City of Mount Vernon, NY
Westchester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Mount Vernon as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction — See Ch. 101.
Dogs and other animals — See Ch. 116.
Peace and good order — See Ch. 191.
Peddling and soliciting — See Ch. 194.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 256.
Zoning — See Ch. 267.
[Adopted 3-12-1980, approved 3-13-1980[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 178, Art. I, Unnecessary Noise, adopted 11-13-1957 as Ch. 25 of the General Ordinances of the City of Mount Vernon, approved 11-15-1957, as amended.
This article shall be known as the "Mount Vernon Noise Control Ordinance."
It is hereby declared to be the policy of the City of Mount Vernon to prevent excessive, unnecessary or unusually loud noise which may jeopardize the well-being or health or welfare of its citizens or degrade the quality of life. The provisions and prohibitions hereinafter contained and enacted are for the above-mentioned purpose.
All definitions used in this article, where applicable, shall be in conformance with the terminology of the American National Standards Institute. A copy of the American National Standards definitions shall be available at the City Clerk's office for public use. Unless otherwise indicated by context, the following terms and phrases shall have the meanings indicated:
A-WEIGHTED SOUND LEVEL
The sound-pressure level in decibels as measured on a sound-level meter using the A-weighing network and designated as db(A).
AMBIENT NOISE
The all-encompassing noise associated with a given environment, being usually a composite of sounds from many sources near and far.
AIR COMPRESSOR
A device which draws in air or gas, compresses it and delivers it at a higher pressure.
CONSTRUCTION
Any activity necessary or incidental to the erection, demolition, assembling, altering, installing or equipping of buildings, public or private highways, roads, premises, parks, utility lines or other property, including but not limited to related activities such as land clearing, grading, earthmoving, excavating, blasting, filling and landscaping.
CONSTRUCTION SITE
Any location, including land and water, where construction takes place.
CONTINUOUS SOUND
Any sound that is not an impulsive sound.
DECIBEL (DB)
A unit for measuring the volume of a sound, equal to the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of the pressure of the sound, and the quantities concerned are proportional to power (American National Standards Institute terminology).
DEVICE
Any machine, mechanism or equipment which is intended to or which actually produces sound or vibration.
DISCRETE TONE
A sound wave whose instantaneous sound pressure varies essentially as a simple sinusoidal function of time (American National Standards Institute terminology).
EXHAUST
A system which removes and transports air or gas from a device.
FREQUENCY
A function periodic in time which is the reciprocal of the period (American National Standards Institute terminology).
IMPULSIVE SOUND
A sound of short duration, usually less than one second and of high intensity, with an abrupt onset and rapid decay (American National Standards Institute terminology). Examples include an explosion or discharge of a firearm.
L10
The A-weighted sound level measured with slow response that is exceeded 10% of the time in any one-hour interval. The measurement time interval need not be one hour, provided that the measurement results are representative of a one-hour interval.
L90
The A-weighted sound level measured with slow response that is exceeded 90% of the time in any one-hour interval. The measurement time interval need not be one hour, provided that the measurement results are representative of a one-hour interval.
MAXIMUM GROSS WEIGHT
The weight of the vehicle unladen, plus the weight of the maximum load to be carried by such vehicle during the registration period or the maximum gross weight for which the vehicle is registered, whichever is greater (New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law).
MOTOR VEHICLE
Every vehicle operated or driven upon a public highway which is propelled by any power other than muscular power (New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law).
MUFFLER
A device for abating the sound of escaping gases of an internal combustion engine or other sound source.
NOISE-SENSITIVE ZONE
An area adjacent to a site, including but not limited to any authorized school, church, senior citizen center, day-care center or hospital, which requires specific noise limitations.
PAVING BREAKER
Any powered construction device that is designed to be used or is actually used to cut or trench pavement, subbase macadam, gravel, concrete or hard ground.
PERSON
Includes the singular and plural and also any person, firm, corporation, association, club, partnership, society or any other form of association or organization.
PUBLIC HIGHWAY
Any highway, road, street, avenue, alley, public place, public driveway or any other public way (New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law).
RAILROAD
A railroad operated for public use for conveying people or property for compensation, and includes all material and facilities used therewith.
RECREATIONAL VEHICLE
Any vehicle which is propelled by any power other than muscular power that is designed for or capable of cross-country travel, such as a motorcycle, trailbike or minibike. A "recreational vehicle" is also classed as a motor vehicle when such recreational vehicle is operated or driven upon a public highway. A snowmobile is any self-propelled vehicle designed for travel on snow or ice.
REFUSE-COLLECTING VEHICLE
Any motor vehicle designed to compact and transport refuse.
SOUND
An oscillation in pressure, stress, particle displacement or other physical parameter, in a medium with internal forces (American National Standards Institute terminology).
SOUND LEVEL
The weighted pressure level, measured by the use of a metering characteristic and the weighing A, B, C (American National Standards Institute terminology).
SOUND-LEVEL METER
An instrument, including a microphone, an amplifier, an output meter and frequency-weighing networks for the measurement of sound levels (American National Standards Institute terminology).
SOUND-REPRODUCTION DEVICE
Any device that is designed to be used or is actually used for the production or reproduction of sound, including but not limited to any musical instrument, radio, television, tape recorder, phonograph or any other sound-amplifying equipment.
SOUND SOURCE
Any activity or device that produces sound.
SOUND TRUCK
Any vehicle having mounted thereon or attached thereto sound-amplifying equipment.
ZONING DISTRICT
Any zone as defined in the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Mount Vernon.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 267, Zoning.
[Amended 7-12-1989; approved 7-13-1989]
A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to make, continue or cause to be made or continued any excessive, unnecessary or unusually loud noise.
B. 
The following acts are declared to be loud, disturbing and unnecessary noises in violation of this article, namely:
(1) 
Horns, signaling devices, etc.: the sounding of any horn or signaling device on any automobile, motorcycle, streetcar or other vehicle on any street or public place of the City, except as a danger warning; or the use of any signaling device or the use of any horn, whistle or other device operated by engine exhaust, except when such device is used to give notice of the time to stop and start work or school.
(2) 
Radios, phonographs, televisions, etc.: the using, operating or permitting to be played, used or operated of any radio receiving set, musical instrument, phonograph or other machine or device for the producing or reproducing of sound in such a manner as to unreasonably disturb the peace, quiet and comfort of the neighborhood inhabitants or at any time with louder volume than is necessary for convenient hearing for the person or persons who are in the room, vehicle or chamber in which such machine or device is operated and who are voluntary listeners thereto. The operation of any such set, instrument, phonograph, machine or device in such a manner as to be plainly audible at a distance of 50 feet from the source of the noise shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this section.
(3) 
Loudspeakers and amplifiers for advertising: the using, operating or permitting to be played, used or operated of any radio receiving set, musical instrument, phonograph, loudspeaker, sound amplifier or other machine or device for the producing or reproducing of sound for the purpose of commercial advertising or attracting the attention of the public to any building or structure.
(4) 
Yelling, shouting, etc.: yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling or singing on the public streets at any time or place so as to annoy or disturb the quiet, comfort or repose of persons in any office or in any dwelling, hotel or other type of residence or of any persons in the vicinity. Yelling and shouting clearly audible at a distance of 50 feet from the source of the noise shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this section.
(5) 
Animals, birds, etc.: the keeping of any animal or bird which, by causing frequent or long-continued noise, disturbs the peace, quiet and comfort of the neighborhood inhabitants. Animal or bird noises audible at a distance of 50 feet from the source of the noise shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this section.
(6) 
Air conditioning, air-handling devices and refrigeration units, including those on trucks, audible at a distance of 50 feet.
(7) 
Exhausts: the discharge into the open air of the exhaust of any steam engine, internal combustion engine or other motor, motorboat or motor vehicle, except through a muffler or other device which will effectively prevent loud or explosive noises therefrom.
(8) 
Defect in vehicle or load: the use of any automobile, motorcycle or vehicle so out of repair, so loaded or in such a manner as to create loud and unnecessary grating, grinding, rattling or other noise.
(9) 
Loading, unloading or opening boxes: the creation of any unreasonably loud and excessive noise in connection with loading or unloading any vehicle or the opening and destruction of bales, boxes, crates and containers.
(10) 
Construction or repairing of buildings: the erection (including excavation), demolition, alteration or repair of any building, including the use of any pile driver, steam shovel, pneumatic hammer, derrick, steam or electric hoist or other equipment, the use of which is attended by loud or unusual noise, other than between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on weekdays, except in case of urgent necessity in the interest of public health and safety and then only with a permit as provided for in § 178-4.14 or 178-4.15.
(11) 
Schools, courts, churches and hospitals: unless a permit has been issued pursuant to § 178-15, the creation of any excessive noise on any street adjacent to any school, institution of learning, church or court while the same is in use, or adjacent to any hospital, which unreasonably interferes with the workings of such institution or which disturbs or unduly annoys patients in the hospital, provided that conspicuous signs are displayed in such street indicating that the same is a school, hospital or court street.
(12) 
Hawkers and peddlers: the shouting and crying of peddlers, hawkers and vendors which disturbs the peace and quiet of the neighborhood. Shouting and crying audible at a distance of 50 feet from the source of the noise shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this section.
(13) 
Musical instruments: the use of any musical instrument or device for the purpose of attracting attention by the creation of noise to any performance, show or sale.
(14) 
Transportation of metal rails, pillars and columns: the transportation of rails, pillars or columns or iron, steel or other material over and along streets and other public places upon carts, trays, cars, trucks or in any other manner so loaded as to be audible at a distance of 50 feet from the source of the noise.
(15) 
Testing of car alarms: The testing of automobile alarms through the sounding of the alarm at an establishment for the installation or repair of automobile alarms located within 100 feet of a residential zoning district shall be prohibited, unless said testing occurs within a building in an area within said building which has no open windows or doors during the time of testing or unless a muffler has been attached to said car alarm so as to prevent the emanation of unreasonable noise which would disturb the quiet and comfort of the neighborhood inhabitants. Noise audible at a distance of 50 feet from the source of the noise shall constitute prima facie evidence of a violation of this section.
(16) 
The operation of any electric-powered motor or device, the operation of which causes unreasonable noise so as to disturb the peace, quiet and comfort of the neighborhood inhabitants. Noise audible at a distance of 50 feet from the source of the noise shall constitute prima facie evidence of a violation of this section.
[1]
Editors Note: Former § 178-4.1, which dealt with prohibitions, was repealed 7-12-1989, approved 7-13-1989. See now § 178-4, Prohibitions; enumeration of restricted noises.
[1]
Editors Note: Former § 178-4.2, which dealt with prohibitions, was repealed 7-12-1989, approved 7-13-1989. See now § 178-4, Prohibitions; enumeration of restricted noises.
A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to operate or cause to be operated on a public highway any motor vehicle or combination of vehicles at any time, under any condition of grade, load, acceleration or deceleration, in such a manner as to exceed the applicable A-weighted sound level set forth in this section. The maximum allowable sound levels are based on a sound level measured at, or adjusted to, a distance of 50 feet from the center of the lane in which the motor vehicle is traveling. These limits shall apply to the total sound level emitted.
B. 
This section shall not apply to authorized emergency vehicles.
Maximum Allowable A-Weighted Sound Levels
(Environmental Protection Agency Regulations)
Vehicle
Maximum Speed
35 mph or Less
Greater than 35 mph
Any motor vehicle or combination of vehicles with a maximum gross weight in excess of 10,000 pounds
86 db(A)
90 db(A)
Any motorcycle
82 db(A)
86 db(A)
Any other motor vehicle or combination of vehicles
76 db(A)
82 db(A)
It shall be unlawful for any person to operate or cause to be operated on a public highway any motor vehicle or combination of vehicles with a maximum gross weight in excess of 10,000 pounds and equipped with an engine speed governor which generates an A-weighted sound level in excess of 88 db(A), measured at, or adjusted to, a distance of 50 feet from the longitudinal center line of the vehicle, when its engine is accelerated from idle with a wide-open throttle to governed speed with the vehicle stationary, transmission in neutral and clutch engaged. (Environmental Protection Agency regulations.)
No person shall operate or permit to be operated a refuse-collecting vehicle which, when collecting or compacting, exceeds a sound level of 80 db(A) at a distance of 10 feet from any surface of the collecting or compacting unit.
No person shall operate or permit to be operated any recreational vehicle off a public highway at any time, at any speed or under any condition of grade, load, acceleration or deceleration or in any manner whatsoever, as to exceed the sound level limits set forth in the following tables for the specified date of manufacture. The limits shall apply at a distance of 50 feet from such recreational vehicle.
Recreational Vehicles
Sound Level Limit
Date of Manufacture
Displacement Less than 240cc
Displacement Greater than 240cc
6/1/1970 to 5/31/1973
89 db(A)
92 db(A)
6/1/1973 to 5/31/1978
87 db(A)
90 db(A)
6/1/1978 to 5/31/1983
83 db(A)
86 db(A)
6/1/1983 and after
76 db(A)
77 db(A)
Snowmobiles
Date of Manufacture
Sound Level Limit
6/1/1972 to 5/31/1975
82 db(A)
6/1/1975 to 5/31/1978
78 db(A)
6/1/1978 and after
73 db(A)
No person shall operate or permit to be operated any railroad locomotive, cars, any other rolling stock or equipment so as to cause a violation of the allowable sound levels adopted by the federal government.
No person shall operate or permit to be operated any aircraft so as to cause a violation of the Federal Aviation Administration's certified noise levels as presented in Advisory Circular 36-1 and/or in all future revisions and publications.
No person shall operate or permit to be operated an air-conditioning or air-handling device that exceeds the maximum sound-level limitations provided in this section.
A. 
In areas zoned residential, single-family or multiple-dwelling units, continuous sound in air which has crossed the property line shall not exceed 55 db(A) at any point.
B. 
The provisions of this section shall not apply if the sound from the air conditioner or air-handling device produces less than a five db(A) increase in the sound level that exists in the absence of such sound. (Provisions agree with recommendations of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute).
No person shall operate or permit to be operated an air compressor unless a muffler certified by the manufacturer of such muffler to provide a dynamic insertion loss of not less than 20 db(A) of the sound emitted from the exhaust of such compressor is installed on such exhaust.
No person shall operate or permit to be operated a paving breaker manufactured prior to December 31, 1974, other than one operated electrically or hydraulically, unless a muffler certified by the manufacturer of such muffler to provide a dynamic insertion loss of five db(A) of the sound emitted from the air exhaust of such paving breaker is installed on such air exhaust.
No person shall operate or permit to be operated a place of public entertainment, including but not limited to a restaurant, bar, cafe, discotheque or dance hall, in which the sound level is equal to or exceeds 95 db(A) for more than 30 seconds at the location of the spectators.
The sections and provisions of §§ 178-4.3 through 178-4.13 shall be revised or amended from time to time in order to be kept current with all updated federal and/or state noise level standards.
No person shall operate or permit to be operated in a zoning district, as defined in the Mount Vernon Zoning Ordinance,[1] any device that produces a sound level exceeding the limitations in this section. The measurement of any sound or noise shall be made with a sound-level meter using an A-scale decibel level. The measurement shall be conducted at the property line on which such noise is generated or perceived, whichever is appropriate, in a residential district, or at the boundary lines of the receiving land use district. The provisions of this section shall not apply to areas of federal preemptions.
A. 
Residential zoned district.
(1) 
During the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., noise levels within any residential zoned district shall not exceed 65 db(A) or an L10 in excess of 60 db(A).
(2) 
During the hours of 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m., noise levels within any residential zoned district shall not exceed 55 db(A) or an L10 in excess of 50 db(A).
(3) 
The sound levels specified in Subsection A(1) and (2) shall be decreased by five decibels if the sound contains impulsive or discrete tone characteristics.
B. 
Commercial zoned district. Noise levels within any commercial/retail zoned districts shall not exceed 65 db (A) or an L10 of 60 db(A).
C. 
Manufacturing zoned district.
(1) 
Noise levels within any manufacturing zoned districts shall not exceed 70 db(A) for a duration of 24 hours per day.
(2) 
At no point on the boundary of a residential zoned district shall the sound level of any manufacturing operation exceed the following L10 levels:
District
Measured
Level
M-1
At residential district boundary
60 db(A)
M-2
At residential district boundary
60 db(A)
M-3
At residential district boundary
65 db(A)
(3) 
At no point on the boundary of a commercial/retail district shall the sound level of any manufacturing operation exceed the following L10 levels:
District
Measured
Level
M-1, M-2, M-3
At commercial district boundary
65 db(A)
(4) 
Noise regulations for workers in manufacturing districts is regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
D. 
Construction sites. No person shall conduct or permit to be conducted activities, such as the erection, including excavation, demolition, alteration or repair, of any building other than between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on weekdays, except in the event of urgent necessity in the interest of safety and then only provided a permit in writing has been issued by the Commissioner of Buildings, in a manner as to produce a sound level exceeding the limitations in this section.
(1) 
Residential zoned districts. During the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekdays, noise levels from a construction site shall not exceed an L10 of 70 db(A) when measured at a distance of 400 feet from the construction site; during the hours of 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m., on weekends, noise levels shall not exceed an L10 of 55 db(A) when measured at a distance of 400 feet from the construction site.
(2) 
Commercial/retail zoned districts. During normal business hours, noise levels shall not exceed L10 of 75 db(A) when measured at a distance of 400 feet from the construction site; during other than normal business hours, noise levels shall not exceed an L10 of 80 db(A) when measured at a distance of 400 feet from the construction site.
(3) 
Manufacturing zoned districts. During a twenty-four-hour period, noise levels shall not exceed 80 db(A) when measured at the construction site boundary.
E. 
Noise-sensitive zones. No person shall cause or permit the creation of any unnecessary noise exceeding 55 db(A) on any street, sidewalk or public place adjacent to any school, church, senior citizen center or authorized day-care center while in use or adjacent to any hospital at any time.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 267, Zoning.
Applications for permits for relief from the noise level provisions of this article on the basis of undue hardship shall be made to the City Clerk of the City of Mount Vernon. Any permit granted shall contain all conditions upon which said permit has been granted, shall specify a reasonable time that the permit shall be effective and shall include a time schedule for the installation of noise abatement procedures or devices. In determining whether to grant a permit, the hardship of the applicant should be balanced against the adverse impact on the health, safety and welfare of the persons and property affected. A permit may be granted if it is found:
A. 
That additional time is necessary for the applicant to alter or modify his activity or operation to comply with this article; or
B. 
That no other reasonable alternative is available to the applicant; and
C. 
The activity, operation or noise source will be of temporary duration and cannot be done in a manner that would comply with this article.
A public hearing may be held if there is sufficient public interest concerning an application for a permit.
The provisions of this article shall be enforced by the Police Department of the City of Mount Vernon, and it shall have the power to:
A. 
Order any person to cease and desist from any activity which causes, or is conducted so as to cause, a violation of any provision of this article.
B. 
Seal any device, after obtaining the proper judicial order, which causes, or is maintained or operated so as to cause, a violation of any provision of this article.
[Amended 6-27-1984; 4-27-2005, approved 4-28-2005]
Any person violating any of the provisions of this article shall be deemed guilty of a violation and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined in an amount not exceeding $1,000 or be imprisoned for a period not exceeding 15 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Each day such violation is committed or permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense and shall be punishable as such.
The operation of vehicles and equipment used by the Department of Public Works in the performance of official duties shall be exempt from the requirements of this article until such time as vehicles and equipment capable of compliance are available and acquisition thereof is authorized by City Council.
If any provision of this article is held to be unconstitutional or invalid by any courts, the remaining provisions of this article shall not be invalidated.
[Adopted 11-13-1957 as Ch. 37 of the General Ordinances, approved 11-15-1957]
Whenever used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
SOUND-AMPLIFYING EQUIPMENT
Any machine or device for the amplification of the human voice, music or any other sound. "Sound-amplifying equipment" shall not be construed as including standard automobile radios when used and heard only by occupants of the vehicle in which installed, or warning devices on authorized emergency vehicles, or horns or other warning devices on other vehicles used only for traffic safety purposes.
SOUND TRUCK
Any motor vehicle or horse-drawn vehicle having mounted thereon or attached thereto any sound-amplifying equipment.
No person shall use or cause to be used a sound truck with its sound-amplifying equipment in operation for noncommercial purposes before filing a registration statement with the City Clerk in writing. This registration statement shall be filed in duplicate and shall state the following:
A. 
Name and home address of the applicant.
B. 
Address of place of business of applicant.
C. 
License number and motor number of the sound truck to be used by applicant.
D. 
Name and address of person who owns the sound truck.
E. 
Name and address of person having direct charge of sound truck.
F. 
Names and addresses of all persons who will use or operate the sound truck.
G. 
The purpose for which the sound truck will be used.
H. 
A general statement as to the section or sections of the City in which the sound truck will be used.
I. 
The proposed hours of operation of the sound truck.
J. 
The number of days of proposed operation of the sound truck.
K. 
A general description of the sound-amplifying equipment which is to be used.
L. 
The maximum sound-producing power of the sound-amplifying equipment to be used in or on the sound truck, including:
(1) 
The wattage to be used.
(2) 
The volume in decibels of the sound which will be produced.
(3) 
The approximate maximum distance to which sound will be thrown from the sound truck.
[Amended 10-11-1989, approved 10-12-1989]
The fee for filing the registration statement shall be $5 for each day of operation, but in no event shall a single registration be for more than five days of operation.
All persons using or causing to be used sound trucks for noncommercial purposes shall amend any registration statement filed pursuant to this article within 24 hours after any change in the information therein furnished.
The City Clerk shall return to each applicant one copy of said registration statement, duly certified by the City Clerk as a correct copy of said application. Said certified copy of the application shall be in the possession of any person operating the sound truck at all times while the sound truck's sound-amplifying equipment is in operation, and said copy shall be promptly displayed and shown to any policeman of the City upon request.
Noncommercial use of sound trucks with sound-amplifying equipment in operation shall be subject to the following regulations:
A. 
The only sounds permitted are music or human speech.
B. 
Operations are permitted for six hours each day, except on Sundays and legal holidays, when no operations of sound trucks shall be authorized. The permitted six hours of operation shall be between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. and between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
C. 
Sound-amplifying equipment shall not be operated unless the sound truck upon which such equipment is mounted is operated at a speed of at least 10 miles per hour except when said truck is stopped or impeded by traffic. Where stopped by traffic, said sound-amplifying equipment shall not be operated for longer than one minute at each stop.
D. 
Sound shall not be issued within 100 yards of any hospital, school, church or courthouse.
E. 
The human speech, music or other sound amplified shall not be profane, lewd, indecent or slanderous.
F. 
The volume of sound shall be controlled so that it will not be audible for a distance in excess of 100 yards from the sound truck and so that said volume is not unreasonably loud, raucous, jarring, disturbing or a nuisance to persons within the area of audibility.
G. 
No sound-amplifying equipment shall be operated with power in excess of 15 watts in the last stage of amplification.
No person shall operate or cause to be operated any sound truck for commercial sound-advertising purposes in the City of Mount Vernon, New York, with sound-amplifying equipment in operation.