[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Alpha 6-22-2004 by Ord. No. 04-19. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Alarm systems — See Ch. 125.
It is the policy of the Borough of Alpha, County of Warren, State of New Jersey, to prevent excessive sound that may jeopardize the health, welfare or safety of the citizens or degrade the quality of life. This chapter shall apply to the control of sound originating from either stationary or moving sources within the limits of the Borough of Alpha.
The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation of this chapter:
- COMMERCIAL AREA
- A group of commercial facilities and the abutting public rights-of-way and public spaces.
- COMMERCIAL FACILITY
- Any premises, property or facility involving traffic in goods or furnishing of services for sale or profit, including but not limited to:
- Any site preparation, assembly, erection, repair, alteration or similar action, but excluding demolition of buildings or structures.
- DECIBEL (dB)
- Practical unit of measurement for sound-pressure level; the number of decibels of a measured sound is equal to 20 times the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of the sound pressure of the measured sound to the sound pressure of a standard sound (20 micropascals); abbreviated "dB."
- Any dismantling, intentional destruction or removal of buildings and structures.
- EMERGENCY WORK
- Any work or action necessary to deliver essential services, including but not limited to repairing water, gas, electricity, telephone, sewer facilities or public transportation facilities, removing fallen trees on public rights-of-way or abating life-threatening conditions.
- INDUSTRIAL FACILITY
- Any activity and its related premises, property, facilities or equipment involving the fabrication, manufacture or production of durable or nondurable goods.
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- Any vehicle that is propelled or drawn on land by an engine or motor.
- A sound-dissipative device or system for abating the sound of escaping gasses of an internal combustion engine.
- MULTI-DWELLING-UNIT BUILDING
- Any building wherein there are two or more dwelling units.
- Any sounds 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 Borough 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
- The Noise Control Officer designated as the official liaison with all municipal departments, empowered to grant permits for variances.
- NOISE CONTROL OFFICER
- An officially designated employee of the Borough, of a group of municipalities or of the county, trained in the measurement of sound and empowered to issue a summons for violation of this chapter.
- NOISE DISTURBANCE
- Any sound that endangers the safety or health of any person or disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivities or endangers personal or real property.
- Any individual, corporation, company, association, society, firm, partnership, joint-stock company, the state or any political subdivision, agency or instrumentality of the state.
- 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 are owned, leased or controlled by a governmental entity.
- REAL PROPERTY LINE
- Either the imaginary line, including its vertical extension, that separates one parcel of real property from another or the vertical and horizontal boundaries of a dwelling unit that is one in a multi-dwelling-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 the following:
- SOUND LEVEL
- The sound-pressure level measured in decibels with a sound-level meter set for A-weighting; sound level is expressed in dBA.
- SOUND-LEVEL METER
- An instrument used to measure sound level and which conforms to Type 1 or Type 2 standards as specified by ANSI Specification S1.4-1971.
- Any day, Monday through Friday, that is not a legal holiday.
The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by a Noise Control Officer or Administrator so designated by the Mayor, and it may also be enforced by the Warren County Health Department and the Police Department in the manner provided by law for violations of this chapter or other ordinances prohibiting certain conduct.
The Noise Control Officers shall have the power to:
Coordinate the noise-control activities of all municipal departments and cooperate with all other public bodies and agencies to the extent practicable.
Review the actions of other municipal departments and advise such departments of the effect, if any, of such actions on noise control.
Review public and private projects, subject to mandatory review or approval by other departments or boards, for compliance with this chapter.
All departments and agencies of the Borough of Alpha shall carry out their programs according to law and shall cooperate with the Noise Control Officers in the implementation and enforcement of this chapter.
All departments charged with new projects or changes to existing projects that may result in the production of noise shall consult with the Noise Control Officers prior to the approval of such projects to ensure that such activities comply with the provisions of this chapter.
No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit the operation of any source of sound 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 particular sound level limits set forth in Table 1 below when measured at or within the real property line of the receiving property, except as provided in Subsection B. When measuring noise within a dwelling unit of a multi-dwelling-unit building, all exterior doors and windows shall be closed, and the measurements shall be taken in the center of the room.
The following are exempt from the sound-level limits of Table 1:
Noise from domestic power tools, lawn mowers and agricultural equipment when operated with a muffler between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on weekdays and 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on weekends and legal holidays, provide that they produce less than 85 dBA at or within any real property line of a residential property.
Sound from church bells and church chimes when a part of a religious observance or service.
Noise from construction activity, provided that all motorized equipment used in such activity is equipped with functioning mufflers.
Noise from snowblowers, snow throwers and snow plows when operated with a muffler for the purpose of snow removal.
Noise from stationary emergency signaling devices that conform to the provisions of N.J.A.C. 7:29.
Noise from an exterior burglar alarm of any building or motor vehicle, provided such burglar alarm shall terminate its operation within 15 minutes after it has been activated.
Unnecessary noise. It shall be unlawful for any person to make, continue, suffer, permit, allow or cause to be made or continued, upon any premises or in any vehicle owned, occupied or controlled by him or upon any public street, thoroughfare or parking lot or in any public park, playground, gathering place or means of public transportation, any excessive, unnecessary or unusually loud noise which either annoys, injures, disturbs or endangers the comfort, health, repose, peace or safety of others within the Borough or which are so harsh, prolonged or unusual in their use, time and place as to annoy, disturb or endanger the comfort, health, repose, peace or safety of others in the Borough. Loud, disturbing, injurious, unnecessary and unlawful noises in violation of this subsection include but are not limited to the following enumerated acts:
Owning, possessing or harboring any pet animal or pet bird that frequently or for continued duration makes sounds that create a noise disturbance. For the purpose of this section, a "noise disturbance from a barking dog" shall be defined as that created by a dog barking continually for 10 minutes or intermittently for 30 minutes, unless provoked.
Yelling, shouting, whistling or singing in public, particularly between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., or at any time or place, which annoys or disturbs the quiet, comfort or repose of persons in any home, office, dwelling, hotel, motel or other type of residence or of any persons in the vicinity.
The sounding of a horn or warning device on an automobile, motorcycle, bus or other vehicle for a period of 30 seconds or more except when required by law or when necessary to give timely warning of the approach of the vehicle or as warning of impending danger to persons driving other vehicles or to persons on the street.
Personal or commercial vehicular music amplification or reproduction equipment shall not be operated upon the public streets of the Borough of Alpha in such a manner that it is plainly audible at any residential property line between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.
Personal vehicular music amplification equipment shall not be operated in such a manner as to be plainly audible at a distance of 50 feet in any direction from the operator between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Self-contained, portable, handheld music or sound amplification or reproduction equipment shall not be operated on a public space or public right-of-way in such a manner as to be plainly audible at a distance of 50 feet in any direction from the operator between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., sound from such equipment shall not be plainly audible by any person other than the operator.
No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit the following acts:
Loudspeakers and public address system. Using or operating any loudspeaker, public address system or similar device between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. in the following day such that the sound therefrom creates a noise disturbance across a residential real property line.
Loading and unloading. 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 the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day when the latter is a weekday, and between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day whether the latter is a legal holiday or a weekend day, except by permit, when the sound therefrom creates a noise disturbance across a residential real property line.
Standing motor vehicles. Operating or permitting the operation of any motor vehicle whose manufacturer's gross weight 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 (46 meters) of a residential area between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. of the following day.
Construction and demolition. Operating or permitting the operation of any tools or equipment used in construction, drilling, earthmoving, excavating or demolition work between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day on weekdays or at any time on weekends or legal holidays, provided that such equipment is equipped with a functioning muffler except for emergency work, by variance issued pursuant to § 265-8 or when the sound level does not exceed any applicable limit specified in Table 1.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to:
The emission of sound for the purpose of alerting persons to the existence of an emergency.
The emission of sound in the performance of emergency work.
The emission of sound in situations within the jurisdiction of the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Noise from municipally sponsored or approved celebration or events.
Any person who owns or operates any stationary noise source may apply to the Noise Control Administrator for a variance from one or more of the provisions of this chapter. Applications for a permit of variance shall supply information, including but not limited to the following:
The nature and location of the noise source for which such application is made.
The reason for which the permit of variance is requested, including the hardship that will result to the applicant, his/ or her client or the public if the permit of variance is not granted.
The nature and intensity of noise that will occur during the period of the variance.
The section or sections of this chapter for which the permit of variance shall apply.
A description of interim noise control measures to be taken by the applicant to minimize noise and the impacts occurring therefrom.
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.
Failure to supply the information required by the Noise Control Administrator shall be cause for rejection of the application.
A copy of the permit of variance must be kept on file by the Municipal Clerk for public inspection.
The Noise Control Administrator may charge the applicant in accordance with local ordinance a fee to cover expenses resulting from the processing of the permit of variance application.
The Noise Control Administrator may, at his or her discretion, limit the duration of the permit of variance, which shall be no longer than one year. Any person holding a permit of variance and requesting an extension of time shall apply for a new permit of variance under the provisions of this section.
No variance shall be approved unless the applicant presents adequate proof that noise levels occurring during the period of the variance will not constitute a danger to the public health and that compliance with this chapter would impose an arbitrary or unreasonable hardship upon the applicant without equal or greater benefits to the public.
In making the determination on granting a variance, the Noise Control Administrator shall consider the following:
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.
The social and economic value of the activity for which the variance is sought.
The ability of the applicant to apply best practical noise control measures.
The permit of variance may be revoked by the Noise Control Administrator if the terms of the permit of variance are violated.
A variance may be revoked by the Noise Control Administrator if there is a violation of one or more conditions of the variance, material misrepresentation of fact in the variance application or material change in any of the circumstances relied upon by the Noise Control Administrator in granting the variance.
Issuance of summons. Violation of any provision of this chapter shall be cause for a summons to be issued by the Noise Control Officer according to procedures set forth in N.J.A.C. 7:29B or by a police officer.
Abatement orders. Except as provided in Subsection C below, in lieu of issuing a summons as provided herein, the Noise Control Officer may issue an order requiring abatement of any source of sound alleged to be in violation of this chapter within a reasonable time period and according to guidelines which the Noise Control Officer may prescribe.
An abatement order shall not be issued if any person willfully or knowingly violates any provision of this chapter or the Noise Control Officer has reason to believe that there will not be compliance with the abatement order.
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be subject to penalty for each offense of not more than $500, except as provided in Subsection D(2) below.
Any person who willfully or knowingly violates any provision of this chapter shall be subject to a penalty for each offense of a sum of not less than $50 and not more than $500.
If the violation is of a continuing nature, each day during which it occurs shall constitute an additional, separate and distinct offense.
Other remedies. No provision of this chapter shall be construed to impair any common law or statutory cause of action, or legal remedy therefrom, of any person for injury or damage arising from any violation of this chapter or from other law.