[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of Scott Township 10-10-1995 by Ord. No. 1-1995; amended in its entirety 10-11-2011 by Ord. No. 10-11-11A. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Scott Township Noise Disturbance Ordinance."
This chapter is enacted pursuant to the Second Class Township Code.
The purpose of this chapter is to ensure that public health, safety and welfare shall not be abridged by the making and creating of a noise disturbance. The residents of the Township recognize that uncontrolled noise represents a danger to the health and welfare of their neighbors and that each person in the community is entitled to live in an environment in which the level of impulsive and amplified noise is minimized for the community good. It is the purpose and scope of this chapter to provide regulations defining the maximum sound levels that vehicles, appliances, equipment and persons shall be allowed to produce and also to provide for the prohibition of other kinds of offensive noises. These regulations and prohibitions are intended to protect the physical, mental and social well-being of the residents of Scott Township.
The Board of Supervisors finds that failure of individuals, businesses, industries, persons maintaining animals, social gatherings and other activities to regulate noise constitutes a violation of the peace and enjoyment of the residents of Scott Township and a public nuisance. Specifically, such noise emanating from home occupations, businesses, industries, sound-amplification equipment, radios, electronic sound-recording equipment, vehicles, persons maintaining animals, social gatherings and other activities:
Creates a nuisance in that residents are deprived of the enjoyment of their homes, disturbed in their sleep, and otherwise prevented from the quiet enjoyment of their residential premises;
Affects the property values of residences in the Township;
Affects the public welfare by reflecting negatively on the quality of life in residential areas of the Township;
Disturbs the peace and good order of the Township; and
Creates noise disturbance.
The following words and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the meanings given to them in this section.
- 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., prevailing time.
- DECIBEL (dBa)
- A unit of sound level which is a division of a logarithmic scale used to express the ratio of sound pressure of the source to the pressure of an arbitrarily chosen reference pressure; the ratio is expressed on the decibel scale by multiplying its base 10 logarithm by 20.
- EXCESSIVE NOISE
- Excessive noise is that sound which creates or causes a noise disturbance.
- 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., prevailing time, conversely,
- Any sound emitted by a person, animal, appliance, equipment, instrument or other device.
- NOISE DISTURBANCE
- Any sound or sounds which:
- A. Endangers or injures the safety or health of humans or animals;
- B. Annoys or disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivities;
- C. Endangers or injures personal or real property; or
- D. Exceeds 70 dBa measured by a noise meter beyond 30 feet from the source (if the source is on a public right-of-way or area) or 30 feet from the property boundary if the source is on private property.
- Includes an individual, firm, association, organization, partnership, trust, company, corporation or any other similar entity.
- SOUND LEVEL
- Noise level.
- Scott Township, Columbia County, Pennsylvania.
- Any device or combination of devices used for or capable of being used for transporting persons or property. Vehicles include but are not limited to the following: automobiles, trucks, buses, motorcycles, motorized bicycles, snowmobiles, scooters, all-terrain vehicles, go-carts, racers, and like devices, farm machinery, industrial machinery, highway graders, trailers, graders and semitrailers.
The following acts and the causing thereof are declared to be noise disturbances and, therefore, in violation of this chapter:
Radios, television sets, musical instruments and similar devices. No person owning, leasing, occupying or having charge of any building or premises or any part thereof in Scott Township shall operate, play or permit the operation or playing of any radio, CD player, VCR, DVD, television, phonograph, high fidelity equipment or similar devices, drum, music instrument or sound amplifier at any time in such a manner as to cause a noise disturbance.
Automobile radios, automobile stereos, portable radios, and stereos. No person shall play an automobile radio or automobile stereo which produces, reproduces or amplifies sound in such a manner as to cause a noise disturbance.
Motor vehicles and motorcycles.
No person shall at any time operate a vehicle or piece of machinery or equipment so out of repair, so loaded, or in such a manner as to cause a noise disturbance. Every vehicle shall be equipped with a muffler or other effective noise-suppressing system in good working order and in constant operation, and no muffler or exhaust system shall be equipped with a cutout, bypass or similar device so as to cause a noise disturbance.
No person shall at any time sound the horn or other warning device of a vehicle so as to cause a noise disturbance as defined herein except when absolutely necessary as a warning while actually driving such vehicle.
No person shall at any time operate a motor vehicle by racing the motor or spinning the wheels so as to make or cause to be made any loud, boisterous or unseemly noise or disturbance that creates a noise disturbance.
No person shall repair, rebuild or test any motor vehicle, motorcycle or motorboat in such a manner as to cause a noise disturbance.
Yelling and shouting, etc. No person shall create a noise disturbance by yelling, shouting, whistling, hooting or singing so as to annoy or disturb the quiet, comfort or repose of persons in any dwelling or residence.
Places of public entertainment. No person shall operate, play or permit the operating or playing of any radio, television, phonograph, stereo, drum, musical instrument, sound amplifier or similar device which produces, reproduces or amplifies sound within any place of public entertainment to create a noise disturbance.
Noise from premises. No person owning or in possession or control of any building or premises shall use the same, permit the use of the same, or rent the same to be used for any business or employment or residential use, or for any purpose of pleasure or recreation, if such use shall create a noise disturbance.
Parties and other social events. No person in charge of a party or other social event and no person present at a party or other social event that occurs on any private or public property shall allow that party or event to produce excessive noise in a loud, annoying or offensive manner such that noise from the party creates a noise disturbance.
Explosive, fireworks, firearms and similar devices. No person shall use explosives, fireworks, firearms or similar devices which create impulsive sound as to cause a noise disturbance.
Noise emitted from the following sources shall be exempt from the noise standards specified in this chapter:
All safety signals and warning devices (e.g., intrusion alarms, backup alarms on trucks); authorized vehicles when responding to emergencies (e.g., police, fire, ambulance sirens or any other device used to alert persons to an emergency or used during the conduct of emergency work).
The provision, repair and maintenance of municipal services, including garbage collection services or public utilities.
Bells, chimes and carillons used for religious purposes or in conjunction with national celebrations or public holidays.
Appliances, lawn and garden equipment, chain saws, snow-removal equipment and power tools in use during the daytime, provided such are operated within the manufacturer's specifications and with all standard noise-reducing equipment in use, unmodified and in proper operating condition.
Heavy construction equipment when being used on a specific short-term project (such as constructing a building; constructing, repairing or cleaning a road; drilling a well; and other similar short-term, specific construction, demolition or repair projects) in use during the daytime for the duration of such short-term, specific project, provided such heavy construction equipment is operated within the manufacturer's specifications and with all standard noise-reducing equipment in use, unmodified and in proper operating condition.
Air conditioners, fans, heating units and similar comfort services, provided such are operated within the manufacturer's specifications and with all standard noise-reducing equipment in use, unmodified and in proper operating condition.
Airplanes, helicopters and normal activities of properly licensed airports, and trains operating on railroads.
Existing weapons firing ranges during daytime, as defined herein.
All motor vehicles being operated on the public road in Scott Township, provided such are operated within the manufacturer's specifications and with all standard noise-reducing equipment in use, unmodified and in proper working condition.
Activities permitted by special waiver, as provided herein, according to the terms and conditions of said waiver.
All farm-related operations and activities.
Any existing legitimate or licensed business, commercial or industrial operation during the daytime, provided any appliances, equipment, machinery or devices used in such operation are operated within the manufacturer's specifications and with all standard noise-reducing equipment in use, unmodified and in proper operating condition.
A temporary waiver from strict compliance with the noise standards specified herein may be granted to persons during emergency circumstances, as determined by the Board of Supervisors, to permit reasonable time to effect repairs.
It is the policy of the Board of Supervisors in adopting this chapter not to force any industrial or commercial enterprise out of business but rather to work with any industrial or commercial enterprise to find ways to reduce noise levels to the level permitted by this chapter.
This chapter may be enforced by any police officer or by any person affected by a noise disturbance as defined herein.
The following procedures and penalties are prescribed for enforcement of this chapter.
Warnings. If it is determined that there has been a noise disturbance, the Township shall, upon written complaint by the affected person who resides in Scott Township, issue a written warning to the person responsible. Any such warning shall be in effect for six months.
Offenses. If it is determined that there has been a noise disturbance caused or permitted by any person within six months after the issuance of a warning, any person affected thereby who resides in Scott Township may prosecute such person causing or permitting said noise level before the Magisterial District Judge.
Injunctions. In addition, any person affected thereby may file legal or equitable actions in court to abate or enjoin violations of this chapter.
Public nuisance. Any emission of noise so as to create or cause a noise disturbance is hereby declared to be a public nuisance and may be abated by administrative or judicial proceedings, fines and penalties herein provided.
Other remedies. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to impair any cause of action or legal remedy thereof by any person or the public for injury or damage arising from the emission or release into the atmosphere or ground from any source whatever of noise on such place or manner or at such levels which may give rise to such cause of action.
The provisions of this chapter are not intended to interfere with, abrogate or annul other rules, regulations or ordinances, including Title 18 (Crimes Code) and Title 75 (Vehicle Code) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. If more stringent requirements concerning noise abatement are contained in other statutes, rules, regulations or ordinances, the more stringent regulation shall apply.
Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof as a summary offense, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $1,000 and, in default of payment, sentenced to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 30 days. Every day that a violation of this chapter continues shall constitute a separate offense.
All ordinances or parts of ordinances which are inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.