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Thread: What is an acceptable decibel level?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian CDT's avatar
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    What is an acceptable decibel level?

    I have a recreational use (haunted attraction) that is coming up for an amendment to their special permit to extend their hours. What have used as an acceptable decible level at the property line for these types of uses?

    What kinds of contingencies have you attached to these uses?

    It's a political knightmare for me. lol

    Also: this is an AG area that is now surrounded by urban residential on two sides.What is a typical distance between this type of use and urban residential?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus
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    What are your current db levels for ag and residential ?
    Are there time limits on/for any range of db on them ? like after 10 pm the db acceptable level drops to x ?
    How often / How hard do you enforce db levels ?
    Oddball
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian CDT's avatar
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    We don't have decible levels set for any uses but this use has one attached through the special permit. I believe it's 80 or 90 decibles.

    I believe the only noise complaints we've had are at this use. We measured the levels with a sound meter once or twice. We have a heavy complainer in the adjacent neighborhood.

    ETA: I'm in the county.
    Last edited by CDT; 03 Sep 2008 at 11:49 AM.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    80 to 90 dBA is pretty loud. Might I suggest 55 dBA at night and 60 during the day. You might also consider that if the area is urbanizing, it might not be appropriate to extend the hours.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian CDT's avatar
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    Does your ordinance/regulations specify a noise level? Or do you have municipal codes that specify noise levels? I'd love to get some regs to point to for my recommendation. Thanks!

  6. #6
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CDT View post
    I have a recreational use (haunted attraction) that is coming up for an amendment to their special permit to extend their hours. What have used as an acceptable decible level at the property line for these types of uses?
    Our code states that at property lines, dBA shall not exceed 70 between 7 am and 10 pm, and not to exceed 65 dBA between 10 pm and 7 am.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian CDT's avatar
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    Wow that is pretty loud. From what I found over the last week, residential areas are generally aroun 55 during the day and 45 at night. I am recommending noise limitations for this use around 50 after 10pm. We'll see what the PC and county board thinks about that. They actually really dislike this user. He's surrounded on three sides by urban residential. Hopefully my recommendation isn't totally off base.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Take a look at http://www.ci.bloomington.mn.us/code..._2.html#b10_29 and the following sections.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Plus Shellac And Vinyl VelocitY's avatar
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    I've found this to be an invaluable resource:

    Noise Pollution Clearinghouse's
    LAW LIBRARY - NOISE REGULATIONS & ORDINANCES OF U.S. CITIES, COUNTIES, AND TOWNS:
    http://www.nonoise.org/lawlib/cities/cities.htm

  10. #10
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    simmer down, now...

    for our amusement permit section:

    § 14-6. Regulation of noise.
    An applicant for a special amusement permit hereunder shall, as part of his/her application, demonstrate his/her ability to prevent the emanation of excessive noise from the premises sought to be licensed brought about by music, dancing or entertainment, except for a radio or other mechanical device excluded under 28-A M.R.S.A. §*1054 or amendments thereto. The performance of amplified music out of doors by licensees is categorically declared to be in violation of this article.
    A. Sources of noise. Sources of noise contemplated by this section shall include musical instruments, sound modification or amplification devices used in connection with musical instruments and/or other similar devices which produce, reproduce or amplify sound created by musical instruments. Sources of noise shall further include any noise or sound produced directly or indirectly by the applicant's music, dancing or entertainment except for those mechanical devices specifically excluded under 28-A M.R.S.A. §*1054 or amendments thereto.
    B. Noise. Sources of noise shall be required to be muffled so as not to be objectionable due to intermittence, beat, frequency, shrillness, intensity or volume.
    C. Noise control. The maximum permissible sound-pressure level of any continuous, regular, frequent, intermittent or periodic source of noise produced by any activity regulated by this article shall not exceed 71 dB(A) at any time at the measuring locations specified in §*14-6D(3)(e) below.
    D. Measurement procedures. For the purpose of determining noise levels as set forth in this article, the following procedures shall be used:
    (1) All personnel conducting sound measurements shall be trained in the current techniques and principles of sound-measuring equipment and instrumentation.
    (2) Instruments used to determine sound-level measurements shall conform to the standards of ASI Type I or Type II meters.
    (3) The general steps listed below shall be followed when preparing to take sound-level measurements:
    (a) The instrument manufacturer's specific instructions for the preparation and use of the instrument shall be followed.
    (b) The sound-level meter shall be calibrated before and after each set of measurements. The calibrator itself shall be recalibrated at least once every year.
    (c) When measurements are taken out of doors, a wind screen shall be placed over the microphone of the sound-level meter as per the manufacturer's instructions. No sound-level measurement shall be taken at wind speeds greater than 12 miles per hour; neither shall measurements be taken during periods of precipitation.
    (d) The sound-level meter shall be placed as specified by the manufacturer's instructions and at least four feet above the ground. It shall be placed so as not to be interfered with by individuals conducting the measurements.
    (e) Measurements shall be taken at points outside the licensed premises which are no less than five feet and no more than 10 feet from the lot lines of the licensed premises.
    (f) No less than two readings taken by the sound-level meter within a fifteen-minute period shall constitute a reasonable basis for averaging a set of measurements. A simple arithmetic average may be taken, summing all the measurements and dividing the sum by the number of measurements taken. This is known as "L50 descriptor," representing the mean sound-pressure level which is exceeded 50% of the time.
    § 14-7. Loud and unreasonable noise.
    Regardless of whether or not the mean sound-pressure level limit as set forth in §*14-6C is exceeded, the licensee or his/her authorized representative shall not permit the use of the premises to result in any continued, excessive or loud and unreasonable noise or any noise which either annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health or safety of individuals or which results in disturbing the peace and tranquility of the neighborhood.

    and this is our noise ordinance:

    Chapter 139, NOISE
    § 139-1. Findings and purpose.
    A. It is found and declared that:
    (1) The making and creation of loud, unnecessary or unusual noises within the limits of the Town of are conditions which have existed for some time, and the extent and volume of such noises are increasing; and
    (2) The making, creation or maintenance of such loud, unnecessary, unnatural or unusual noises which are prolonged, unusual and unnatural in their time, place and use affects and is a detriment to the public health, comfort, convenience, safety, welfare and prosperity of the residents of the Town of .
    B. The necessity in the public interest for the provisions and prohibitions hereinafter contained and enacted is declared as a matter of legislative determination and public policy, and it is further declared that the provisions and prohibitions hereinafter contained and enacted are in pursuance of and for the purpose of securing and promoting the public health, comfort, convenience, safety, welfare and prosperity and the peace and quiet of the Town of and its inhabitants.
    § 139-2. Certain noises prohibited.
    It shall be unlawful for any person to make, continue or cause to be made or continued any loud, unnecessary or unusual noise or any noise which either annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of others within the limits of the Town.
    § 139-3. Loud, disturbing and unnecessary noises enumerated.
    The following noises and noise-producing acts, among others, are declared to be loud, disturbing and unnecessary noises in violation of this chapter, but said enumeration shall not be deemed to be exclusive, namely:
    A. Horns, signaling devices, etc.:
    (1) The sounding of any horn or signaling device on any automobile, motorcycle, or other vehicle anywhere within the limits 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 device for an unnecessary and unreasonable period of time.
    (2) 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, musical instruments, etc.
    (1) The use of, operation of or allowing the use or operation of any radio, receiving set, musical instrument, amplifier, juke box, phonograph, or other machine or device for producing, reproducing or amplifying sound in such a manner as to disturb the peace, quiet and comfort of the neighboring inhabitants.
    (2) It shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this section if such sound is produced within a building, structure or vehicle between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. in such a manner that, at a distance of 25 feet from the building, structure or vehicle in which it is located, the volume, frequency, intensity, quality or duration of the sound unreasonably annoys or disturbs a reasonable person's normal sensibilities, endangers or injures the safety or health of humans, or endangers or injures personal or real property.
    C. Sound-producing devices used for advertising: the use of, operation of or allowing the use or operation of any radio, receiving set, musical instrument, amplifier, juke box, phonograph, bell, horn or other machine or device for producing, reproducing or amplifying sound in such a manner as to cast upon the public street for the purpose of commercial advertising or attracting 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 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. or any time or place so as to annoy or disturb the quiet, comfort, or repose of any person in any office, or in any dwelling, hotel, motel, rooming house or other type of residence, or of any person in the vicinity.
    E. Animals, birds, etc.: the keeping of any animal or bird which by causing frequent or long-continued noise without provocation shall disturb the comfort or repose of any person in the vicinity.
    F. Blowers, fans and engines: the operation of any noise-creating blower, compressor, power fan, engine, motor boat, motor vehicle or other machine, unless such equipment is equipped with a muffler device sufficient to reduce such noise so that it does not unreasonably annoy or disturb a reasonable person's normal sensibilities.
    G. Loading or unloading; opening boxes: the creation of loud and excessive noise in connection with loading or unloading any vehicle or the opening and destruction of bales, boxes, crates and containers.
    H. Construction or repair of structures: the starting, idling, backing or other operation of construction equipment and the excavation for or erection, demolition, alteration or repair of any structure which causes loud and unreasonable noise between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., except with a quiet-hours construction permit as provided below.
    I. Schools, courts, churches and hospitals: 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 conspicuous signs are displayed in such street indicating that the same is a school, hospital or court street.
    § 139-4. Quiet-hours construction permits.
    A. The Code Enforcement Officer may issue or renew a quiet-hours construction permit only upon finding that:
    (1) The public health and safety will not be impaired by said construction between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
    (2) An urgent necessity exists. Completion of work below the high tide mark shall be considered an urgent necessity.
    B. All quiet-hours construction permits shall meet the following provisions:
    (1) The permit shall expire when the urgent necessity ceases to exist, regardless of the term of the permit.
    (2) The length of any one permit may not exceed three days.
    (3) Permits may be renewed in additional three-day increments.
    C. The Town Council may set permit fees from time to time. No permit shall be issued except upon payment of the applicable fee, if any.
    § 139-5. Definitions.
    As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
    QUIET HOURS -- The hours between and including 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. local time.
    STRUCTURE -- Shall be defined as provided by Town Code §*125-109.
    § 139-6. Certain noises permitted.
    It being necessary to secure and promote the public health, comfort, convenience, safety, welfare, and prosperity of the Town of and its inhabitants, maintenance construction and public safety activities of the Town of are exempt from the provisions of this chapter.
    § 139-7. Violations and penalties.
    Any violation of this chapter or any provision thereof shall be deemed a public nuisance and may be subject to abatement by a restraining order or injunction issued by a court of competent jurisdiction, in addition to the general penalty set forth in §*1-18 of this Code.

  11. #11
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    Don't use db in setting a noise level. Background traffic, noise, wind through trees, crickets, etc. will exceed 65 to 70 db. In some cases the actual use will mask the background noise resulting in a lower db. Say you set a 50 db limit on the use and you happen to go out one night and a get a 60 db level on the use but the background is 65 db. What you do then?

    Best thing you can do is leave it to the cops to enforce their disturbing the peace laws. If you approved the use you approved the noise. Don't like the noise, don't approve the use.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I am going to bump this because I am writing a new noise ordinance and wanted to know what other communities find to be an acceptable maximum decibel level for residential properties.
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

  13. #13
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    M'skis: This is what we adopted about 6 months ago. It is not without controversy--a number of our downtown bars/restaurants feel the commercial standard is too restrictive, particularly in regard to when day/night hours change and with it the decibel levels. Personally, I'd rather just set it at 85dB during the day and 75dB at night (after 10 during week, after midnight on weekends) for commercial areas. Our police department doesn't want to rely on officer's best judgment for noise issues--they like a written standard to lean on.

    You'll want to consider the sound transmission characteristics of your typical building construction around there as well since different building envelope construction methods attenuate noise differently.

    Section 14.04.001 General provisions

    (1) Scope. This Article applies to the control of all sound and noise existing within the city limits of the City.

    (2) Overview. This Article is designed to regulate noise by various alternative means in order to allow the enforcement of noise regulations at times when and by persons for whom noise meters are not available. A noise may be in violation of this Article because it is disturbing to a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities pursuant to Section 14.04.005 or because it is prohibited without a permit pursuant to 14.04.004. If a noise violates more than one of these provisions, the violation will be enforced under whichever provision is most applicable to the situation as determined by the enforcement officer of the City.

    Section 14.04.002 Definitions

    A-weighted sound level means the sound pressure level in decibels as measured on a sound level meter using the A-weighting network. The level so read is designated dB(A) or dBA.

    City Manager means the City Manager of the City of _________ or the City Manager’s designee.

    Decibel (dB) means the unit of measurement for sound pressure level at a specified location.

    Director means the City of ____________’s Director of Planning or the Director’s designee.

    Emergency situation means a situation in which one must take actions to prevent a traffic accident or to attempt to prevent a traffic accident.

    Emergency work means any work or action immediately necessary to deliver essential services including, but not limited to, repairing water, gas, electric, telephone, sewer facilities, or public transportation facilities, removing fallen trees on public rights-of-way, or abating life-threatening conditions.

    Impulsive sound means sound of short duration, usually less than one second, with an abrupt onset and rapid decay. Examples of sources of impulsive sound include explosions, drop forge impacts, and the discharge of firearms.

    Motor vehicle means any vehicle that is propelled or drawn on land by an engine or motor.

    Nighttime means the hours from 9:00 p.m. through 7:00 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and the hours from 11:30 p.m. through 7:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

    Noise-sensitive area includes, but is not limited to, a posted area where a school, church, hospital, nursing home, day care facility, court, public library, or similar facility (where persons gather and have a reasonable expectation of quiet, peace or solitude) is located.

    Outdoor music venue means a commercial establishment which allows or uses sound equipment outside of the enclosed building on the premises producing loud music which can be heard beyond the property line of the premises.

    Person means any individual, firm, business, entity, association, partnership, joint venture, or corporation.

    Public right-of-way means any street, avenue, boulevard, highway, sidewalk, alley, or similar place normally accessible to the public, which is owned or controlled by any government entity.

    Public space means any real property or structure(s) on real property, owned or controlled by a government entity and normally accessible to the public, including but not limited to parks and other recreational areas.

    Real property line means either: (a) The imaginary line, including its vertical extension, that separates one parcel of real property from another; or (b) The vertical and horizontal boundaries of each unit of a multi-unit building which is under separate ownership or tenancy.

    Residential area means any real property zoned for residential use in accordance with the City's zoning ordinance, all other real property which has been platted for residential use on which persons reside, and the public rights-of-way abutting any such real property. In a building with a commercial use on the bottom floor and residential use on the floors above, the horizontal boundary between the residential floors and commercial floor shall serve as the real property line and the residential floors shall be treated as a residential area.

    Sound equipment means a loud speaker, public address system, amplification system, musical instrument, radio, CD player, or other sound producing device.

    Sound level means the instantaneous sound pressure level measured in decibels obtained by the use of a sound level meter set for A-weighting on slow integration speed, unless otherwise noted.

    Sound level meter means an instrument which includes a microphone, amplifier, RMS detector, integrator or time averager, output meter, and weighting network used to measure sound pressure levels conforming to Type 1 or Type 2 standards as specified in the latest version of the American National Standards Institute specifications for sound level meters (ANSI Standard S1.4-1983).

    Section 14.04.003 Restrictions on decibel levels

    (1) Maximum decibel levels. No person shall cause, suffer, allow, or permit any of the following acts which are declared to be noise nuisances. If a noise is made on property which falls under more than one of the four categories enumerated in this section, the lowest maximum decibel level shall apply.

    (A) The making of noise which exceeds 63 decibels during the daytime or 56 decibels during the nighttime in residential areas and all abutting public rights-of-way;

    (B) The making of noise which exceeds 70 decibels during the daytime or 63 decibels during the nighttime in commercial or other business zoned areas as defined by the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Buda, Texas;

    (C) The making of noise which exceeds 80 decibels during the daytime or 65 decibels during the nighttime on industrial zoned property as defined by the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Buda, Texas; or

    (D) The making of noise which exceeds 80 decibels during the daytime or 65 decibels during the nighttime on any property which does not fit into any of the categories described in the foregoing subsections (A), (B) and (C), above.

    (2) Method of noise measurement. Whenever portions of this Article prohibit noise over a certain decibel limit, measurement of said noise should be made with a sound level meter meeting the standards prescribed by the American Standards Association and using the A-weighted scale. Prior to taking a measurement of the noise in question, the environment shall be observed to determine whether background noise is so close to the level of the sound being measured that a proper measurement is not possible. Measurements recorded shall be taken so as to provide a proper representation of the noise being measured. The microphone shall be screened from wind and water and otherwise used in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications. Measurements of noise emanating from private property shall be taken from the real property line of the property from which the noise is being generated. Measurements of noise being generated on public right of way or a public space shall be taken from a distance greater than or equal to 300 feet from the source of the noise.

    Section 14.04.004 Certain construction noises prohibited without permit

    No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit during the hours between nine o’clock p.m. and seven o’clock a.m., and/or on Christmas, New Year's Day or Thanksgiving, the creation of noise in connection with construction, drilling, earthmoving, excavation, demolition, alteration or repair work or the operation of any tools or equipment used for any such work, including the operation of a machine that separates, gathers, grades, loads, or unloads sand, rock, concrete or gravel in a residential area or within 600 feet of a residential area without first obtaining a permit pursuant to Section 14.04.009. Such noise is declared to be a nuisance and does not have to exceed the specifications for sound levels contained in this Article or disturb a particular person in order to constitute a violation of this Section. This Section does not apply to such work, construction, repairs or alterations that constitute an urgent necessity for the benefit and interest of the public safety, health or general welfare, such as repairs and emergency installations by any utility. The requirements of this Article are independent of and in addition to any other permits, certificates of occupancy, zoning or platting requirements or other requirements of the law and the fact that a person or an entity has acquired any other such authorization from the City shall not exempt them from the requirements of this Article.

    Section 14.04.005 Disturbance of reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities prohibited.

    (1) Prohibited noises. In addition to the other noise restrictions provided in this Article, no person shall make, cause, suffer, allow, or permit unreasonably loud noises in such a manner, or with such volume, intensity, or duration, so as to disturb a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities. A noise for which the producer of the noise has a current and valid permit issued pursuant to Section 14.04.009 of this Article or which otherwise does not exceed the decibel level restrictions in this Article shall be exempt from the provisions of this Section. However, a decibel level measurement shall not be required for the enforcement of this Section.

    (2) Included noises. This Section is intended to apply to, but is not limited to, unreasonable noises in the form of: barking dogs and other noises from animals in the care of a person; car alarms, vehicle exhaust, engine braking systems, radios, boom boxes, musical instruments, stationary loudspeakers, stationary amplifiers and other devices which reproduce or amplify sound; the use of any mechanical device operated by compressed air unless the device has been effectively muffled and reduced; the creation of any excessive noise disturbing to a person of ordinary sensibilities on any street or premises adjacent to any school, place of religious worship or other institution of learning while the same is in session, or any hospital, which unreasonably interferes with the operation or use of any such institution; the use of any drum, loudspeaker or other instrument or device for the purpose of attracting attention by the creation of noise to any performance, show or sale of merchandise; the cries of peddlers, hawkers and vendors; any noise during nighttime in a residential or noise-sensitive area which can be heard beyond the real property line of the premises from which the noise is originating; and noise from the shooting of a gun or fireworks, including such noise created at Sports Shooting Ranges as defined in Section 250.001 of the Texas Local Government Code, where said noise is audible in residential or noise-sensitive areas.

    (3) Noise producing vibrations from vehicles. No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit operation of a radio, tape or CD player, or other electronic or mechanical sound-making device from a motor vehicle in a manner which emits sound audible on a public right-of-way, street, or highway, to the human ear of a person with average and normal hearing, at a distance of 30 or more feet from the motor vehicle or which causes a person at that distance to be aware of a vibration accompanying the sound. It shall be presumed that the driver of any such vehicle is the operator of the sound-making device(s).

    (4) Determination of unreasonable noises. Factors for determining whether a sound constitutes unreasonable noise under this Section include, but are not limited to:

    (A) The proximity of the sound to sleeping facilities, whether residential or commercial;

    (B) The land use, nature, and zoning of the area from which the sound emanates and the area where it is received or perceived;

    (C) The time of day or night the sound occurs;

    (D) The duration of the sound; and

    (E) Whether the sound is recurrent, intermittent or constant.

    (F) An outdoor music venue located in a non-residential zoning district which seeks to use sound equipment outdoor creating noise which exceeds the decibel levels permitted by this Article.


    Section 14.04.006 Exemptions.

    The following acts and sounds shall be exempt from the requirements of this Article.

    (1) The generation of sound for the purpose of alerting persons to the existence of imminent danger or an actual emergency;

    (2) The generation of sound in the performance of emergency work;

    (3) Sirens, whistles, or bells, lawfully used by emergency vehicles, or any alarm systems used by government entities in case of fire, collision, civil defense, police activity, or imminent danger;

    (4) Engine braking systems for emergency response vehicles and when used by commercial vehicles in an emergency situation;

    (5) Repairs or excavations of bridges, streets or highways by the City, the State, or the federal government during the nighttime when public welfare and convenience renders it impractical to perform the work during daylight hours;

    (6) Athletic events. Athletic events in a stadium, ball park, or on public or private school grounds, which are conducted in accordance with the manner in which such spaces are generally used, including but not limited to, school athletic events;

    (7) Law enforcement motor vehicles equipped with any communication device necessary in the performance of law enforcement duties or emergency vehicles equipped with any communication device necessary in the performance of any emergency procedures;

    (8) Noise made by a horn or other warning device required by federal or state law;

    (9) Sound produced by permitted parades and events sponsored and held by the City on public property for the general public, and pyrotechnic displays approved by the Fire Marshal;

    (10) Special events authorized by City Council in which the City Council specifically authorizes exemption or modification of this Article;

    (11) An employee of a governmental entity engaged in the employee's official duty; or

    (12) A person operating a bell for a religious activity

    Section 14.04.007 Enforcement.

    (1) Nothing in this Article shall prevent the City from having the authority to obtain voluntary compliance by way of warning, notice or education.

    (2) If a person's conduct would otherwise violate this Article and consists of speech or communication delivered to others who have gathered to hear or observe speech or communication; or to others who have gathered to picket or otherwise express in a non-violent manner a position on social, economic, political or religious questions; the person who is in violation of this Article shall be ordered to, and have the opportunity to, move, disperse, or otherwise remedy the violation, prior to arrest or a citation being issued.

    (3) This Violation of any provision of this Article shall be cause for a citation to be issued by the City. In the event the noise violating this Article is not stopped following issuance of a citation, the City may issue an administrative stop order to any person having possession or control over noise generating property to immediately halt the making of any sound which exceeds the decibel levels prescribed in Section 14.04.003 of this Article.

    (4) In the event a noise violation continues after the delivery of an administrative stop order, the City may apply to any magistrate for an administrative search warrant for the purpose of entering private property to investigate and identify noise nuisance producing devices which are violating this Article and their owners, and to temporarily seize the devices in the event the owner of the offending noise producing device has been convicted of a violation of this Article in the previous year. Any noise producing devices seized under this Section shall be returned to any person requesting their return and presenting proof of ownership following twenty-four hours after the seizure of the devices. Any disputed ownership of the seized property shall be resolved at a hearing before a magistrate of the City. Nothing herein shall prevent the City from exercising any other rights or remedies available under this Article or by other laws.

    Section 14.04.008 Penalties.

    (1) A person commits an offense if the person makes noise in violation of a provision of this Article.

    (2) An offense under this Chapter is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable consistent with Section 1.01.009 of the Code of Ordinances governing general penalty for violations of code and continuing violations, including health and safety violations.

    (3) A violation of this Article is a nuisance. The prosecution of an offense under this Article does not limit the City's right to abate the nuisance, including the use of injunctive or other civil relief.

    (4) No provision of this Article 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 Article or from other law.

    Section 14.04.009 Temporary Permit.

    (1) Eligibility to apply for temporary permits. The following persons or entities may apply for a temporary permit to create or allow noise which would otherwise be prohibited by this Article:

    (A) A person or entity seeking a permit for the noise generating construction activities prohibited without such permit in Section 14.04.004;

    (B) An outdoor music venue located in a non-residential zoning district which seeks to use sound equipment outdoor creating noise which exceeds the decibel levels permitted by this Article.

    (2) Application. A person seeking a permit under this Section shall complete and file a written application for a permit with the City on a form provided by the City. Such application shall identify the nature and location of the noise source for which the application is made; the time during which the noise will be generated and the level of noise that will occur; reason for which the permit is requested, including potential hardships that will result to the applicant, his/her client or the public if the permit is not granted; and a description of noise control measures to be taken by the applicant to minimize noise and the impacts occurring therefrom and the schedule under which said measures will be implemented.

    (3) Restrictions on issuance of permit. No permit shall be approved unless the City is satisfied based upon the application and other proof provided by the applicant that:

    (A) Noise levels occurring during the period will not constitute a danger to public health;

    (B) Compliance with this Article would impose an unreasonable hardship on the applicant or the public without greater benefits to the public; and

    (C) The applicant has fully complied with the application procedures.

    (4) Considerations in determining whether to grant permit. In making the determination of whether to grant a permit, the City shall consider:

    (A) The character and degree of injury to, or interference with, the health and welfare or the reasonable use of property that is caused or threatened to be caused;

    (B) The ability of the applicant to apply the best practical noise control measures; and

    (C) Proximity to residences at which reasonable persons would be disturbed by the noise.

    (5) Other restrictions.

    (A) The City shall consider each application on the same basis as that used for other similarly situated applicants and shall make each variance decision free from consideration of race, sex, national origin, religion, the content of speech, or any other factors not provided for in the Article; and

    (B) No permit shall be issued for the operation of sound equipment at nighttime from a motor vehicle or for a location within 100 feet of a residential or noise-sensitive area.

    (C) No permit shall be issued if the applicant has been convicted of more than two violations of a regulation under this Article or there have been more than two convictions for violations of this Article at the location for which the permit is sought in the year prior to the date on which the application is submitted.

    (6) Issuance or denial of permit.

    (A) The City Manager shall be responsible for issuing or denying a temporary permit under Section 14.04.009(1)(A). The City Council shall be responsible for issuing or denying a temporary permit under and 14.04.009(1)(B).

    (B) If the City Council or City Manager, as authorized, determines a permit should be issued pursuant to the criteria established in this Section, a permit shall be issued which states the type of sound permitted, the location at which the sound will be permitted

    (C) The decibel limits on a permit issued pursuant to this Section shall be set at ten decibels over the limits which would otherwise apply pursuant to Section 14.04.003 unless the City Council or City Manager, as authorized, determines a different limit is required under the circumstances.

    (7) Time and frequency limits on permit.

    (A) For a person seeking a permit under Section 14.04.009(1)(A), a permit shall be issued for the expected duration of the construction noise for which the permit is issued.

    (B) For a person seeking a permit under Section 14.04.009(1)(B), a permit may not exceed 30 days in duration and maybe issued for a shorter period. A new permit application shall be required and a new permit issued for any subsequent period.

    (C) In all other cases, including special events, the time and frequency restrictions shall be at the discretion of the City Council.

    (8) Revocation of permit. The permit may be revoked by the City Manager if the terms of the permit are violated; if it is learned that there were material misrepresentations made in the permit application; the applicant receives two convictions for violations of this Article, as modified by the permit, take place within one year; or if there is a material change in any of the circumstances relied upon by the City Council or City Manager in granting the permit.

    (9) Appeal of denial or revocation of permit.

    (A) If the City Manager denies or revokes a permit under this Article, an applicant may appeal the City Manager’s decision to the City Council by filing a written statement of the decision being appealed and the grounds for the appeal with the City Manager no later than the tenth business day after the date on which notice of the decision is delivered to the applicant or permit holder or placed in the U.S. mail in a stamped envelope addressed to their last known address.

    (B) The City Council shall consider the appeal on or before the first regular City Council meeting following the tenth business day after receiving a request for an appeal.

    (C) The City Council may sustain, reverse, or modify the action appealed based on criteria established in this Article. The City Council’s decision is final.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    I am going to bump this because I am writing a new noise ordinance and wanted to know what other communities find to be an acceptable maximum decibel level for residential properties.
    Ours is as follows:

    Residential or Public Space - 7:00 am - 10:00 pm - 60 db(A)
    Residential or Public Space - 10:00 pm - 7.00 am - 55 db(A)

    Commercial or Business - 7:00 am - 10:00 pm - 75 db(A)
    Commercial or Business - 10:00 pm - 7:00 am - 60 db(A)

    Manufacturing, Industrial, or Agricultural - At All Times - 80 db(A)

    We haven't had too many issues. One commercial owner keeps complaining but it's because his business is well beyond what is acceptable noise and he hasn't taken any steps to provide sound buffers. Our way of taking measurements does allot for road noise. We measure as follows:

    "Measurements will be taken at the public right-of-way or ten feet inside the complainant's property line, as deemed practical by the Enforcement Officer. Measurements will be taken for at least 10 minutes. During the testing period, the average sound recording during one (1) minute intervals may not exceed the above limits".

    We had to purchase all new decibel meters to make this work, and had our sheriffs department trained professionally in the use of the meters and how to read the ordinance. I, as the Planning Director, do not enforce the ordinance.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Some things to remember are the typical noises. A passing car can produce about 70 db, traffic is usually 80 or so. Industry will easily exceed 85 db near the factory, but they should be able to cut it some near the property line. I like to relate the noise levels to the ambient traffic or other noises. The noise from your house shouldn't exceed x db over an amount of time.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by dvdneal View post
    Some things to remember are the typical noises. A passing car can produce about 70 db, traffic is usually 80 or so. Industry will easily exceed 85 db near the factory, but they should be able to cut it some near the property line. I like to relate the noise levels to the ambient traffic or other noises. The noise from your house shouldn't exceed x db over an amount of time.
    I should clarify, we tested this in the field before we went with our db levels.

    Lumber is a huge business here, and we tested it at one of the larger plants. Right next to their main facility came in at 85-86. Just across the street, with traffic, read around 78-80.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Huh??

    WHAT???!!!
    Huh?
    I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!! SPEAK UP!!

    Even after just two years of riding freight trains my hearing took a beating.....can you imagine 30 years.....LOL

    I think HUD is on the right track:

    Site Acceptability Standards:

    Exterior noise levels – Proposed HUD-assisted projects with a day-night average sound level of below 65 decibels are acceptable (see Standards in 24 CFR Part 51.103).
    Interior noise levels – Proposed HUD-assisted projects with a day-night average sound level of below 45 decibels are acceptable.
    Skilled Adoxographer

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    WHAT???!!!
    Huh?
    I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!! SPEAK UP!!

    Even after just two years of riding freight trains my hearing took a beating.....can you imagine 30 years.....LOL

    I think HUD is on the right track:

    Site Acceptability Standards:

    Exterior noise levels – Proposed HUD-assisted projects with a day-night average sound level of below 65 decibels are acceptable (see Standards in 24 CFR Part 51.103).
    Interior noise levels – Proposed HUD-assisted projects with a day-night average sound level of below 45 decibels are acceptable.
    When the issue came up here, we used the HUD standards.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  19. #19
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    When the issue came up here, we used the HUD standards.
    Is it the same day and night?

    We are going to do a noise survey to see what they are now in most areas. Problem is we are a tourist town so by the nature of the City, we are louder in the summer and silent in the winter.
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Is it the same day and night?

    We are going to do a noise survey to see what they are now in most areas. Problem is we are a tourist town so by the nature of the City, we are louder in the summer and silent in the winter.
    We took two readings, DT and NT. There was a difference between the two, which makes sense.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  21. #21
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Is it the same day and night?

    We are going to do a noise survey to see what they are now in most areas. Problem is we are a tourist town so by the nature of the City, we are louder in the summer and silent in the winter.
    Remember, amplified/projected sound is a completely different animal as far as perceived loudness if you are dealing with live music issues. Just because it is audible at the complaint location and potentially annoying to their sensibilities doesn't mean it is all that loud. Plus people get subjective... Texas Country is OK, but dammit it better not be that sinful rock & roll!

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  22. #22
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    Remember, amplified/projected sound is a completely different animal as far as perceived loudness if you are dealing with live music issues. Just because it is audible at the complaint location and potentially annoying to their sensibilities doesn't mean it is all that loud. Plus people get subjective... Texas Country is OK, but dammit it better not be that sinful rock & roll!
    The majority of the noise complaints that we get are from people who live near houses that are rented for a weekend or even a week. We are lucky that for the most part, people understand that if you live close to downtown, there will be noise on the weekends.

    The other factor that I don't know how to deal with is the harbor. On a clear night the sound from the piano bar carries quite well to the other side of the harbor, which is residential. It is about a 1/4 to a 1/2 mile away but it sounds like you are less than a block away.
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

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