Town of Johnston, RI
Providence County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 11-8-1999 by Ord. No. 1095 (Secs. 17-22.1 to 17-22.5 of the 1979 Code)]
The following acts, among others, are declared to be loud, disturbing and unnecessary noises in violation of the article, but this enumeration shall not be deemed to be exclusive, namely:
A. 
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 Town, except as a danger warning; the creation by means of any such signaling device of any unreasonably loud or harsh sound; and the sounding of any such device for an unnecessary and unreasonable period of time; the use of any signaling device except one operated by hand or electricity; the use of any horn, whistle or other device operated by engine exhaust; and the use of any such signaling device when traffic is for any reason held up.
B. 
Radios, phonographs, 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 to disturb the peace, quiet and comfort of the neighboring inhabitants or at any time with louder volume than is necessary for convenient hearing for the person who is in the room, vehicle or chamber in which such machine or device is operated and who is voluntarily listening thereto. The operation of any such set, instrument, phonograph, machine or device between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. in such a manner as to be plainly audible at a distance of 50 feet from the building, structure or vehicle in which it is located shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this section.
C. 
Loudspeakers, amplifiers for advertising. The using, operating of or permitting to be played, used or operated of any radio receiver set, musical instrument, phonograph, loudspeaker, sound amplifier, or other machine or other device for the producing or reproducing or sound which is broadcast upon the public streets for the purpose of commercial advertising or attracting the attention of the public to any building or structure.
D. 
Yelling, shouting, etc. Yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling, or singing on the public streets, particularly between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. or at any time or place so as to annoy or disturb the quiet, comfort, or repose of persons in any office, dwelling, hotel or other type of residence, or of any persons in the vicinity.
E. 
Animals, birds, etc. The keeping of any animal or bird which by causing frequent or long continued noise shall disturb the comfort or repose of any persons in the vicinity.
F. 
Steam whistles. The blowing of any locomotive steam whistle or steam whistles attached to any stationary boiler, except to give notice of the time to begin or stop work or as a warning of fire or danger, or upon the request of proper Town authorities.
G. 
Exhausts. The discharge into the open air of the exhaust of any steam engine, stationary internal combustion engine, motor boat, or motor vehicle, except through a muffler or other device which will effectively prevent loud or explosive noises therefrom.
H. 
Defect in vehicle or load. The use of any automobile, motorcycle or vehicle so out of repair, so loaded or in such condition as to create loud and unnecessary grating, grinding, rattling or other noise.
I. 
Loading, unloading, opening boxes. The creation of a loud and excessive noise in connection with loading or unloading any vehicle or the opening and destruction of bales, crates and containers.
J. 
Construction or repair of buildings. The erection (including excavation) demolition, alteration or repair of any building 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 from the Building Inspector, which permit may be granted for a period not to exceed three days or less while the emergency continues, and which permit may be renewed for periods of three days or less while the emergency continues. If the Building Inspector should determine that the public health and safety will not be impaired by the erection, demolition, alteration or repair of any building or the excavation of streets and highways within the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., and if he further determines that loss or inconvenience would result to any party in interest, he may grant permission for such work to be done within the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., upon application being made at the time the permit for the work is awarded or during the progress of the work.
K. 
Schools, courts, churches, hospitals. The creation of any excessive noise on any street adjacent to any school, institution of learning, church or court while the school, institution of learning, church or court are 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 the conspicuous signs are displayed in such streets indicating that the same is a school, hospital or court street.
L. 
Hawkers, peddlers. The shouting and crying of peddlers, hawkers and vendors which disturbs the peace and quiet of the neighborhood.
M. 
Drums. The use of any drum or other instrument or device for the purpose of attracting attention by creation of noise to any performance, show or sale.
N. 
Metal rails, pillars and columns, transportation thereof. The transpiration of rails, pillars or columns of iron, steel, or other material, over and along streets and other public places upon carts, trays, cars, trucks, or in other manner so loaded as to cause loud noises or as to disturb the peace and quiet of such streets or other public places.
O. 
Street railway cars, operation thereof. The causing, permitting or continuing of any excessive, unnecessary and avoidable noise in the operation of a street railway car.
P. 
Pile drivers, hammers, etc. The operation between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. of any pile driver, steam shovel, pneumatic hammer, derrick, steam or electric hoist or other appliance, the use of which is attended by loud or unusual noise.
Q. 
Blowers. The operation of any noise-creating blower or power fan or any internal combustion engine, the operation of which causes noise due to the explosion of operating gases or fluids, unless the noise from such blower or fan is muffled and such engine is equipped with a muffler device sufficient to deaden such noise.
It shall be unlawful for any person to play, use, operate or permit to be played, used or operated any radio receiving set, musical instrument, phonograph or other machine or device for the production or reproduction of sound, including but not limited to any stereo, radio, musical instrument or other noise making device for the producing or reproducing of sound within a motor vehicle, with louder volume than is necessary for convenient hearing of the person so playing, using or operating such instrument or device and such persons who are voluntarily listeners thereto or in such manner as to disturb the peace, quiet and comfort of neighboring inhabitants; provided that nothing contained in this article shall prohibit playing by a band or orchestra in a hall, building or in the open air.
A. 
For the purpose of this section, certain words and phrases used in this article are defined as follows:
A BAND LEVEL
The total sound level of all noise as measured with a sound level meter using the A weighting network. The unit of measurement is the 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.
BAND PRESSURE LEVEL OF SOUND FOR A SPECIFIED FREQUENCY BAND
The sound pressure level for the sound contained within the restricted band. The reference pressure must be specified.
CYCLE
The complete sequences of values of a periodic quantity that occur during a period.
DECIBEL
One-tenth of a bel is a unit of level when the base of the logarithm is the 10th root of 10, and the quantities concerned are proportional to power.
EMERGENCY WORK
Work made necessary to restore property to a safe condition following a public calamity or work required to protect persons or property from an imminent exposure to danger.
FREQUENCY OF A FUNCTION PERIODIC IN TIME
The reciprocal of the primitive period. The unit is the cycle per unit and must be specified.
MICROBAR
A unit of pressure commonly used in acoustics and is equal to one dyne per square centimeter.
PERIODIC QUANTITY
An oscillating quantity, the values of which recur for equal increments of time.
PERIOD OF A PERIODIC QUANTITY
The smallest increment of time for which the function repeats itself.
PERSON
Any person or a person's firm, association, copartnership, joint venture, corporation of any entity public or private in nature.
SOUND ANALYZER
A device for measuring the bank pressure level or pressure spectrum level of a sound as a function of frequency.
SOUND LEVEL METER
An instrument including a microphone, an amplifier, an output meter, and frequency weighting networks for the measurement of noise and sound levels in a specified manner.
SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL IN DECIBELS OF SOUND
Twenty times the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of the pressure of this sound to the reference pressure, which reference pressure must be explicitly stated.
SPECTRUM
A function of time, and is a description of its resolution into components, each of different frequency and usually of different amplitude and phase; also used to signify continuous range of components each of different frequency and usually of different amplitude and phase; and also used to signify continuous range of components usually wide in extent within which waves have some specified characteristics such as audio-frequency spectrum. It is also applied to functions of variables other than time.
B. 
All technical definitions are in accordance with American Standards S1.1-1960, entitled “Acoustical Terminology.”
The standards which shall be considered in determining whether a violation of § 224-2 exists shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:
A. 
The volume of the noise;
B. 
The intensity of the noise;
C. 
Whether the nature of the noise is usual or unusual;
D. 
Whether the origin of the noise is natural or unnatural;
E. 
The volume or intensity of the background noise, if any;
F. 
The proximity of the noise to residential sleeping facilities;
G. 
The nature and zoning of the area within which the noise emanates;
H. 
The density of inhabitation of the area within which the noise emanates;
I. 
The time of the day or night the noise occurs;
J. 
The duration of the noise;
K. 
Whether the noise is recurrent, intermittent or constant;
L. 
Whether the noise is produced by a commercial or noncommercial activity.
It is unlawful to project a sound or noise, excluding noise emanating from cars, trucks or motorcycles, from one property into another, within the boundary of a use district which exceeds either the limiting noise spectra set forth in Table I below, or exceeds the ambient noise level by more than three decibels.
A. 
Sound or noise projecting from one use district into another use district with a different noise level limit shall not exceed the limits of the district into which the noise projected.
B. 
Measurement of noise.
(1) 
The measurement of sound or noise shall be made with a sound level meter and octave band analyzer meeting the standards prescribed by the American Standards Association. The instruments shall be maintained in calibration and good working order. Octave band corrections may be employed in meeting the response specification. A calibration check shall be made of the system at the time of any noise measurement. Measurements recorded shall be taken so as to provide a proper representation of the noise source. The microphone during the measurement shall be positioned so as not to create any unnatural enhancement or diminution of the measured noise. A windscreen for the microphone shall be used when required. Traffic, aircraft and other transportation noise sources and other background noises shall not be considered in taking measurements except when such background noise interferes with the primary noise being measured.
(2) 
The above meter response of the noise level meter shall be used in order to best determine that average amplitude has not exceeded the limiting noise spectra set forth in Table I.
(3) 
The measurement shall be made at the property line of the property on which noise is generated, or perceived, as appropriate, five feet above ground.
(4) 
In the case of an elevated or directional sound or noise source, compliance with the noise limits is to be maintained at any elevation at the boundary.
C. 
The limits referred to in this section shall be in accordance with Table I:
Table I
Zoning District Noise Standards
Maximum Allowable Octave Bank Sound Pressure Levels
Residential
Residential Industrial
Octave Band Center Frequency or All Measurement
Daytime
All Other Times
Daytime
All Other Times
Business Any Time
Industrial Any Time
31.5
76
68
79
72
79
83
63
75
67
78
71
78
83
125
69
61
72
65
73
77
250
62
52
68
57
68
73
500
56
46
62
51
62
67
1,000
50
40
56
45
56
61
2,000
45
33
51
39
51
57
4,000
40
28
47
43
47
53
8,000
38
26
44
32
44
50
Single number equivalent
60 dB(A)
50 dB(A)
65 dB(A)
55 dB(A)
65 dB(A)
70 dB(A)
D. 
If the noise is not smooth and continuous, one or more of the corrections in Table II shall be added to or subtracted from each of the decibel levels given in Table I of Subsection C of this section.
Table II
Type of Operation in Character
Noise source operated less than 20% of any one-hour period: plus 5 dB(A)
Noise source operated less than 5% of any one-hour period: plus 10 dB(A)
Noise source operated less than 1% of any one-hour period: plus 15 dB(A)
Noise of impulsive character (hammering, etc.): minus 5
E. 
If the noise occurs between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. on Monday through Saturday, or at any time on Sunday or holidays, seven shall be subtracted from each of the decibel levels given in Table I.
It shall be unlawful to operate a motorized vehicle within the Town limits which creates a noise or sound that exceeds the noise level limits set out in Table III:
Table III
Limiting Noise Levels for Motor Vehicles
Trucks and buses:
Over 10,000 pounds:
87 dB(A) measured at 50-feet maximum allowable limit
93 dB(A) measured at 25-feet maximum allowable limit
Under 10,000 pounds:
80 dB(A) measured at 50-feet maximum allowable limit
86 dB(A) measured at 25-feet maximum allowable limit
Passenger cars:
78 dB(A) measured at 50-feet maximum allowable limit
84 dB(A) measured at 25-feet maximum allowable limit
Motorcycle; including other vehicles:
87 dB(A) measured at 50-feet maximum allowable limit
93 dB(A) measured at 25-feet maximum allowable limit
The measurement of sound or noise shall be made with a sound level meter and octave band analyzer meeting the standards prescribed by the American Standards Association.
A. 
The instruments shall be maintained in calibration and good working order.
B. 
Octave band corrections may be employed in meeting the response specification.
C. 
A calibration check shall be made of the system at the time of any noise measurement.
D. 
Measurements recorded shall be taken so as to provide a proper representation of the noise source. The microphone during measurement shall be positioned so as not to create any unnatural enhancement or diminution of the measured noise. A windscreen for the microphone shall be used when required. Traffic, aircraft and other transportation noise sources and other background noises shall not be considered in taking measurements except where such background noise interferes with the primary noise being measured.
A. 
It shall be unlawful to sustain in any enclosed place of public entertainment, including but not limited to restaurant, bar, cafe, discotheque, or dance hall, any amplitude equal to or in excess of 95 dB(A) sustained for more than 30 seconds.
B. 
Such sound or noise is to be measured by a sound level meter approved by the American Standards Association from any area to which the public is invited within any enclosed place of public entertainment.
It shall be unlawful for any person to operate or cause to be operated any type of aircraft over the Town which produces noise level exceeding 87 dB(A) within the Town.
The following uses and activities shall be exempt from noise level regulations:
A. 
Noises of safety signals, warning devices, and emergency pressure relief valves;
B. 
Noises resulting from any authorized emergency vehicles, when responding to an emergency call or acting in time of emergency;
C. 
Noises resulting from emergency work as defined in § 224-4A of this article;
D. 
Any other noise resulting from activities of a temporary duration permitted by law and for which a license or permit has been granted by the Town in accordance with § 224-12 of this article;
E. 
Any aircraft operated in conformity with or pursuant to federal law, federal air regulations, and air traffic control instruction used pursuant to and within the duly adopted federal air regulations shall be exempt from the provisions of § 224-10 of this article as well as the other regulations of this article. Any aircraft operating under technical difficulties, in any kind of distress, under emergency orders of air traffic control or being operated pursuant to and subsequent to the declaration of an emergency under federal air regulations shall also be exempt from the provisions of § 224-10 of this article as well as the other regulations of this article.
A. 
Application for a permit for relief from the noise level designated in this article on the basis of undue hardship may be made to the Town Council or its duly authorized representative.
B. 
Any permit granted by the Town Council hereunder shall contain all conditions upon which such permit has been granted and shall specify a reasonable time that the permit shall be effective.
C. 
The Town Council or its duly authorized representative may grant the relief as applied for if it finds:
(1) 
The additional time is necessary for the applicant to alter or modify his activity or operation to comply with this article; or
(2) 
The activity, operation or noise source will be of temporary duration, and cannot be done in a manner that would comply with other sections of this article; and
(3) 
That no other reasonable alternative is available to the applicant.
D. 
The Town Council may prescribe any conditions or requirements it deems necessary to minimize adverse effects upon the community or the surrounding neighborhood.
A. 
The Johnston Police Department is hereby charged with the responsibility of enforcing the provisions of this article and issuing citations for its violation. The Johnston Municipal Court is empowered to adjudicate all violations of this article.
B. 
Any person, including a police officer, may be a complainant for the purposes of instituting action for violation of this article.
Any person found guilty of violating the provisions of this article shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of $50 for a first offense. However, for a second violation and any subsequent violations, a person upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of $150.