City of Hagerstown, MD
Washington County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the City of Hagerstown 1-28-2014 by Ord. No. O-13-40.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
Alarm systems — See Ch. 48.
Peace and good order — See Ch. 173.
Peddlers and transient merchants — See Ch. 176.
Editor’s Note: This ordinance also provided for the repeal of former Ch. 155, Noise, adopted 9-24-1996 by Ord. No. 1996-27, as amended.
It is the intent of the Mayor and City Council to ensure its citizens an environment free from such excessive noise as may jeopardize their health, welfare, and safety or degrade their quality of life. It is therefore the policy of the City and the purpose of this chapter to prevent such excessive noise.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
Electronic devices or recordings utilizing bioacoustics to disperse birds and combat the nuisance and health hazard caused by uncontrolled roosting in urban environments.
Any work on the construction site for the purpose of erection, demolition, alteration or repair of buildings, structures, or utilities associated with permits issued by the City of Hagerstown, or for site preparation and infrastructure installation related to such work which has been permitted by the City of Hagerstown.
The abbreviation for the sound level in decibels determined by the A-weighting network of a sound-level meter or by calculation from octave-band or one-third-octave-band data.
Any occurrence or set of circumstances involving actual or imminent physical trauma or property damage demanding immediate attention.
A motor vehicle belonging to a fire department or fire company, an ambulance, or a motor vehicle belonging to a federal, state, county, or municipal law enforcement agency, provided such vehicles are in use as emergency vehicles by one authorized to use such vehicles for that purpose.
Any work for the purpose of preventing or alleviating the physical trauma damage threatened or caused by an emergency.
The presence of noise of sufficient loudness, character, and/or duration which disturbs the peace and is, or may be predicted with reasonable certainty to be, injurious to health or which unreasonably interferes with the proper enjoyment of one's place of residence, work or entertainment.
9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.; holiday evening begins the night before and normal evening hours begin at the end of the day on the holiday.
7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; weekday evening begins on Sunday.
9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.; weekend evening begins on Friday.
The location or person generating the noise which is affecting other persons.
An individual or group of individuals, corporation, partnership, association, or any other entity.
Any sound that can be clearly heard or understood by a person using his or her own normal hearing faculties at a distance of 100 feet or more from its source or through partitions common to attached dwelling units or between units within a single building.
Any street, avenue, boulevard, highway, sidewalk, alley or similar place normally accessible to the public which is owned or controlled by a governmental entity.
Any real property or structures thereon owned by a governmental entity and normally accessible to the public, including but not limited to parks and other public recreational areas.
The area occupied by persons which is affected by noise generated in another area or property.
The following are prohibited at any time in the City:
Sounding of horns or other auditory sounding devices on or in any motor vehicle on any public right-of-way or public property in the City, except as a warning of danger, as governed by the Maryland State Transportation Code.
Security alarms which fail to cease emitting an audible sound within 15 minutes of activation or which activate more than once in an eight-hour period following the first activation incident.
Except as otherwise specified in this chapter, a person must not cause or permit excessive noise that exceeds the following at distances specified in the subsections below:
Maximum Allowable Noise Levels (dBA) for Receiving Areas
Residential area
65 dBA
55 dBA
Commercial area
67 dBA
62 dBA
Industrial area
75 dBA
75 dBA
When the noise source is located on private property, the noise is measured at or outside the property boundary of the noise source or at any point within any other property affected by the noise.
When the noise source is located in a public right-of-way or other public space, the noise is measured at least 100 feet from the noise source.
When the noise source is located within a structure containing more than one dwelling unit, the noise is measured from common areas within or outside the structure or from other dwelling units within the structure, when requested to do so by the owner or tenant in possession and control thereof. The noise shall be measured at a point at least four feet from the wall, ceiling or floor nearest the noise source, with the doors to the receiving area closed and windows in the normal position for the season.
Activities undertaken by municipal, county, state, or federal governmental agencies or their contractors to promote or protect the public health, safety or general welfare. This includes noise generated at public-serving utility plants and facilities.
Emergency work permitted by the City of Hagerstown.
Radios, sirens, horns, and bells on emergency vehicles.
Lawful discharge of firearms.
Bioacoustic bird dispersal systems.
Trains and aircraft.
The striking of clocks and church bells.
Air-conditioning or heat pump equipment used to cool or heat buildings.
Activities on or in municipal, county, state, or federal properties and facilities, including school athletic facilities, municipal stadiums, and parks, and subject to the rules and regulations for use of those facilities.
Noise caused by construction activities during normal daytime hours and starting at 7:00 a.m. on Saturdays, and, during the summer, starting at 6:00 a.m. on weekdays and Saturdays.
Noise created by lawn and yard care equipment during daytime hours.
Activities which have gained a variance from the City of Hagerstown under § 155-6 of this chapter.
Parades, fireworks displays, festivals, and other special events, subject to the terms of approval or permits by the City of Hagerstown and approval of the Mayor and City Council.
Noises caused by or from motor vehicles operating on a roadway, when regulated by state law. This does not include noise caused by stereos, radios, or other similar devices located within or on motor vehicles.
Any person desiring relief from the provisions of this chapter shall apply for a variance to cause or create noise which would otherwise be in violation of this chapter, at least 30 days prior to the date for which the relief is requested. Application shall be made in writing to the City Clerk's office. The applicant must demonstrate the following in the application:
The activity, operation or noise source cannot be done in a manner that would comply with the provisions of this chapter; or
The provisions of the chapter would cause undue hardship for the applicant or the applicant's client; or
The failure to grant a variance would unreasonably burden the exercise of the applicant's constitutional right of free speech or other constitutional right; and
No reasonable alternative is available to the applicant.
In determining whether to grant or deny the application for the variance, the Mayor and City Council shall consider the hardship to the applicant, the community, or other persons of not granting the variance against the adverse impact on the health and welfare of persons affected, the adverse effect on the property affected or any other adverse impact.
Any variance granted pursuant to this chapter shall contain all conditions upon which the variance has been granted, including but not limited to the effective date, time of day, location and equipment limitations. Any variance granted pursuant to this section may be renewed upon application to the City Clerk's office and approval of the Mayor and City Council upon a showing that the reasons for which the variance was granted still exist or may be reevaluated periodically by the City to determine whether the activity under the variance is still deemed appropriate for an exception from the provisions of this chapter.
Police officers, or other duly appointed and authorized City officials, shall be responsible for enforcement of the provisions of this chapter and for determining if a sound is excessive noise which violates the provision of this chapter. A sound is in violation of this chapter if it is determined to be excessive noise that is plainly audible to a person using his or her own normal hearing faculties across distances and/or at times specified in this chapter, unless otherwise exempted from the provisions of this chapter, and reaches or exceeds sound levels outlined in § 155-4. The equipment and techniques employed in the measurement of noise levels may be those recommended by the Maryland State Department of the Environment, which may, but need not, refer to currently accepted standards or recognized organizations, including, but not limited to, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Any violation of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed a municipal infraction and shall be punishable by a fine of up to $500 for the first offense and up to $1,000 for additional offenses within a twelve-month period. Each violation of any section of this chapter shall be considered a separate and distinct violation, punishable as prescribed herein. Each day the violation is committed or permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense and shall be punishable as such hereunder.
Should any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this chapter be declared invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the chapter in its entirety or of any part thereof other than that portion declared to be invalid.