Township of Upper Hanover, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
In expansion of the declaration of legislative intent and statement of community development objectives found in §§ 500-101 and 500-102 of Article I of this chapter, it is the intent of this article to regulate generation of excessive noise to protect the health, safety and welfare of its citizens and their quality of life, in conformance with the goals and objectives of the Comprehensive Plan, Open Space and Environmental Resource Protection Plan, and the following objectives:
A. 
Recognize that excessive noise is a serious hazard to the public health, safety, welfare and quality of life, and a substantial body of science and technology exists by which excessive noise may be substantially abated.
B. 
Ensure citizens' right to an environment free from excessive noise.
C. 
Control noise originating from sources within the limits of Upper Hanover Township.
The following words and terms, when used in this article, shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, and shall supersede any other definition within this chapter in regards to this subject.
AMBIENT SOUND LEVEL
The total sound pressure level in the area of interest including the noise source of interest.
A-WEIGHTING
The electronic filtering in sound level meters that models human hearing frequency sensitivity.
BACKGROUND SOUND LEVEL
The total sound pressure level in the area of interest excluding the noise source of interest.
COMMERCIAL AREA
A group of commercial facilities and the abutting public right-of-way and public spaces.
COMMERCIAL FACILITY
Any premises, property or facility involving traffic in goods and furnishings of services for sale or profit, including but not limited to:
a) 
Banking and other financial institutions;
b) 
Dining establishments;
c) 
Establishments for providing retail or wholesale services;
d) 
Establishments for recreation and entertainment;
e) 
Office buildings;
f) 
Transportation; and
g) 
Warehouses.
CONSTRUCTION
Any site preparation, assembly, erection, repair, alteration or similar action, or demolition of buildings or structures.
C-WEIGHTING
The electronic filtering of sound level meters that models a flat response (output = input) over the range of maximum human hearing sensitivity.
dBA
The A-weighted unit of sound pressure level.
dBC
The C-weighted unit of sound pressure level.
DECIBEL (dB)
The unit of measurement for sound pressure level at a specified location.
EMERGENCY WORK
Any work or action necessary to deliver essential services, including, but not limited to, repairing water, gas, electric, telephone, sewer facilities, or public transportation facilities, removing fallen trees on public rights-of-way, or abating life-threatening conditions.
IMPULSIVE SOUND
A sound having a duration of less than one second with an abrupt onset and rapid decay.
INDUSTRIAL FACILITY
Any activity and its related premises, property, facilities or equipment involving the fabrication, manufacture, or production of durable or nondurable goods.
MOTOR VEHICLES
Any vehicle that is propelled or drawn on land by an engine or motor.
MUFFLER
A sound-dissipative device or system for attenuating the sound of escaping gasses of an internal combustion engine.
MULTIDWELLING-UNIT BUILDING
Any building wherein there are two or more dwelling units.
MUNICIPALITY
Upper Hanover Township.
NOISE
Any sound of such level and duration as to be or tend to be injurious to human health or welfare, or which would unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of life or property throughout the municipality or in any portions thereof, but excludes all aspects of the employer-employee relationship concerning health and safety hazards within the confines of a place of employment.
NOISE CONTROL ADMINISTRATOR (NCA)
The Township official designated by the Board of Supervisors to be responsible for determining compliance with the regulations of this article.
NOISE CONTROL OFFICER (NCO)
A person qualified in the measurement of sound and empowered to investigate sound levels when requested by the Noise Control Administrator.
NOISE DISTURBANCE
Any sound that a) endangers the safety or health of any person; b) disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivities; or c) endangers personal or real property.
PERSON
Any individual, corporation, company, association, society, firm, partnership, joint-stock company, the municipality, or any political subdivision, agency or instrumentality of the municipality.
PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
Any street, avenue, boulevard, road, highway, sidewalk or alley that is leased, owned or controlled by a governmental entity.
PUBLIC SPACE
Any real property or structures thereon that is owned, leased or controlled by a governmental entity.
PURE TONE
Any sound that can be judged as a single pitch or set of single pitches by the NCO.
REAL PROPERTY LINE
Either a) the imaginary line, including its vertical extension, that separates one parcel of real property from another; or b) the vertical and horizontal boundaries of a dwelling unit that is one in a multidwelling-unit building.
RESIDENTIAL AREA
A group of residential properties and the abutting public rights-of-way and public spaces.
RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
Property used for human habitation, including but not limited to:
a) 
Private property used for human habitation;
b) 
Commercial living accommodations and commercial property used for human habitation;
c) 
Recreational and entertainment property used for human habitation; and
d) 
Community service property used for human habitation.
SOUND LEVEL
The instantaneous sound pressure level measured in decibels with a sound level meter set for A-weighting on slow integration speed, unless otherwise noted.
SOUND LEVEL METER (SLM)
An instrument used to measure sound pressure levels conforming to Type 2 standards as specified in ANSI Standard S1.4-1983, or the latest version thereof.
SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL (SPL)
Twenty multiplied by the logarithm, to the base 10, of the measured sound pressure divided by the sound pressure associated with the threshold of human hearing, in units or decibels.
WEEKDAY
Any day, Monday through Friday, that is not a legal holiday.
A. 
Insofar as practicable, sound will be measured while the source under investigation is operating at normal, routine conditions and, as necessary, at other conditions, including, but not limited to, design, maximum and fluctuating rates.
B. 
Prior to taking noise measurements, the investigator shall explore the vicinity of the source in question to identify any other sound sources that could affect measurements, to establish the approximate location and character of the principal sound source, and to select suitable locations from which to measure the sound from the source in question.
C. 
When measuring continuous sound or sound that is sustained for more than one second at a time, the SLM shall be set for A-weighting, slow meter response speed, and the range (if the SLM is designed to read levels over different ranges of SPLs) shall be set to that range in which the meter reads closest to the maximum end of the scale. When the measured sound level is variable or fluctuating over a range greater than three dBA using the slow meter response speed, the fast meter response speed shall be used. In either case, both the minimum and maximum readings shall be recorded to indicate the range of monitored values.
D. 
The SLM shall be placed at a minimum height of three feet above the ground or from any reflective surface. When hand held, the microphone shall be held at arm's length and pointed at the source at the angle recommended by the SLM manufacturer.
E. 
If extraneous sound sources, such as aircraft flyovers or barking dogs, that are unrelated to the measurements increase the monitored sound levels, the measurements should be postponed until these extraneous sounds have become of such a level not to increase the monitored sound levels of interest.
A. 
No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit the operation of any sound source on a particular category of property or any public space or right-of-way in such a manner as to create a sound level that exceeds the background sound level by at least 10 dBC during daytime (7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.) hours and by at least 5 dBC during nighttime (9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.) hours when measured at or within the real property line of the receiving property except as provided in § 500-2803A(1).
(1) 
If the background sound level cannot be determined, the absolute sound level limits set forth in the following table shall be used:
Residential
Commercial or Industrial
Source Property
7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
All times
Residential
55
45
65
Commercial or industrial
60
45
65
(2) 
If the sound source in question is a pure tone, the limits of table shall be reduced by 5 dBA.
(3) 
Nonrepetitive impulsive sound sources shall not exceed 80 dBC at or within a residential real property line using the fast meter response speed.
(4) 
In multidwelling-unit buildings, if the background sound level cannot be determined, the daytime limit is 45 dBA and the nighttime limit is 35 dBA for sounds originating in another dwelling within the same building.
B. 
The following are exempt from the sound level limits of § 500-2803A:
(1) 
Noise from emergency signaling devices;
(2) 
Noise from an exterior burglar alarm of any building, provided such burglar alarm shall terminate its operation within five minutes of its activation;
(3) 
Noise from domestic power tools, lawn mowers, and agricultural equipment when operated between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on weekdays and between 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on weekends and legal holidays, provided they generate less than 85 dBA at or within any real property line of a residential property;
(4) 
Sound from church bells and chimes when a part of a religious observance or service;
(5) 
Noise from construction activity, provided all motorized equipment used in such activity is equipped with functioning mufflers, except as provided in § 500-2803B(6) below; and
(6) 
Noise from snowblowers, snow throwers, and snowplows when operated with a muffler for the purpose of snow removal.
A. 
No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit to be made verbally or mechanically any noise disturbance.
B. 
No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit the following acts:
(1) 
Operating, playing or permitting the operation or playing any radio, television, phonograph or similar device that reproduces or amplifies sound in such a manner as to create a noise disturbance for any person other than the operator of the device;
(2) 
Using or operating any loudspeaker, public address system, or similar device between 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. the following day, such that the sound therefrom creates a noise disturbance across a residential real property line;
(3) 
Owning, possessing or harboring any animal or bird that frequently or for continued duration generates sounds that create a noise disturbance across a residential real property line;
(4) 
Loading, unloading, opening, closing or other handling of boxes, crates, containers, building materials, liquids, garbage cans, refuse or similar objects, or the pneumatic or pumped loading or unloading of bulk materials in liquid, gaseous, powder or pellet form, or the compacting of refuse by persons engaged in the business of scavenging or garbage collection, whether private or municipal, between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. the following day on a weekday or between 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. the following day on a weekend day or legal holiday, except by permit, when the sound therefrom creates a noise disturbance across a residential property line;
(5) 
Operating or permitting the operation of any motor vehicle whose manufacturer's gross weight rating is in excess of 10,000 pounds or any auxiliary equipment attached to such a vehicle, for a period of longer than five minutes in any hour while the vehicle is stationary for reasons other than traffic congestion or emergency work on a public right-of-way or public space within 150 feet of a residential area between 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. the following day; and
(6) 
Operating or permitting the operation of any tools or equipment used in construction, drilling, earthmoving, excavating or demolition work between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day on a weekday or at any time on a weekend day or legal holiday, except for emergency work; by variance issued pursuant to § 500-2806; or when the sound level does not exceed any applicable relative or absolute limit specified in § 500-2803A.
A. 
The provisions of this article shall not apply to:
(1) 
The generation of sound for the purpose of alerting persons to the existence of an emergency except as provided in § 500-2803B(2);
(2) 
The generation of sound in the performance of emergency work; or[1]
[1]
Editor’s Note: Former Subsection A(3), regarding situations within the jurisdiction of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, was repealed 11-3-2018 by Ord. No. 2018-04.
B. 
Noise generated from municipally sponsored or approved celebrations or events shall be exempt from the provisions of this article.
A. 
Any person who owns or operates any stationary noise source may apply to the Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB) for a variance from one or more of the provisions of this article.
(1) 
Variance applications shall supply information, including, but not limited to:
(a) 
The nature and location of the noise source for which such application is made;
(b) 
The reason for which the variance is required, including the hardship that will result to the applicant, his/her client, or the public if the variance is not granted;
(c) 
The level of noise that will occur during the period of the variance;
(d) 
The section or sections of this chapter for which the variance shall apply;
(e) 
A description of interim noise control measures to be taken for the applicant to minimize noise and the impacts occurring therefrom; and
(f) 
A specific schedule of the noise control measures which shall be taken to bring the source into compliance with this chapter within a reasonable time.
(2) 
Failure to supply the information required by the ZHB shall be cause for rejection of the application.
(3) 
A copy of the permit of variance must be kept on file by the Township for public inspection.
B. 
The ZHB may limit the duration of the variance, which shall be no longer than one year. Any person holding a variance and requesting an extension of time shall apply for a new variance under the provisions of this section.
C. 
No variance shall be approved unless the applicant presents adequate proof that:
(1) 
Noise levels occurring during the period of the variance will not constitute a danger to public health; and
(2) 
Compliance with this article would impose an unreasonable hardship upon the applicant without equal or greater benefits to the public.
D. 
In making the determination of granting a variance, the ZHB shall consider:
(1) 
The character and degree of injury to or interference with the health and welfare or the reasonable use of property which is caused or threatened to be caused;
(2) 
The social and economic value of the activity for which the variance is sought; and
(3) 
The ability of the applicant to apply the best practical noise control measures.
E. 
The variance may be revoked by the ZHB if the terms of the variance are violated.