[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Athens as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Outdoor Use of Sound by Commercial Establishments
[Adopted 10-24-2012 by L.L. No. 3-2012]
The Village of Athens seeks to regulate the auditory environment for aesthetic and safety reasons. This regulation is a vital function of the government and is similar to the orderly regulations the government places on others forms of communication such as restricted use of flashing lights; the color, size and placement of signs. The Village of Athens wants to maintain expressive activity in the community while maintaining and enhancing the environment and to advance the safety and welfare of the community.
The purpose of this article is to protect and improve the residential livability and the entertainment product of the Village of Athens, while providing for effective means of communication, consistent with constitutional guarantees. Additionally, the regulation of outdoor sounds will have a positive impact on traffic safety, police enforcement and enjoyment of the community.
The Village of Athens attracts visitors who come to listen to music, particularly the live performance of music, which provides significant entertainment value to our visitors.
With greater frequency, clashes between residents, homeowners, and commercial establishments have suffered from conflicts regarding noise associated with the commercial business providing entertainment to its customers and the desire for the residents to enjoy peace and quiet during the evening and overnight hours. This is a by-product of the success and popularity enjoyed by these commercial businesses. A review of the complaints revealed that the commercial establishments providing outdoor entertainment in the late evening was the cause of the majority of the conflicts.
The Village of Athens endeavors to provide adequate means of expression and promote the economic viability of the business community, while protecting the Village and its citizens from a proliferation of sounds that would adversely impact upon the aesthetics of the Village and threaten the health, safety and welfare of the community.
The Village of Athens Police Department has a history of calls to commercial establishments that broadcast sound using outdoor amplified sound and/or outdoor speakers. The noise levels from the outdoor speakers adversely impact neighbors and residents of the Village of Athens.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- COMMERCIAL ESTABLISHMENT
- All premises where sales, professional or other commercial activities are legally permitted by zoning or otherwise, except that residences with lawful home occupations are considered residential.
- Not fully enclosed by permanent, solid walls and a roof or not within the fully enclosed portions of a building.
- SOUND AMPLIFICATIONS OR PRODUCING DEVICE OR SIMILAR EQUIPMENT
- Radio, radio receiving set, phonograph, stereo, tape player, cassette player, compact disc player, boom box, loudspeaker, karaoke player, drum, juke box, nickelodeon, musical instrument; sound amplifier or other device which produces, reproduces, or amplifies sound.
It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to play, use, operate or permit to be played, used or operated any sound amplification or producing device or similar equipment outdoors on the premises of a commercial establishment during the following days and times:
Weekdays (Monday night through Friday morning) between the hours of 10:00 p.m. through 8:00 a.m.
Weekends (Friday night through Sunday morning) between the hours of 11:00 p.m. through 8:00 a.m.
Sunday night between the hours of 9:00 p.m. through 8:00 a.m., unless it is a three-day weekend, national holiday or Fourth of July wherein weekend night timing will be permitted.
All commercial establishments shall maintain a moderate and reasonable level of sound that does not overly disturb the peace of the surrounding area. Every effort should be made to buffer the sound with the placement of sound-producing equipment and sound barriers. It shall be the responsibility of the law enforcement agency who responds to a complaint of disturbance of peace to make a decision on the level of disturbance.
Any outdoor musical venue by a commercial establishment will require an annual permit from the Village of Athens detailing the type of musical venue and adherence to the above noise level and time constraints.
Any annual outdoor event, such as the annual Village of Athens Street Festival or concerts in the Village of Athens public parks, shall also require a special permit from the Village of Athens Board.
The Village will have the authority to issue a permit for special occasions.
The Village will have the ability to revoke any permit for violations of this article.