Town of Wheatfield, NY
Niagara County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Wheatfield 10-15-1990 by L.L. No. 3-1990. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Animals — See Ch. 60.
Peddling and soliciting — See Ch. 127.
Zoning — See Ch. 200.

§ 118-1 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AMBIENT NOISE
All encompassing noise associated with a given environment.
BAND PRESSURE LEVEL
The band pressure level of a sound for a specified frequency band is the sound pressure level for the sound contained within the restricted band. The reference pressure must be specified.
BEL
A unit of level when the base of a logarithm is 10 and is restricted to levels of quantities proportional to power.
CYCLE
The complete sequence of values of a periodic quantity that occur during a period.
DECIBEL
One-tenth of a bel, and is a unit of level when the base of the logarithm is the tenth root of 10 and the quantities concerned are proportionally to power.
DECIBEL A SCALE or dB(A)
The noise level metering device is using the A-weighted network to duplicate how the human ear hears the noise.
DURATION
The duration of a transient noise is the period of time the noise from a linear-moving device or vehicle is distinguished from the ambient noise.
EQUIPMENT, DEVICE or VEHICLE
These terms may be used interchangeable and are known as a unit which may be used for work or recreational purposes which creates noise and disturbs, as provided herein, whether it is hand driven or operated or is mechanically, electrically or electronically powered or operated.
FIELD VEHICLE
A unit which may be used for recreational purposes which creates noise and disturbs, as provided herein, whether it is hand driven or operated or is mechanically, electrically or electronically powered or operated and is not specified, built or mufflered for street or highway traffic (i.e., moto-dirt-bike, minibike, moto-cross-bike).
FREQUENCY
The frequency of a function periodic in time is the reciprocal of the primitive period. The unit is the cycle per unit time and must be specified.
LINEAR
Any linear moving device or vehicle shall be considered as one that can be maneuvered or moves about (i.e., auto, boat, helicopter).
MICROBARS
A unit of pressure commonly used in acoustics and is equal to one dyne per square centimeter.
NOISE
Any increase in the ambient noise heard and measured in §§ 118-3 and 118-4 or otherwise determined and confirmed. Noise is divided into the following categories:
A. 
Any noise having a duration of six seconds up to one minute shall be considered a transient noise.
B. 
Any noise caused by any mechanical device (as provided in § 118-2N) that continues in excess of one minute shall be considered a steady noise (i.e., air conditioner, compressor, device or a vehicle with the motor running while parked or standing).
C. 
Any noise caused by actions involving pounding, chipping, hammering or explosive-discharge noise.
PERSON
Includes the singular and plural and shall also mean and include any persons, firm, corporation, association, club, partnership, society, union or any other form of association or organization.
SOUND ANALYZER
A device for measuring the band 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 weighing networks) for the measurement of noise and sound levels in the manner provided by this chapter.
SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL
The sound pressure level, in decibels, of a sound is 20 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 is also used to signify continuous range of components usually wide in extent within which waves have some specified characteristics, such as audio-frequency spectrum, and is also applied to functions of variables other than time.
WIND-MEASURING GAUGE
A device to monitor the wind velocity up to the equivalent of 12 miles per hour.

§ 118-2 Prohibited noises enumerated.

The following acts, among others, are declared to be prima facie evidence of a violation of this chapter and declared to be unnecessary noises prohibited herein, and any lists or enumerations herein shall not be deemed to be exclusive:
A. 
The distinct and full sounding of any horn or signal instrument on any automobile, bus, other device or vehicle except as a warning of danger or distress or as a warning signal pursuant to the provisions of § 375, Subdivision 1, of the Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of New York; or on any boat, except as a warning of danger or distress or as a warning signal pursuant to applicable navigation laws.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
B. 
The operation of any radio, phonograph, tape recorder, movies, television and other prerecorded and/or any mechanically amplified sound or use of any musical instrument or drum(s) in such manner or with such volume so as to disturb a reasonable person of normal auditory sensitivities, as provided herein, due to structure-borne sound transmission from an individual abutting dwelling space, between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., and provided that all available precautions are taken to prevent airborne sound transmission from an individual abutting dwelling space.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
C. 
The keeping of any animal or bird in such manner as to cause frequent or long continued noise which shall disturb a reasonable person of normal auditory sensitivities.[3]
[3]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
D. 
The use, stationary or moving, of any automobile, motorcycle, snowmobile or other transport device or vehicle so out of repair, altered, modified or loaded in such manner as to create loud and unnecessary explosive noises, grating, grinding, rattling or other noise so as to disturb a reasonable person of normal auditory sensitivities as provided herein.[4]
[4]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
E. 
The blowing of any steam whistle attached to any stationery boiler, the sounding of a signaling device or tone(s), except to give notice of the time of day or time to begin or stop work or as a warning of danger, unless otherwise authorized by the Town Board.
F. 
The discharge into the open air of the exhaust of any steam engine, stationery internal-combustion engine or internal-combustion engine of a linear moving device or vehicle (except field vehicle), including engine and gear noises, except according to the engine manufacturer's specified and approved operating efficiency and accompanying exhaust system muffler(s) or equivalent device(s), which will effectively prevent loud or explosive noises therefrom; the recurrent, intermittent or constant charges or internal-combustion engine RPM noises, bursts and the accompanying abnormal exhaust system and muffler noises, although the engine manufacturer's specified and approved exhaust system and muffler(s) are used.
G. 
The operating of heavy equipment (i.e., tractor, bulldozer) for the purpose of erection, excavation, demolition and alteration or repairs involved in any building or construction project other than between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, except in case of urgent necessity in the interest of public safety, and then only with a special permit from the Building Department, which permit may be renewed for a period of three days or less while the emergency continues, and/or subject to the undue hardship provisions under § 118-5, as follows:
(1) 
Manual labor and the customary use of hand tools, in excess of 50 dB(A), for the purpose of erection, excavation, demolition and major alteration and repairs involved in any building or construction project other than between the period of sunrise to sunset, and then only subject to a building permit.
(2) 
The operation of equipment with noise emission that affects the outdoor atmosphere (i.e., generator, fan, pump), exceeding the dB(A) tables in § 118-3 (including impact noises as from a business or commercial establishment), except when operated at the equipment manufacturer's approved efficiency and sound level and operated with necessary noise suppression equipment, sound barriers, sound-absorbing screens and devices commensurate with the state of the art as may be determined and recommended by an officially accepted sound engineering consultant, as follows: noise emission increase of existing equipment that affects the outdoor atmosphere and/or new or additional units of equipment that may substantially increase the sound level, except when properly evaluated for overall noise control and special permission of the Town Board.
H. 
The creation of any excessive noise on any street adjacent to any church, school, institution of learning or court, while the same is in session, or adjacent to any hospital, nursing home or similar institution which shall unreasonably disturb, as provided herein, the workings of such institutions, provided that conspicuous signs are displayed in such streets indicating that the same is a church, school, institution of learning, court, hospital, nursing home or similar institution on the street.
I. 
The creation of a loud and excessive noise which shall disturb a reasonable person of normal auditory sensitivities, as provided herein, in connection with loading or unloading any vehicle or the opening and destruction of boxes, crates or containers.[5]
[5]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
J. 
The shouting and crying of peddlers, hawkers and vendors which disturbs the peace and quiet of the neighborhood, except as may be required subject to a license to conduct such business, or work at a sports event, parade, fair, convention, circus or other similar public events.[6]
[6]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 127, Peddling and Soliciting.
K. 
The use of any drum, loudspeaker or other instrument or device for the purpose of attracting attention to any performance, show or sale or display of merchandise by the creation of noise.
L. 
The use of a mechanical loudspeaker(s) or amplifier(s) on a linear-moving device or vehicle, including a truck, boat or flying machine, for advertising or other purposes.
M. 
The use of any radio apparatus, talking machine, amplifier or loudspeaker attached hereto in such manner that the sound therefrom is directed into the open out-of-doors or from an enclosed space which shall disturb a reasonable person of normal auditory sensitivities, as provided herein; or the use of any radio apparatus, talking machine, amplifier or loudspeaker which is in any way fastened to or connected with any outside wall or window of any building or structure so that the sound therefrom is projected outside of such outside wall or window which shall disturb a reasonable person of normal auditory sensitivities, as provided in § 118-3C, Table 2. Nothing herein contained shall be construed to prevent the operation of any radio, phonograph, tape recorder, movies, television and other prerecorded and/or mechanically amplified sound or use of any musical instrument used in a reasonable manner by any person within any building or structure, provided that said equipment or musical instrument is not so arranged that sound therefrom is projected directly outside of any building or out-of-doors.[7]
[7]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
N. 
The operation of any machinery, equipment, pump, fan, exhaust fan, exhaust air under pressure, attic fan, air-conditioning apparatus, swimming pool pump or similar mechanical device in such continuous manner as to create noise levels exceeding those under § 118-3C, Table 2 (see also exceptions under Subsection O below).
O. 
Exceptions. The following exceptions shall apply:
(1) 
In a case where the engine manufacturer's specified and approved exhaust system or muffler is broken or out of repair in connection with a device or vehicle which is a necessary means of transportation or similar emergency and the operator is making a conscientious and deliberate effort to keep the engine acceleration to a minimum for operating the device or vehicle, until the necessary and proper repair is made within four working days after the defect occurs to conform to the engine manufacturer's specified and approved exhaust system and muffler(s) or equivalent noise control.
(2) 
An initial engine start with high RPM engine warm-up noise, up to five minutes, that may be due to unusual engine malfunction or due to lack of experience by the operator, as opposed to recurrent, intermittent engine start or constant unnecessary charges or internal-combustion engine RPM bursts and the accompanying exhaust system and muffler noises after warm-up time, whether from a stationary or linear-moving device or vehicle.
(3) 
A school or church event, public or private social event for multiple participants and observers conducted under cooperative or reciprocating arrangements with a surrounding neighborhood, including necessary considerations for any apparent special needs for sound or noise level restraints and time limits and may be subject to undue hardship provisions under § 118-5. Special events or meets which are not held in a customary enclosure by their special nature are subject to the undue hardship provisions under § 118-5.
(4) 
Occasional or irregular creative work noise and repair work noise in excess of 50 dB(A) that may occur in or around a home, involving a combination of noises (transient, steady, impact) in the maintenance and improvement of the premises and equipment therefor by others or by the occupants thereof (i.e., lawn mower, garden tractor, vacuum cleaner, hedge trimmer, chipping, hammering nails) between the period of sunrise to sunset, personal judgment notwithstanding, when and where it is apparent that there are special customary needs for quiet.
(5) 
Any noise generated by agricultural activities, including but not limited to animal noise and noise generated by farm equipment.
(6) 
Any noise generated by dog or other animal kennels between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Dog or other animal kennels shall comply with all provisions of this chapter between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.[8]
[8]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 200, Zoning.
P. 
Infringement upon the right of privacy.
(1) 
To intentionally engage in or be responsible for a course of loud or obstreperous conduct, even though not to a level in violation of §§ 118-3 and 118-4, which materially interferes with or disrupts another in the conduct of lawful activities at his home; provided, however, that where the loud or obstreperous conduct consists solely of natural speech or communication by or between people, such shall not be prohibited under this subsection unless it is used as a guise to materially interfere with or disrupt another in the conduct of lawful activities at his or her home and that is the result.
(2) 
The following standards and definitions shall be used in the application of this subsection:
(a) 
The person(s) engaging in such conduct must be at a location other than the complainant's home and not attending a bona fide outdoor public event such as a sports event.
(b) 
The term "home" shall include the physical residence as well as the outside premises.
(c) 
The term "another" shall include all members of the household as well as others rightfully on the premises.
(d) 
The person(s) is not to be convicted of a violation unless it has been communicated to him or her or to someone on the same property upon which he or she is located that conduct in violation of this subsection is occurring or has recently occurred, and after such communication the same is repeated or continued; provided, however, that in the event that there has been both a similar situation within the previous 48 hours and a communication about it, then no such communication need be made; and further, there need be no such communication where there have been four or more such situations and communications within any six-month period.
(e) 
If such conduct originates upon private property and the owner or some other person with authority to control that property is present at the time that such conduct occurs, that person shall also be held responsible for the conduct under this subsection.
(f) 
This subsection shall be in full force and effect 24 hours every day.

§ 118-3 Limitation of noise.

A. 
No person shall operate or cause to be operated any mechanism, device or vehicle (aircraft, Federal Aviation Agency noise regulations notwithstanding) which shall create a noise within the Town of Wheatfield exceeding the db(A) noise limitation as set forth herein, as measured on a sound-level meter using the A-weighted scale with slow response.
B. 
Limiting levels for transient noise.
(1) 
Table 1 shall be as follows.
Table 1
Limiting Levels for Transient Noise
Daytime (7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.)
Nighttime (7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.)
85 dB(A)
85 dB(A)
(2) 
In the Town of Wheatfield from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., the limits herein set forth shall apply to transient noises having a duration in excess of 12 seconds, pursuant to noise regulations of the New York State Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency notwithstanding.
(3) 
In the Town of Wheatfield from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., the same limits shall apply to transient noises having a duration in excess of six seconds.
C. 
Limiting levels for steady noise. Table 2 shall be as follows:
Table 2
Limiting Levels for Steady Noise
Daytime (9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.)
Nighttime (11:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.)
65 dB(A)
50 dB(A)

§ 118-4 Measurement of noise.

Noise measurements and limits shall conform to the following practices:
A. 
Noise shall be measured at an altitude between 500 and 700 feet above sea level with wind velocity less than 12 miles per hour and microphone wind screen in place using a sound-level meter conforming to American National Standards Institute Type II Standards and set at slow meter reading response.
B. 
Measurement of transient noise emanating from any linear moving device or vehicle, including but not limited to motor vehicles, shall be made at or adjusted to a distance of 50 feet from the longitude center line of the device or vehicle, with the microphone three to five feet above the ground.
C. 
Steady noise, including manual creative work noise and repair work noise, shall be measured at three feet from the major surface (i.e., floor, wall) of residences, buildings or structures used primarily for sleeping purposes by people, with the microphone three to five feet above the ground.

§ 118-5 Undue hardship; permit.

A. 
Applications for a permit for relief from the noise level designated in this chapter on the basis of undue hardship may be made to the Town Supervisor or the duly authorized representative. Any permit granted therefor shall contain all conditions upon which said permit has been granted and shall specify a reasonable time that the permit shall be effective. The Town Supervisor or the duly authorized representative may grant the relief as applied when it is found as follows:
(1) 
That additional time is necessary for the applicant to alter or modify his or her activity or operation to comply with this chapter.
(2) 
That the activity, operation or noise source will be of temporary duration and cannot be done in a manner that would comply with §§ 118-2 through 118-4.
(3) 
That no other reasonable alternative is available to the applicant.
B. 
The Town Supervisor may prescribe any conditions or requirements that seem necessary to minimize adverse effects upon the community or the surrounding neighborhood.

§ 118-6 Exemption for emergency vehicles and licensed activities.

A. 
The requirements, prohibitions and terms of this chapter shall not apply to any authorized emergency vehicle when responding to an emergency call or acting in time of emergency.
B. 
The terms of this chapter shall not apply to those activities of a temporary duration permitted by law and for which a license or permit therefor has been granted by the Town, including but not limited to parades and fireworks displays.
C. 
The terms of this chapter shall not apply to the operation of any vehicles or equipment when responding to an emergency or a declared general state of emergency (i.e., civil defense, storm).

§ 118-7 Field vehicles.

A. 
Noise from a field vehicle, as defined in § 118-1, operated at a given premises shall be classified as steady noise, and when such vehicle(s) is capable of disturbing, as provided herein, shall not be operated at a distance separation less than 1,000 feet from a location or point normally occupied by people or from a known or approved sanctuary for birds and animals.
B. 
Such field vehicle(s) may be operated on a premises at a lesser distance separation, provided that the owner or the owner's superior (parent or guardian) can first of all prove to the designated enforcement official(s) by a suitable method, for the public record, that a given field vehicle is properly and permanently altered so that the vehicle (or group of vehicles so altered) can be certified for permission to be operated at the limiting levels for transient noise under § 118-3B, Table 1, and adjusted for distance separation. However, these limitations shall not be construed to prevent the owner or operator of a field vehicle from traveling to or from home or points normally occupied by people, as provided above (New York State Vehicle and Traffic Laws notwithstanding), but at a safe, low RPM and dB(A) noise level, to the specified premises and distance separation for operating such field vehicle(s) at the desired RPM and noise level. A warning is given: Such high RPM and noise level may injure the hearing and mental health of the operator and consenting persons. The distance separation specified herein may be reduced, upon approval of the Town Board, for given locations, depending upon sound barriers and guaranties for the physical and mental safety of the nearby residents.

§ 118-8 Sound-level meter requirements; arrest of minors; impoundment of devices.

A. 
A sound-level meter conforming to ANSI (American National Standards Institute) Type II Standards shall be used and shall be calibrated officially on the day of sound-level meter measurement involving a violation for arrest, and such device shall immediately be checked against the calibrator in the presence of an official witness. The calibrator shall be calibrated at least annually. The wind velocity gauge shall conform to accepted standards and shall be checked periodically for accuracy.
B. 
Apprehension and arrest shall be made by a law enforcement officer in conjunction with the administration of this chapter by a person designated by the Town board who is certified as qualified to take sound measurements as provided in this chapter as follows: a minor violating this chapter while operating a field vehicle shall be apprehended or otherwise be required to give his or her identify and address and shall be warned, and such warning shall be delivered to the parent(s) or guardian(s) of such minor on the form prescribed. If and when an additional violation is discovered, the parent(s) or guardian(s) of such minor shall be notified and may be subject to the penalties under § 118-9. In the event of a third violation within a six-month period, a summary arrest shall be made, after which the violator may be released and the device or vehicle involved shall be impounded at a place prescribed by the Town Board for a period not to exceed six months, without regard that the device or vehicle impounded may not be the exact same model of the device or vehicle which was involved in the first and second violation.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 118-9 Penalties for offenses.

A. 
The provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed to prevent excessive, unreasonable, disturbing and unnecessary noise, due consideration being given to the circumstances, time of day, particular location of each violation and the demands of the public health, safety and welfare.
B. 
Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, every person, as defined in § 118-1, violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed to have committed a violation against this chapter, and, upon conviction therefor, such person shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250 or imprisonment not to exceed 15 days, or both such fine and imprisonment for each and every violation. The continuation of a violation against the provisions of this chapter shall constitute, for each day the violation is continued, a separate and distinct violation hereunder.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
C. 
Except as otherwise provided by law, such a violation shall not be a crime and the penalty or punishment imposed heretofore shall not be deemed for any purpose a penal or criminal penalty or punishment and shall not impose any disability upon or affect or impair the credibility as a witness, or otherwise, of any person convicted thereof.