[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Upper Pottsgrove 2-21-2017 by Ord. No. 494. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Intent and purpose. The Board of Commissioners finds that excessive levels of sound are generally detrimental to the physical, mental and social well-being of the people; to their comfort, living conditions, general welfare and safety and being, and injurious to the community; and, in particular, to neighbors of those who perpetrate such excessive levels of sound. Therefore a public health and welfare hazard, the Board of Commissioners hereby declares pursuant to the authority granted in Section 56526 of the First Class Township Code, as amended, that it is necessary to provide, and hereby provides, for the greater control and more effective regulation of excessive sound, and the sources of excessive sound, within the Township of Upper Pottsgrove.
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 55101 et seq.
Methods of noise control. To achieve the intent and purpose of the Board of Commissioners, this chapter regulates noise generally through a reasonable person standard of annoyance; notice of specific conduct substantially likely to cause noise known to cause annoyance to a reasonable person; and the prohibition of certain defined activities.
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except when the context clearly indicates a different meaning. All terminology used in this chapter not defined below shall be in conformance with the applicable publications of the American National Standards Institute or its successor body, as amended.
- AMBIENT SOUND
- The all-encompassing noise associated with a given environment, being usually a composite of sounds from many sources near and far.
- Any living creature other than a human being, including, but not limited to, mammals, reptiles, birds, as well as domestic, feral, and wild creatures.
- CONSTRUCTION OPERATION
- The erection, repair, renovation, demolition or removal of any building or structure; and the excavation, filling, grading and regulation of lots in connection therewith.
- Any occurrence or set of circumstances involving actual or imminent physical trauma or property damage.
- EMERGENCY WORK
- Any work performed for the purpose of preventing or alleviating the physical trauma or property damage threatened or caused by an emergency.
- IMPULSIVE SOUND
- Sound of short duration, usually less than one second, with an abrupt onset and rapid decay. Examples of impulsive sound include explosions, drop forge impacts and the discharge of firearms.
- MUFFLER or SOUND-DISSIPATIVE DEVICE
- A device designed for decreasing or abating the level of sound escaping from an engine or machinery system.
- The definition provided in 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 302(b)(4), as amended, is specifically incorporated herein.
- Any sound which annoys or disturbs humans or which causes or tends to cause an adverse psychological or physiological effect on humans, excepting any law enforcement activity, including, but not limited to, training sessions.
- NOISE DISTURBANCE
- Any sound, except for sound resulting from any activity provided for in § 226-7 and/or any law enforcement activity, including, but not limited to, training sessions, which:
- Any individual, association, partnership or corporation, and includes any officer, employee, department, agency or instrumentality of a state or any political subdivision of a state. Whenever used in any clause prescribing and imposing a penalty, the term "person" shall include the individual members, partners, officers and managers, or any of them, of partnerships and associations, and as to corporations, the officers and managers thereof, or any of them.
- POWERED MODEL VEHICLE
- Any self-propelled airborne, waterborne or land-borne plane, vessel or vehicle which is not designed to caddy persons, including, but not limited to, any model airplane, boat, car or rocket. This definition shall also include dirt bikes, four-wheelers, and all-terrain vehicles (ATV) being used to carry persons, but which are not being operated on a street, avenue, boulevard, highway, or alley.
- PROPERTY LINE (BOUNDARY)
- An imaginary line or party wall that separates adjoining lands or the dwelling units of apartments, condominiums (as defined by the Uniform Condominium Act, 68 Pa.C.S.A. § 3101 et seq.), mobile homes, townhomes or duplexes, drawn through the points of contact of adjoining lands, or, in the case of apartments, mobile homes, condominiums, townhouses and duplexes owned, rented or leased by different persons, a demarcation or a line of separation between dwelling units (or "unit" as defined by the Uniform Condominium Act) of properties. In the circumstances of any two or more buildings sharing common grounds, the line drawn midway between any two such buildings. All areas devoted to public right-of-way or a common or shared area shall be deemed to be across the property line.
- PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
- Any street, avenue, boulevard, highway, sidewalk, alley or similar place which is owned or controlled by a governmental entity.
- PUBLIC SPACE
- Any real property, or structures thereon, which is owned or controlled by a governmental entity.
- REAL PROPERTY
- All land, whether publicly or privately owned, whether improved or not improved, with or without structures, exclusive of any areas devoted to public right-of-way.
- The definition provided in 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 302(b)(3), as amended, is specifically incorporated herein.
No person shall make, continue to make, or cause to be made or continued any noise disturbance, nor shall any person allow or permit any noise disturbance to be made or continued from or at any property, whether real or personal, that is subject to such person's right to control.
A person is in violation of this chapter if he or she:
Negligently makes, continues, or causes to be made any noise disturbance, or allows or permits any noise disturbance to be made or continued from or at any property, whether real or personal, that is subject to such person's right to control said property, caused by any action provided in § 226-4;
Recklessly makes, continues, or causes to be made any noise disturbance, or recklessly allows or permits any noise disturbance to be made or continued from or at any property, whether real or personal, that is subject to such person's right to control said property; caused by any action or inaction not otherwise provided for within § 226-4 or prohibited within § 226-5; or
The following acts are declared to be substantially likely to result in a noise disturbance:
Radios, television sets, musical instruments and similar devices. Operating, using or playing of any radio, television, phonograph, drum, musical instrument, sound amplifier, automobile radio, automobile stereo or high-fidelity equipment or similar device which produces, reproduces or amplifies sound:
Between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. so as to be plainly audible across a property line (boundary); or
In such a manner as to be plainly audible 50 feet from such device when the device is operated in or on a motor vehicle, or hand carried, on a public right-of-way or public space; or
When operated by any passenger on a common carrier.
Yelling and shouting. Engaging in loud or raucous yelling, hooting, whistling or singing in a public place or on a public street between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
Construction tools or equipment. Operating or permitting the operation of any tools or equipment used in construction operations, drilling or demolition work between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. on Monday through Sundays so as to be plainly audible across a residential property line (boundary), except for emergency work.
Domestic power tools. Operating or permitting the operation of any mechanically powered saw, drill, sander, grinder, lawn or garden tool, log splitter or similar device used outdoors for noncommercial, nonproprietary use on one's own property in residential areas between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. on any day so as to be plainly audible across a residential property line (boundary), except in an emergency. Residential areas shall be defined for the purposes of this chapter as any area within the township on which a residential dwelling unit is situated.
Loading and unloading. Loading, unloading, opening, closing or other handling of boxes, crates, containers, building materials or similar objects between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day in such a manner as to so as to be plainly audible across a residential property line (boundary). Such restrictions shall also apply to truck idling and truck refrigerants.
Animals. Owning, possessing, harboring and/or controlling, whether legally or illegally, any animal which howls, barks, crows, meows, squawks, snorts, growls, screeches, roars, bah-gawks, cock-a-doodle-doos, screams, squeaks, clicks, chirps, caws, bleats, quacks, honks, hisses, neighs, whines, chatters, bellows, moos, hoots, oinks, coos, gobbles, sings, groans, or makes other sounds of a similar nature, continuously or intermittently for a period of 15 minutes so as to be plainly audible to any non-owner of the animal at any time of the day or night, regardless of whether the animal is situated in or upon private property; provided, however, that at the time the animal is making such noise, no person is trespassing or threatening to trespass upon private property in or upon which the animal or bird is situated or for any other legitimate cause which teased or provoked the animal.
Powered model vehicles. Operating or permitting the operation of powered model vehicles so as to be plainly audible across a property line (boundary).
Street sales. Offering for sale or selling by shouting or outcry, or by any other amplified or unamplified sound.
Vehicle, motorized watercraft or aircraft repairs and testing. Repairing, rebuilding or testing any motor vehicle, motorcycle, motorboat or aircraft in such a manner so as to be plainly audible across a property line (boundary).
The following acts are specifically prohibited:
The removal or rendering inoperative by any person, other than for the purposes of maintenance, repair or replacement, of any muffler or sound dissipative device or element of design or noise label of any product.
The use of a product which has had a muffler or sound dissipative device or element of design or noise labeled removed or rendered inoperative other than for the purposes of maintenance, repair or replacement, with knowledge that such action has occurred.
Any noise that disturbs two or more residents who are in general agreement as to the times and durations of the noise and who reside in separate residences, including apartments, mobile homes, and condominiums located within the same building, which are located across a property line (boundary) from the property on which the source of the noise is generated shall be prima facie evidence of a noise disturbance.
Noise resulting from the following activities is exempted from the provisions of this chapter:
Amplified announcements. Stationary electronically amplified announcements at athletic events, political events and civic events.
Blasting. Blasting, under proper permit, provided such blasting may occur only between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, unless otherwise specifically authorized by permit.
Public or private concerts. Concerts, band concerts, block parties, church carnivals, or other performances or similar activities publicly or privately sponsored and presented in any public or private space provided:
Emergency work. Sounds caused by the performance of emergency work, or by the ordinary and accepted use of emergency apparatus and equipment, or any other activities, conducted by police, fire or other emergency service providers.
Municipal and utility services. Sounds resulting from the repair or replacement, in or about the public right-of-way, of any municipal or utility installation.
School and public activities. Sounds created by organized school-related programs, activities, athletic and entertainment events, or other public programs, activities or events, other than motor vehicle racing events, not electronically amplified.
Warning devices. Sounds made by the operation of warning devices in the event of an actual emergency or operating continuously, or for three minutes or less in the absence of an actual emergency.
This chapter shall be enforced by the Upper Pottsgrove Township Police Department.
Any person who shall violate any provision of this chapter, upon conviction thereof in an action brought before a Magisterial District Judge in the manner provided for the enforcement of summary offenses under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $1,000 plus costs and, in default of payment of said fine and costs, to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 30 days. Each day that a violation of this chapter continues or each section of this chapter which shall be found to have been violated shall constitute a separate offense.
The rights and remedies of the Township as prescribed by this chapter or otherwise by law with respect to nuisances resulting from noise, and the criminal sanctions herein provided, shall be cumulative, and the pursuit of one shall in no way preclude simultaneous or subsequent pursuit of another.
The provisions of this chapter shall be severable and if any of its provisions shall be held to be unconstitutional or illegal, the validity of any of the remaining provisions of the ordinance shall not be affected thereby. It is hereby expressly declared as the intent of the Township that this chapter would have been adopted had such unconstitutional of illegal provision or provisions not been included herein.