miles per hour.
d. 
The sound level meter shall be placed as specified by the manufacturer's instructions and at least four feet above the ground. It shall be so placed as not to be interfered with by individuals conducting the measurements.
e. 
Sound measurements shall be taken at a point that is located at least one foot beyond the property line of the emitter's premises and at least one foot within the complaining receptor's (complainant's) premises.
[Code 1975, § 15-28]
(a) 
For the purpose of determining compliance with the provisions of this article, the Noise Control Officer, upon complaint, is authorized to make tests whenever necessary to determine the level of noise.
(b) 
No person shall hinder, obstruct, delay, resist, prevent in any way, interfere or attempt to interfere with any authorized person while in the performance of his duties under this article.
[Code 1975, § 15-29]
(a) 
The Noise Control Officer is directed to enforce the provisions of this article and is hereby authorized to and may arrest or summons any person when he has reasonable cause to believe that such person has violated this article. Such person may only be summonsed or arrested if he has previously received written notice of an initial violation of this article in accordance with Subsections (c) and (d) of this section.
(b) 
No person shall interfere with, oppose or resist any authorized person charged with the enforcement of this article while such person is engaged in the performance of his duty.
(c) 
Violations of this article shall be prosecuted in the same manner as other violations, provided, however, that in the event of an initial violation of the provisions of this article, a written notice shall be given the alleged violator which specifies the time by which the condition shall be corrected. No complaint or further action shall be taken if the cause of the violation has been removed or the condition abated or fully corrected within the time period specified in the written notice.
(d) 
If the alleged violator cannot be located in order to serve the written notice of initial violation as required in this section, the notice shall be deemed to be given upon mailing such notice by registered or certified mail to the alleged violator at his last known address or at the place where the violation occurred, in which event the specified time period for abating the violation or applying for a variance shall commence at the date of the day following the mailing of such notice. Subsequent violations of the same nature shall result in the immediate filing of a misdemeanor complaint.