Town of Dartmouth, MA
Bristol County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting of the Town of Dartmouth as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 4-2-1957, approved 9-5-1957; amended 5-23-1995, approved 8-29-1995; 5-15-2001, approved 8-15-2001 (§ 61.6 of the 2011 General By-Laws)]
No person shall operate a sound truck or other vehicle using a sound or public address system or device on any way in the Town without first securing a permit therefor from the Select Board. Permits will be issued to applicants subject to reasonable standards promulgated by the Select Board.
[Adopted 6-6-2017 ATM by Art. 30, approved 9-18-2017 (Art. 73 of the 2011 General By-Laws)]
A. 
As used in this article of the General By-Laws, the terms below shall have the following definitions:
AGRICULTURAL USE
Land shall be deemed to be in use when the primary use of land is for agricultural purposes such as dairying, equine activities, pasturage, animal and poultry husbandry, crop production, truck farming, horticulture, floriculture, forestry, aquaculture, hydroponics, or viticulture and uses ancillary to these activities, for the intent of selling such animals or crops or a product derived from such animal or crop in the regular course of business; or when primarily used in a related manner which is incidental and represents a customary and necessary use in raising such animals and preparing them or the products derived therefrom for market.
AIR BOAT
A small open boat having a very shallow draft and driven by a caged airplane propeller mounted above the rear transom.
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.
DEMOLITION
Any dismantling, intentional destruction of, or removal of, structures, utilities, public or private rights-of-way surfaces or similar property.
EMERGENCY WORK
Any work performed for the purpose of preventing or alleviating the physical harm to Persons or property, which requires immediate action.
ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL
A Town official having authority to enforce this By-law as provided in § 250-6B below.
JET SKI
A jet ski, surf jet, wet bike or similarly styled water craft.
LEGAL HOLIDAY
Any day designated as a legal holiday under federal or Massachusetts state law.
PERSON
Any individual, association, partnership, joint venture, corporation or other form of legal entity.
POWER TOOL
Any device which is powered mechanically either directly or indirectly, by electricity, by gasoline, by diesel or any other fuel, including pneumonic devices, which is intended to be used, or is actually used, for functions including, without limitation, cutting, nailing, stapling, sawing, vacuuming, blowing, material handling, screening or drilling.
RECREATION VEHICLE
Any motor vehicle designed or modified for use over unimproved terrain if used for recreation or pleasure off a public way as defined in chapter ninety, and all legally registered motor vehicles when used off a way, as defined under chapter ninety; provided.
RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT
Any area designated as a Residential District in the Town of Dartmouth Zoning By-law, including Single Residence A, Single Residence B, Single Residence C, and General Residential.
SNOW VEHICLE
A Motor Vehicle designed to travel over ice or snow, having a curb weight of not more than 453 kilograms or 1,000 pounds, driven by track or tracks in contact with the snow or ice and steered by a ski or skis in contact with the snow or ice.
WEEKDAY
Any day from Monday through Friday that is not a Legal Holiday.
B. 
Any terms that have not been defined specifically herein shall have their normal English meanings unless the context indicates otherwise.
A. 
General noise prohibition.
(1) 
It shall be unlawful for any Person to make or continue, or cause to be made or continued, assist in making or allow to continue, any loud, unnecessary or unusual, unreasonable or excessive noise which either disturbs, injures or endangers the peace or reasonable quiet, comfort, repose or the health or safety, or which causes or tends to cause discomfort or annoyance to any reasonable person of normal sensitiveness residing in the area.
(2) 
The standards which shall be considered in determining whether a violation of the provisions of this section exist[s] shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(a) 
The level of the noise.
(b) 
The intensity of the noise.
(c) 
Whether the nature of the noise is usual or unusual.
(d) 
Whether the origin of the noise is natural or unnatural.
(e) 
The level and intensity of the background noise, if any.
(f) 
The proximity of the noise to residential sleeping facilities.
(g) 
The nature and zoning of the area within which the noise emanates.
(h) 
The density of the inhabitation of the area within which the noise emanates.
(i) 
The time of day or night the noise occurs.
(j) 
The duration of the noise.
(k) 
Whether the noise is recurrent, intermittent or constant.
(l) 
Whether the noise is produced by commercial or noncommercial activity.
(3) 
The fact that the noise is plainly audible at a distance of 150 feet from the building, dwelling, structure, premises, shelter boat or conveyance from which it originates shall constitute prima facie evidence of a violation of this article.
B. 
Noise from motor vehicles.
(1) 
It shall be unlawful for any Person, while in control of any Motor Vehicle not traveling on a public way, to cause any unnecessary, loud, excessive, or unusual noise in the use or operation of the Motor Vehicle. The fact that the noise is plainly audible at a distance of 150 feet from the Motor Vehicle from which it originates shall constitute prima facie evidence of a violation of this article.
(2) 
It shall be unlawful for any Person, while in control of any Motor Vehicle at a single location for more than two minutes, to cause any unnecessary, loud, excessive, or unusual noise in the use or operation of the Motor Vehicle. The fact that the noise is plainly audible at a distance of 150 feet from the Motor Vehicle from which it originates shall constitute prima facie evidence of a violation of this article.
C. 
Noise from snow vehicles and recreation vehicles. It shall be unlawful for any Person while in control of any Snow Vehicle or Recreational Vehicle to cause any unnecessary, loud, excessive, or unusual noise in the operation of the Snow Vehicle or Recreational Vehicle. The fact that the noise is plainly audible at a distance of 150 feet from the Snow Vehicle or Recreational Vehicle from which it originates shall constitute prima facie evidence of a violation of this article.
D. 
Noise from jet skis and air boats. It shall be unlawful for any Person while in control of a Jet Ski or Air Boat in non-tidal waters to cause any unnecessary, loud, excessive, or unusual noise in the operation of the Jet Ski or Air Boat. The fact that the noise is plainly audible at a distance of 150 feet from the Jet Ski or Air Boat from which it originates shall constitute prima facie evidence of a violation of this article.
E. 
Unreasonable noise from automobile safety devices. The use of any device whose purpose it is to protect an owner's vehicle from damage and/or theft through the mechanical creation of a noise of sufficient magnitude to be plainly audible at a distance of 200 feet from such device which does not automatically terminate any such noise within five minutes shall be declared an unlawful use of a noise making instrument.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this By-law, a Person engaging in any of the activities specified in Subsections A through D of this § 250-4 at any time other than that permitted for such activity in the applicable subsection shall be in violation of this By-law.
A. 
Construction and demolition activity exception. The operation of tools and equipment used in Construction or Demolition is allowed between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on weekdays and is not restricted within those hours by the one-hundred-fifty-foot standard set forth in § 250-3A(3). Said activity shall also be allowed beyond these hours if it is determined to be in the interest of public safety or welfare, and upon the issuance of and pursuant to a permit from the Building Department, which permit may be renewed for one or more periods of not exceeding one week each.
B. 
Commercial landscaping activity exception. The operation of tools and equipment used in commercial landscaping activity is allowed between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on all days of the week and is not restricted, within those hours, by the one-hundred-fifty-foot standard set forth in § 250-3A(3). Said activity shall also be allowed beyond these hours if it is determined to be in the interest of public safety or welfare, and upon the issuance of and pursuant to a permit from the Building Department, which permit may be renewed for one or more periods of not exceeding one week each.
C. 
Domestic power tools. No Person shall operate, or permit the operation of, any Power Tool or any garden tool, lawnmower, leaf blower, wood/brush chipper, chainsaw, or similar device powered mechanically, by electricity, by gasoline, by diesel or other fuel, outdoors in a Residential District, or within 150 feet of any Residential District, except between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
D. 
Dumpsters and trash receptacles. No Person shall empty dumpsters or similar trash receptacles in a Residential District, or within 150 feet of any Residential District except between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
E. 
Snow vehicle and recreation vehicle. No Person shall operate, or permit the operation of any Snow Vehicle or Recreation Vehicle except between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Weekdays and the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays.
F. 
Engine braking devices. No Person shall operate any Motor Vehicle with an engine braking device engaged within the Town limits unless required for safety. This provision shall not apply to Motor Vehicles traveling on Route 6 or Route 195.
A. 
Exemptions. The following uses and activities shall be exempt from the provisions of this By-law:
(1) 
Any law enforcement Motor Vehicle in the performance of law enforcement duties.
(2) 
Any fire apparatus, ambulance, rescue, public works or emergency response vehicle creating Sound in the performance of public safety responsibilities.
(3) 
Any vehicle in the performance of Emergency Work.
(4) 
Public address systems used at public events in a manner approved by any Town board, department or official having authority over said use.
(5) 
Safety signals, warning devices, emergency pressure relief valves and similar devices during and in relation to public emergencies.
(6) 
Parades, music festivals, public gatherings, and events which have received Town approval.
(7) 
Bells, chimes or carillons, or their amplified, recorded, or other electronic substitution while being used in conjunction with religious services or to denote time intervals between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
(8) 
Snow removal from public or private parking lots, roads, driveways, sidewalks and other surfaces traveled by vehicles or pedestrians.
(9) 
Activities of temporary duration during a time of emergency conducted by a public utility company to repair or maintain public utility infrastructure.
(10) 
Construction activity under a valid permit issued by the Chief of Police under Section 7 or 15 of Chapter 136 of the Massachusetts General Laws, or by any Town board, department or official having regulatory authority over Construction activity.
(11) 
Any vehicle utilizing an amplified communications system operated by a highway maintenance, water department, or public utilities worker acting in the performance of his or her responsibilities.
(12) 
The operation of modes of public transportation including, without limitation, buses, trains and commuter boats.
(13) 
Any activity to the extent the regulation thereof has been preempted by state or federal laws or regulations.
(14) 
School sanctioned events or activities under direct supervision of school personnel.
(15) 
Any Town sanctioned events or activities on any Town Property.
(16) 
Any equipment engaged in Agricultural Use.
B. 
Permits. Any Enforcement Official, for good cause shown, and with appropriate conditions so as to reasonably minimize any adverse impact on the public, may grant a permit allowing activity that would otherwise violate this By-law.
C. 
Additional responsible parties. No Person, being the landlord or Person in charge of a residential structure shall permit, allow, or suffer repeated violations of this by-law after notice thereof and shall be fined at the time of the third such violation and at the time of every violation thereafter within 12 months of the first violation by a fine of $150 and by a fine of $300 for each violation thereafter.
D. 
Notice of noise restrictions to be provided to renters; owner's responsibility for repeated violations by renters. The owner of any building, dwelling, structure, premises, shelter, boat or conveyance which is let, rented or leased shall provide any and all tenants, lessees and sublessees with a copy of this article at the time of entering into the rental agreement and the owner shall receive and retain a dated written acknowledgement from each tenant, lessee and sublessees verifying receipt of same. The owner of any building, dwelling, structure, premises, shelter, boat or conveyance which is let, rented or leased shall be notified in writing of each violation of this article committed by his tenants, lessees and sublessees.
A. 
Scope of enforcement. This Section deals solely with the enforcement of this By-Law. Nothing that is contained herein shall limit, or be construed as limiting, any civil or criminal enforcement authority or power that any Enforcement Official or others may have, or may come to have, under state or federal law, or any regulations that are promulgated pursuant to the same, including, without limitation, any powers of arrest and/or detention, summons for criminal process, and levying of fines.
B. 
Enforcement officials. This By-law shall be enforced by the Chief of Police, the Director of Public Health, the Director of Inspectional Services and their authorized designees. For all purposes other than the granting of permits under this By-law, designees of the Chief of Police shall include any Dartmouth Police Officer.
C. 
Penalties. The first violation of this By-Law shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100. The second violation of this By-Law within 12 months after the first violation shall be punished by a fine of not less than $200. Further, violations within 12 months after the last violation shall be punished by a fine of $300. Each such act, which either continues or is repeated more than 1/2 hour after issuance of a written notice of violation of this By-Law, shall be a separate offense.
D. 
Non-criminal disposition. Each fine for a violation of this Section shall be issued in accordance with the non-criminal disposition procedures as provided in Chapter 60, Article I, of the General By-Laws and Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40, Section 21D.
E. 
Judicial relief. The Town may seek the enforcement of this article through the issuance of injunctive or other equitable relief by the Superior Court.
A. 
Town programs and activities. All Town departments, boards and officials shall carry out their programs and activities in a manner reasonably consistent with this By-law.
B. 
Cooperation of Town boards and officials. All Town departments, boards and officials shall cooperate with the Enforcement Officials in enforcing the provisions of this By-law.
C. 
Project review and approval. All Town departments, boards and officials having responsibility for the review and approval of new projects or activities, or changes to existing projects that result, or may result, in the production of Sound shall, to the extent reasonably feasible under the circumstances, require compliance with the provisions of this By-law as a condition of approval. This By-law is not intended to require any Town department, board or official to apply a more restrictive standard for the approval of any project or activity, or change to any existing projects, than has been applied prior to the By-law's adoption.
The provisions of this article are severable. If any of the provisions of this By-law are held to be invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, the remaining provisions shall remain in full force and effect.