[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Newburgh 2-24-1992 by L.L. No. 1-1992. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Town of Newburgh Noise and Illumination Control Law."
It is hereby declared to be the policy of the Town of Newburgh to safeguard the right of its residents within the privacy of their residences to be free from intrusive unwanted sounds and lights. Problems concerning the disturbance of peace, quiet and tranquillity by noise and light from various sources and activities are best solved by thoughtful discussions and cooperative agreements between affected parties. However, to resolve remaining problems of noise and light which are disturbing to others, it is the policy of the Town of Newburgh and the purpose of this chapter to establish standards, variance procedures, enforcement procedures and penalties.
As used in this chapter, the following terms and phrases shall have the following meanings:
- DECIBEL (DB)
- A unit for measuring the volume of sound, equal to 20 times the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of the sound pressure of the measured sound to a standard pressure of 20 micronewtons per square meter.
- The lighting or floodlighting outside the confines of a structure, by means of electricity or the combustion of gases or liquids, of an area, object or structure.
- The sound-pressure level measured in decibels with a sound-level meter set to A-weighting, expressed in dB(A).
- SOUND LEVEL METER
- An instrument for the measurement of sound levels which conforms to Type 1 or Type 2 standards under ANSI Specification S1.4-1971 or the latest approved revision thereof.
- SOUND-REPRODUCTION DEVICE
- Any electronic or electrical device that is used for the production of sound, including but not limited to any loudspeaker, radio, television, tape recorder or player, phonograph or any other sound-amplifying equipment.
- UNREASONABLY INTRUSIVE
- Any sound or light which either annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of a reasonable person of normal sensitivities under the circumstances.
No person shall perform the following acts so as to produce sound or noise at a sound level exceeding the limitations set forth in § 125-5:
No person shall install any source of illumination or permit any source of illumination to be installed on his property in such a manner that the direct rays therefrom are cast upon any residential property other than the lot on which such illumination is installed or otherwise violate the standards for illumination set forth in § 125-8.
No person shall cause or permit the engine of a motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating in excess of 10,000 pounds, other than an authorized emergency or public utility motor vehicle, to idle for longer than five minutes while said motor vehicle is stationary on private property unless the engine is used to operate a loading, unloading or operating device.
No person shall perform any act, including installing any device or outdoor light, which produces unreasonably intrusive sound, noise or light. Operation of any sound-reproduction device between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 7:00 a.m. in such manner as to be plainly audible on adjacent properties shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this subsection.
Sound from an exterior burglar alarm of any building or motor vehicle shall terminate within 15 minutes after it has been activated.
Except for noise emanating from the operation of motor vehicles on public highways and private roads, the permissible intensity of noise for the foregoing between the hours from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and from 10:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m., respectively, whether such noise is intermittent, impulsive, sporadic or continuous, is as follows. The maximum sound-pressure level [A-scale reading of standard calibrated sound meter, instrument calibration frequency of 100 cycles per second (hertz)]:
The measurement of any sound or noise shall be made with a sound-level meter using the A-weighted scale and slow response, except for sounds or noises which occur in single or multiple bursts with a duration of less than one second, for which fast response shall be used. The sound level determination or measurement shall be conducted not nearer to the sound source than the closest property line of the parcel on which such noise is generated, except where otherwise specified.
Noise emanating from the operation of motor vehicles on public highways is regulated by the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law. The maximum noise levels set forth in the Vehicle and Traffic Law for the operation of motor vehicles on public highways, as they may be amended from time to time, are hereby designated to be the maximum permissible noise levels for the operation of motor vehicles on all private roads in the Town of Newburgh. When operated on other property, motor vehicles must conform to the standards set forth in § 125-5.
Upon the trial of any persons charged with creating unreasonably loud, disturbing and unnecessary noise in violation of this chapter, the court may admit evidence of sound-pressure levels in decibels as shown by a standard calibrated sound meter. For the purpose of this section, evidence that noise exceeding the maximum sound-pressure levels in decibels, as provided in § 125-5 hereof, may be admitted as prima facie evidence that the noise was in violation of this chapter.
The area of brilliance, character, color, degree, density, intensity, location and type of illumination shall be the minimum necessary to provide for the security of the property and the safety and welfare of the public.
All sources of illumination on nonpublic property, including the lighting of signs, shall be shielded or directed in such a manner that the direct rays therefrom are not cast upon any property used for residential purposes, other than the lot on which such illumination is situated.
Illumination shall be steady in nature, not flashing, moving or changing in brilliance, color or intensity, excluding the lighting of signs conveying information, such as time and temperature.
The duration, period or time of illumination of nonresidential premises shall be the minimum necessary to provide for the security of the property and the safety and welfare of the public. For nonresidential premises open to the public, illumination shall be extinguished, except that necessary for the security of the property and safety of persons thereon, one hour after the premises are closed to the public.
Illumination connected or used with a sign or otherwise which competes for attention with or may be mistaken for a traffic signal or creates a distractive hazard to traffic by glare or movement is prohibited.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the production of music and light in connection with any military or civic parade, holiday festival or decoration, funeral procession or religious service.
This chapter shall not be construed to prohibit the use of any organ, bell, chimes or any other similar instrument or device by any church, synagogue or school on or within its own premises in connection with religious rites or ceremonies of such church or synagogue or in connection with a school education program.
For sound-reproduction devices used in connection with weddings or other religious or civil ceremonies on any property used for residential purposes, sound levels in excess of those permitted in § 125-5 and prohibited in § 125-4D are allowed, provided that sound levels in excess of those permitted in § 125-5 cease by 12:30 a.m.
Sounds created by customary residential activities, including social gatherings, and sounds created by operation of domestic tools such as lawn mowers, leaf blowers or chain saws, delivery of residential heating oil, pickup of garbage and engine tune-up activities during the period 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. The following are exempted from the limitations of this chapter:
Sounds and light created by agricultural activities are exempted from the limitations of this chapter.
Sounds created by construction activities during the period from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. are exempted from the limitations of this chapter.
Sounds and light created by any governmental agency by the use of public warning devices are exempted from the limitations of this chapter.
Sounds created by public utilities in carrying out the operations of their franchise are exempted from the limitations of this chapter.
Sounds and light connected with sporting events and celebrations of any public school or with municipal athletic fields and parks and sounds connected with special events or sports programs sponsored or permitted by the Town Recreation Department are exempted from the limitations of this chapter.
Sounds and light connected with activities and equipment of the Town of Newburgh are exempted from the limitations of this chapter.
Safety signs, public road signs, streetlights and traffic direction signs and signals are exempted from the provisions of this chapter.
Sounds and light created by aircraft are regulated by the Federal Aviation Act and the regulations promulgated thereunder and are exempted from the provisions of this chapter. Sounds and light created by aircraft engines in connection with activities other than the operation and maintenance of aircraft, including but not limited to educational activities, however, are subject to the provisions of this chapter.
Where there are practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships in the way of carrying out the strict letter of this chapter, the Town Zoning Board of Appeals shall have the power in passing upon a petition for a variance duly made pursuant to Subsection E by owners of properties which would be in violation of other sections of this chapter to vary or modify the application of any of the regulations or provisions of this chapter so that the spirit of this chapter shall be observed, the public health, safety and welfare secured and substantial justice done.
No variation or adjustment in the strict application of any regulations or provisions of this chapter shall be granted by the Town Zoning Board of Appeals unless it finds that:
The applicant has demonstrated good and sufficient cause for the granting of a variance. Such demonstration shall be founded upon a fair consideration of the circumstances present pertinent to the petition, including but not limited to:
The social utility of the use or activity for which a variance is sought.
The nature and degree of observed variance from prescribed standards that results from such use or activity.
The impact of such use or activity on other residents and properties.
The nature and cost of available measures that may be taken to mitigate the impact of such use or activity.
There are unique or special circumstances or conditions, fully described in the findings of the Town Zoning Board of Appeals, applying to the activity or to the use of land, property or facilities for which the variance is sought which warrant the granting of the variance on the grounds of practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship.
The granting of a variance is necessary to enable the applicant to conduct the activity or use for which a variance is sought without unreasonable burden or restriction and the variance as granted by the Town Zoning Board of Appeals is the minimum adjustment that will accomplish such purpose.
The granting of the variance will be in harmony with the general purposes and intent of this chapter, will not be injurious to the community or any neighborhood or otherwise detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare and will not be in conflict with other laws or ordinances or inconsistent with the Comprehensive Master Plan of the Town.
The Town Zoning Board of Appeals, in passing upon a petition for a variance under this chapter, may limit the effective period of any variance granted and may impose upon the grant or operation of any variance such conditions in furtherance of the public interest as the Town Zoning Board of Appeals finds necessary or appropriate.
The Town Zoning Board of Appeals shall retain continuing jurisdiction over and with respect to any variance granted under this chapter, and it shall have the fullest powers and authority allowed by law to review, rehear, modify, reverse or annul, for good cause shown, any order, resolution, decision or determination made with respect to a petition for or the granting of a variance under this chapter. No such review, reconsideration or action shall be taken except upon and after notice and hearing as provided in Subsection F and G.
All such appeals shall be in writing on forms prescribed by the Town Zoning Board of Appeals and which appeal or application shall refer to the specific provisions of this chapter and shall exactly set forth the details of the variance that is applied for and the grounds on which it is claimed that the same should be granted. Any petition for a variance shall also identify all practical steps which have been taken or which are proposed to be taken by the applicant to reduce the noise or light.
Notice of hearing. Notice of any hearing shall be published by the Town Zoning Board of Appeals in the official newspaper of the Town, or if none, a newspaper of general circulation in the Town, at least five days prior to the date of said hearing. In addition to publication, the notice shall be subject to the same mailing and posting requirements established for hearings by the Zoning Board of Appeals in § 185-55 of Chapter 185. The applicant shall be responsible for the cost of publication, posting and mailing of such notice.
[Amended 4-1-2013 by L.L. No. 2-2013]
Hearing. The Town Zoning Board of Appeals shall conduct a public hearing on any application made pursuant to this chapter. At such public hearing all those present and wishing to be heard shall be given an opportunity to be heard.
Proper filing of an application for a variance within 120 days after the date this chapter becomes effective shall exempt the applicant from the specific provisions of this chapter from which a variance is being sought for a period commencing on the date of filing of the application and ending on the date the Town Zoning Board of Appeals rules on the application.
The provisions of this chapter shall in no case remove or render less restrictive limitations on noise generation, illumination or other conditions imposed for specific properties by actions of the Town of Newburgh Zoning Board of Appeals or by actions of the Town of Newburgh Planning Board or required under other applicable laws or regulations.
The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by the Police Department, the Town Building Inspector and other officials designated by the Town Board. The Supervisor shall have authority to designate which department or official has enforcement authority over particular types of violations of this chapter.
[Amended 11-6-1995 by L.L. No. 7-1995]
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be deemed guilty of an offense and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not exceeding $250 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 15 days, or both. Each day that a violation shall continue shall constitute a separate offense. The owners of premises upon which prohibited acts occur shall be jointly and severally liable for violations of this chapter.