Township of Uwchlan, PA
Chester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Uwchlan 10-10-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-07. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Alarm systems — See Ch. 82.
Barking dogs — See Ch. 87, Art. II.
Peddling and soliciting — See Ch. 184.
Solid waste collection — See Ch. 205.
Zoning — See Ch. 265.

§ 166-1 Title.

This chapter shall be known as the "Uwchlan Township Noise Control Ordinance."

§ 166-2 Purpose.

[Amended 6-13-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-02]
The purpose of this chapter is to ensure that public health, safety and welfare shall not be abridged by the making and creating of noise pollution or of public nuisances from disturbing, excessive or offensive noises in the Township. The Board of Supervisors of the Township recognizes that uncontrolled noise represents a danger to the health and/or welfare of the Township's residents and businesses and that each person in the community is entitled to live and work in an environment in which the level of impulsive and amplified noise is minimized for the community good. It is the purpose and scope of this chapter to provide regulations to prevent excessive noise and excessive vibration and to limit, control and eliminate excessive noise and excessive vibration in general from whatever source; control sound levels that vehicles, appliances and equipment shall be allowed to produce, and also to provide for the prohibition of other kinds of offensive noises. These regulations and provisions are intended to protect the physical, mental and social well-being of persons living, working and visiting in Uwchlan Township.

§ 166-3 Legislative findings.

[Amended 6-13-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-02]
The Board of Supervisors finds that failure of individuals, businesses, industries, persons maintaining animals, social gatherings and other activities to regulate the noise emanating from their premises constitutes a violation of the peace and enjoyment of the residents, employees and other occupants of the Township and a public nuisance. The Board of Supervisors further finds that no one has the right to create excessive noise or excessive vibration that intrudes into or onto the property of others. Specifically, such noise emanating from homes, occupations, businesses, industries, sound-amplification equipment, radios, electronic sound recording equipment, vehicles, persons maintaining animals, social gatherings, and other activities:
A. 
Creates a nuisance in that residents are deprived of the enjoyment of their homes, disturbed in their sleep, and otherwise prevented from the quiet enjoyment of their residential premises;
B. 
Is harmful and detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of the Township's inhabitants;
C. 
Affects the property values of real estate in the Township;
D. 
Affects the public welfare by reflecting negatively on the quality of life in residential areas of the Township;
E. 
Interferes with the conduct and operation of business and industry;
F. 
Disturbs the peace and good order of the Township; and
G. 
Creates noise pollution.

§ 166-4 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates that a different meaning is intended:
NOISE
Any sound emitted by a person, animal, appliance, equipment, instrument or other device.
ORDINANCE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
The Township Building Official, Zoning Officer, Manager, Solicitor and/or police officer.
[Amended 6-13-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-02]
PERSON
An individual, partnership, corporation, association, or any other entity or organization.
TOWNSHIP
The Township of Uwchlan, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

§ 166-5 Prohibitions; violations.

[Amended 6-13-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-02]
The making, creation or permitting of any noise in the Township of such character, intensity or duration, when heard or detected over the property line of the property within which the noise is generated, as to be detrimental to the life, health or welfare of a reasonable person of normal sensitivities or which either steadily or intermittently annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, peace or safety of a reasonable person of normal sensitivities is prohibited and is a violation of this chapter.

§ 166-6 Restricted noises enumerated.

[Amended 6-13-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-02]
Without in any manner intending to limit or restrict the generality of the restrictions, prohibitions and violations identified in § 166-5 above, the following acts, among others, are declared to be loud or disturbing or unnecessary noises in violation of this chapter and are prohibited or restricted as set forth in this § 166-6.
A. 
Animals and birds. The owning, possessing, harboring, keeping or controlling of any animal or bird which makes any noise continuously and/or incessantly for a period of five minutes or makes such noise intermittently for 1/2 hour or more to the disturbance of any person at any time of the day or night, regardless of whether the animal or bird is situated in or upon private property. Such noise is determined to be prohibited noise as described in § 166-5 above, provided that, at the time the animal or bird is making such noise, no person is trespassing or attempting to trespass upon private property in or upon which the animal or bird is situated.
B. 
Defect in vehicle or noisy load. The use of any automobile, motorcycle or other vehicle so out of repair or loaded in such a manner as to create loud or unnecessary grating, grinding, rattling or other noise, or those being operated contrary to manufacturer's specifications and/or without all standard noise-reducing equipment used, or with noise-reducing equipment that has been modified and is not in proper working condition.
C. 
Steam whistles. The blowing of any steam whistle attached to any stationary boiler, except to give notice of the time to begin or stop work or as a warning of danger.
D. 
Exhausts. The discharge into the open air of the exhaust of any steam engine, stationary internal combustion engine, motor vehicle or motorcycle engine except through a muffler or other device which meets the standards established for such devices by applicable laws and regulations or manufacturer's specifications.
E. 
Mechanical devices. The operation of machinery, equipment or other devices by compressed air unless the noise created thereby is effectively muffled and reduced.
F. 
Other devices. The playing, using or operating, or permitting to be played, used or operated, of any radio, tape player, cassette player, compact disc player, phonograph or other device which amplifies sound, or singing, shouting or playing of musical instruments in such a manner and at such a time which is generally considered to be inappropriate and which excessively or unreasonably disturbs the peace and quiet of the immediate neighborhood or surrounding area.
G. 
Parties. Acting in a noisy, loud, boisterous and unseemly manner so as to create noise that disturbs the peace and quiet of the community and the surrounding neighborhood.
H. 
Schools, courts, churches and hospitals. The creation of any loud or excessive noise on any street adjacent to any school or institution of learning or judicial court while the same are in session, or on any street adjacent to a church or religious institution while worship services are being conducted, or on any street adjacent to any hospital; this noise shall be a violation of this chapter only if signs are displayed on such streets indicating that the same is a school, hospital or court street or quiet zone.
I. 
Loading or unloading of vehicles; opening or destruction of boxes. The creation of a loud or excessive noise in connection with loading or unloading any vehicle or the opening or destruction of bales, boxes, crates and containers.
J. 
Devices attached to buildings. The sounding of any bell, gong, siren or device attached or adjacent to any building or premises, particularly during the hours between 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., which disturbs the quiet or repose of any persons in the vicinity of the devices. This prohibition shall not apply if the bell, gong or device is sounded as a warning of danger but shall apply in the case of a false alarm or a malfunctioning device.
K. 
Trains, vehicles and buses. The unnecessary or prolonged blowing or sounding of any horn, whistle, bell or other device attached to any train, locomotive, motor vehicle, bus or truck while passing through the Township or while loading or unloading passengers or freight within the Township.
L. 
Loudspeakers and amplifiers on vehicles. The use of mechanical loudspeakers or amplifiers on trucks or other vehicles for advertising or other commercial purposes, except where a specific license or permit is received from the Township.
M. 
Y. Construction activities. Building construction, demolition, excavation, trenching, grading, filling, grubbing, paving and all activities associated with land disturbance, land development and the construction, maintenance, repair and replacement of utilities, pipelines, streets, buildings and structures, including the operation, running, idling or moving of vehicles and equipment of any kind associated with the foregoing activities, when conducted between 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day, prevailing time, Monday through Friday; when conducted on Saturdays between 9:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. the following day, prevailing time; and when conducted anytime on Sundays or state or federal legal holidays. Notwithstanding the provisions of this § 166-6M, the construction, repair, replacement and maintenance of residential structures (but excluding land disturbance activities) is permitted on residential properties by the owners of the residential property and their contractors on Sundays and state and federal holidays between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., prevailing time.
N. 
Property maintenance. The use and operation of power lawn mowers, chain saws, trimmers, chippers, weed-whackers and other equipment for building and ground maintenance, when operated between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. the following day, prevailing time, any day of the week, except on Sunday, when such operation shall not commence until 9:00 a.m.

§ 166-7 Exemptions.

The following noises are exempt from the provisions of this chapter:
A. 
Emergency construction, repair, paving, demolition or alteration of a street or building. Permission of the Township Manager, or his designee, or the Zoning Officer, when practical, shall be proof that such emergency exists.
[Amended 6-13-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-02]
B. 
Emergency activities of municipal, county, state or federal government agencies and emergency activities of public utilities when they are seeking to provide electricity, water or other public utility services and the public health, safety or welfare are involved, including sirens and warning devices on or adjacent to facilities operated by governmental entities and agencies, and emergency service providers.
C. 
All safety signals and warning devices (e.g., intrusion alarms, backup alarms on trucks) except false alarms and malfunctioning devices; authorized vehicles when responding to emergencies (e.g., police, fire, ambulance sirens or any other device used to alert persons to an emergency or used during the conduct of emergency or traffic work).
D. 
Power lawn mowers, chain saws, trimmers, weed-whackers, snow-removal equipment and other equipment for building and ground maintenance, when operated between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays and 9:00 a.m. through 9:00 p.m. on Sundays, provided that such are operated within the manufacturer's specifications and with all standard noise-reducing equipment in use, unmodified, and in proper operating condition.
[Amended 6-13-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-02]
E. 
Generators and snow removal equipment during emergencies, provided such are operated within the manufacturer's specifications and with all standard noise-reducing equipment in use, unmodified and in proper operating condition.
F. 
Window or through-the-wall heating, ventilation and air-conditioning units and fans not exceeding a rating of 25,000 BTUs, and individual heating, ventilation and air-conditioning condensers, compressors and fans serving single-family detached or single-family attached dwellings, provided that they are operated within the manufacturer's specifications, properly maintained and operated, and used with noise-reducing equipment installed by the manufacturer unmodified and in proper working condition.
[Amended 6-13-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-02]
G. 
Vehicles collecting solid waste and recyclables when operated during hours as authorized by the Township.
H. 
All motor vehicles being operated in Uwchlan Township, provided that such are operated within the manufacturer's specifications and with all standard noise-reducing equipment in use, unmodified and in proper working condition.
I. 
Parades, bands and other musical, recreational and athletic events conducted by or permitted by schools or local government or with Township approval.
J. 
Bells, chimes and carillons used for religious purposes or in conjunction with national celebrations or public holidays.
K. 
Weapons firing ranges existing as of June 13, 2016.
[Amended 6-13-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-02]
L. 
Farm animals and farm-related operations and activities on properties where agricultural uses are permitted by the Township Zoning Ordinance, provided that such activities are normal and customary agricultural practices.
[Amended 6-13-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-02]
M. 
Activities permitted by special waiver as provided by § 166-8 below.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection N, regarding existing legitimate or licensed businesses, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 6-13-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-02.

§ 166-8 Special variances; permits.

A. 
Any person may request a special variance to any of the prohibitions of this chapter by filing a written request with the Township Manager, with such information that the Manager may reasonably require. In determining whether to grant or deny the request, the Manager shall balance the hardship to the applicant, the community and other persons of not granting the variance against the adverse impact on the health, safety and welfare of the persons affected, the adverse impact on the property affected, and any other adverse impact.
B. 
If the Township Manager determines that the requested variance will not cause an adverse impact on the health, safety or welfare of the community, a permit may be issued specifying the noise permitted, the hours and days authorized and the duration of the permit. In granting the permit, the Township Manager may attach such other reasonable conditions and safeguards as he may deem necessary to carry out the legislative findings and intent and purposes of this chapter. The permit shall not become effective until all conditions are agreed to by the applicant.
C. 
Noncompliance with any of the conditions of the permit shall terminate it without further notice to the applicant; the noise activity shall immediately cease, and the applicant shall be subject to all of the provisions of this chapter.
[Amended 6-13-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-02]

§ 166-9 Prevailing standards.

Whenever any provision of this chapter conflicts with any other applicable municipal, county, state or federal ordinance or statute, the stricter standard shall prevail.

§ 166-10 Nuisance, injunction.

Any violation of this chapter is declared to be a public nuisance and may be abated by administrative or judicial proceedings, fines and penalties as provided in this chapter. In addition to any other relief provided by this chapter, the Township Solicitor or any resident or taxpayer of the Township may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction for an injunction to prohibit the continuation of any violation of this chapter. Such application for relief may include seeking a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction and permanent injunction.

§ 166-11 Enforcement; violations and penalties.

[Amended 10-22-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-04; 6-13-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-02]
A. 
Any Township Ordinance Enforcement Officer may issue an order requiring the immediate abatement of any source of sound in violation of this chapter. If a person does not comply with the abatement order upon its issuance, the Ordinance Enforcement Officer is authorized to enforce the provisions of the chapter by any available legal remedy, including the issuance of a summary citation for any violation of this chapter.
B. 
Any person, firm or corporation found in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter by a Magisterial District Judge in a summary proceeding shall be ordered to pay a penalty as set forth herein, and a each day a violation occurs or continues shall be a separate offense. A person, firm or corporation shall be fined not more than $1,000 for each separate offense. For any offense, a person shall also pay all court costs including reasonable attorneys' fees incurred by the Township in the enforcement of this chapter. In default of payment thereof, the defendant may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days. Each violation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall constitute a separate violation and shall be subject to separate and distinct penalties.
C. 
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to impair any cause of action or legal remedy of any person or the public for injury or damage arising from the generation from whatever source of noise which may give rise to such cause of action.