Town of Poughkeepsie, NY
Dutchess County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Poughkeepsie 6-20-2007 by L.L. No. 11-2007.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Animals — See Ch. 57.
Mass public assemblies — See Ch. 60.
Peddling and soliciting — See Ch. 151.
Zoning — See Ch. 210.
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former Ch. 139, Noise, adopted 9-21-1983 (Part II, Ch. 11, Art. IV, of the 1964 Code), as amended.

§ 139-1 Findings; legislative authority.

The proliferation of unreasonably loud noises in the Town of such character, intensity, duration or repetition as to be detrimental to the life, health or safety of any individual or of the public has reached such proportions that the Town Board, pursuant to the authority of § 130 of the Town Law of the State of New York and New York Constitution, Articles IX and II, to preserve, protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare, has adopted a noise control ordinance which, pursuant to the standards hereinafter set forth, shall delineate permitted noise levels within the town.

§ 139-2 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the terms used herein shall be defined as follows:
ANSI
The American National Standards Institute or its successor bodies.
A-WEIGHTED SOUND LEVEL
The frequency-weighted sound pressure level (in decibels) measured on a sound-level meter with an A-weighted scale as specified in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) specifications for sound-level meters S1.4-1983 (R2006)/ANSI S1.4a-1985 (R2006).
DECIBEL
A unit for measuring the volume of sound equal to 20 times the logarithm to the base of 10 of the ratio of the pressure of the sound measured to the reference pressure which is 20 micropascals (20 micronewtons per square meter).
EMERGENCY
A public calamity or the exposure of any person or property to imminent danger.
EMERGENCY WORK
Work or activity that is necessary to prevent or recover from an emergency, including but not limited to work to repair electric, gas, water, sewerage and telephone services.
L
The A-weighted sound level measured with slow response that is exceeded 10% of the time.
L50
The A-weighted sound level measured with slow response that is exceeded 50% of the time.
L90
The A-weighted sound level measured with slow response that is exceeded 90% of the time.
LEVEL
The logarithm of the ratio of a quantity to a reference of the same kind. The base of the logarithm is 10. The kind of level and the reference must be specified.
NOISE OF IMPULSIVE CHARACTER
Bursts of sound usually less than one second's duration, for example, explosions and gunshots, which significantly exceed the ambient sound level of the areas.
NOISE OF PERIODIC CHARACTER
A sound of short duration punctuated by pauses of indefinite duration; for example, a power saw.
OWNER
Any person who has regular control of a device or site, including but not limited to the owner of a freehold of the premises or lesser estate therein or mortgagees thereof or an agent or lessee of such person.
PERSON
Any individual, partnership, company, public or private corporation, association, firm, organization, political subdivision, governmental agency, administration or department, municipality, trust, estate, group of individuals or any other legal entity whatsoever.
RECREATIONAL VEHICLE
Any vehicle which is propelled by any power other than muscular power that is designated for or capable of cross-country travel, such as a motorcycle, trail bike or minibike, but not a snowmobile. A recreational vehicle is also classed as a motor vehicle when such recreational vehicle is operated or driven upon a public highway.
REFUSE COMPACTING VEHICLE
Any vehicle which is designated to be used or is actually used to compact and transfer refuse, garbage or trash.
SNOWMOBILE
Any self-propelled vehicle designed for travel on snow or ice, steered by skis or runners and supported in whole or part by one or more skis, belts or cleats.
SOUND LEVEL
The quantity in decibels measured by a sound-level meter satisfying the requirements of American National Standards Institute Specification for Sound-Level Meters S1.4-1983 (R2006)/ANSI S1.4a-1985 (R2006). This publication is available from the American National Standards Institute, Inc.'s webstore at www.webstore.ansi.org or by calling customer service at (212) 642-4900 for the name of a hard copy or compact disc reseller. "Sound level" is the frequency-weighted sound pressure level obtained with the standardized dynamic characteristic "fast" or "slow" and weighting A, B or C; unless indicated otherwise, the A-weighting with a slow response is understood.
SOUND-LEVEL METER
An instrument including a microphone, an amplifier, an output meter and frequency weighing network for the measurement of sound levels. Sound-level meters shall conform to the requirements of ANSI specifications for sound-level meters S1.4-1983 (R2006)/ANSI S1.4a-1985 (R2006), Type 1 or Type 2.
SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL
Twenty times the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of the root mean squared pressure of a sound to a reference pressure of 20 micropascals. The unit applied to this measure shall be the decibel (dB).
TOWN
The Town of Poughkeepsie, situated within the County of Dutchess and State of New York.
A. 
Any excessive or unusually loud sound which injures or endangers the repose, health, peace or safety of a reasonable person or which causes injury to animal life or damages to a person's property or business.
B. 
The factors which will be used to determine that noise is unreasonable to a reasonable person are:
(1) 
The noise occurs at night between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., rather than during the day;
(2) 
The source of the sound is permanent, rather than temporary;
(3) 
The noise is of a periodic or impulsive character, rather than continual and steady;
(4) 
The noise intrudes into a residential district or an area with sleeping facilities, including residences, apartments, motels, hotels or college dormitories;
(5) 
The duration of the noise is prolonged, rather than short;
(6) 
The noise is reoccurring on an intermittent basis, rather than continual and steady;
(7) 
The noise is louder and more intense than the volume and intensity of the background noise in the area; and
(8) 
The noise in unnatural, rather than sound normally occurring in nature.
C. 
Unreasonable noise emanating from private property shall be measured or determined at the adjoining property line or, in the case of a multiple residence, within the adjoining or adjacent apartment or hallway. Unreasonable noise emanating from public property shall be measured or determined at a distance of 50 feet or more from the sound source, at the adjoining property line or, in the case of a multiple residence, within the adjoining or adjacent apartment or hallway, whichever is closer.
ZONING DISTRICT
The zoning district within which a particular premises is situated shall be as indicated by the Zoning Ordinance of the Town then in effect.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 210, Zoning.

§ 139-3 Unreasonable noise prohibited; exception.

No person shall make or continue or cause or permit to be made or continued any unreasonable noise. Noncommercial public speaking and public assembly activities conducted in any public space shall be exempt from the operation of this section. While decibel readings provide presumptive evidence of unreasonable noise pursuant to § 139-5C, a decibel reading is not required to prove a violation of this chapter.

§ 139-4 Unlawful noises.

The following acts and the causing thereof are declared to be in violation of this chapter:
A. 
Drums. The playing or the permitting of playing a drum or drum set between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. in a manner so as to create unreasonable noise.
B. 
Building construction. Operating or permitting the operation of any tool or equipment used in construction, drilling or demolition work, including excavation, and the alteration or repair of any building between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., except in the case of an emergency or the interests of public safety and then only with the permit of the Building Inspector, which permit may be issued for a maximum period of three days and may be renewed once for a maximum period of three days during the existence of the emergency period.
C. 
Refuse compacting. The operation of a refuse compacting vehicle in the process of compacting or collecting refuse contained in a dumpster or similar receptacle between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. or the operation of a refuse compacting vehicle in the process of compacting or collecting refuse contained in individual garbage cans between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
D. 
Amplified sound. The using, operating of or permitting to be used or operated any device for producing, reproducing or amplifying sound, including, but not limited to, a radio, tape player, compact disc player, digital video disc player, or television, in such a manner so as to create unreasonable noise.
E. 
Horns and signaling devices. The sounding of any horn, signaling device or alarm (except as a danger warning, pursuant to § 375 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of New York) so as to create unreasonable noise.
F. 
Shouting and yelling. Shouting, yelling, singing, calling, hooting or whistling so as to create unreasonable noise.
G. 
Fraternities and sororities, private clubs, meeting halls and private residences. Noise from parties, entertainment, music or social gatherings of any kind, whether public or private, which creates unreasonable noise.
H. 
Engines. The operation, including the stationary idling, of any engine, including, but not limited to, an automobile, truck, motorcycle, motorbike, motorboat or minibike engine, so as to create unreasonable noise.
I. 
Heavy equipment. The operation of any pile driver, bulldozer, pneumatic hammer, grinder or other construction equipment which creates unreasonable noise, except between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on weekdays, and between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Saturdays, except as may otherwise be permitted by the Building Inspector in cases of urgent necessity in the interest of public safety. The operation or use of such heavy equipment on Sundays and legal holidays is prohibited.
[Amended 10-1-2014 by L.L. No. 16-2014]
J. 
Machinery. The operation of any machinery, equipment, pump, fan, air-conditioning apparatus or other mechanical device in such a manner as to create unreasonable noise.
K. 
Loading and unloading. The loading or unloading of any materials, equipment, or the handling of bales, boxes, crates, containers or similar objects so as to create unreasonable noise.
L. 
Domestic animals. Barking, squawking, whining, howling, neighing or other sounds of domestic animals that occur so as to create unreasonable noise.
M. 
Explosives, firearms and similar devices. The use or firing of explosives, firearms or similar devices so as to create unreasonable noise. The lawful use of firearms for hunting or at a firing range or at a gun club shall not constitute a violation of this chapter.
N. 
Vibration. The operating or permitting the operation of any device that creates vibration which is above the vibration perception threshold of an individual beyond the property where the source is located. For the purposes of this section, "vibration perception threshold" means the minimum ground- or structure-borne vibrational motion necessary to cause a normal person to be aware of the vibration by such direct means as, but not limited to, sensation by touch or visual observation of moving objects.
O. 
Recreational vehicles. The operation of any recreational vehicle off a public highway at any time, at any speed or under any condition of grade, load, acceleration or deceleration or in any manner whatsoever as to exceed 92 dBA. The limit shall apply at a distance of 50 feet from such recreational vehicle. All measurements will be made on the A-weighted sound level of a sound-level meter with a slow response.
P. 
Snowmobiles. The operation of any snowmobile at any time, at any speed or under any condition or grade, load, acceleration or deceleration or in any manner whatsoever so as to exceed 92 dBA. The limit shall apply at a distance of 50 feet from such snowmobile. All measurements will be made on the A-weighted sound level of a sound-level meter with a slow response.
Q. 
Air-conditioning and air-handling devices.
(1) 
Except as provided by Subsection Q(4) of this section, the operation of an air-conditioning or air-handling device that exceeds the maximum sound-level limitations provided in this section. All measurements will be made on the A-weighted sound level of a sound-level meter with a slow response.
(2) 
In areas zoned residential, continuous sound in air which has crossed a property line shall not exceed any of the following sound levels:
(a) 
Fifty-five dBA at any point; or
(b) 
Fifty dBA outside of a living area window with the microphone not more than three feet from the window opening.
(3) 
In areas zoned for multiple dwellings or apartments, continuous sound shall not exceed 50 dBA outside any living area window with the microphone not more than three feet from the window opening.
(4) 
The provisions of this section shall not apply if the sound from the air-conditioner or air-handling device produces less than a five-decibel increase on the sound level that exists in the absence of such sound.
R. 
Places of public entertainment. The operation of a place of public entertainment, including but not limited to a restaurant, bar, cafe, discotheque or dance hall, in which the sound level is equal to or exceeds 95 dBA sustained for more than 30 seconds measured at the location of the spectators. All measurements will be made on the A-weighted sound level of a sound-level meter with a slow response.

§ 139-5 Presumptive evidence.

A. 
It shall be prima facie evidence that an act is in violation of this chapter when noise caused by and/or emanating from parties, entertainment, music or social gatherings of any kind, whether public or private, indoors or outdoors, can be heard inside any dwelling unit that is not the location of the source of the noise, where all exterior doors and windows of said dwelling unit are closed.
B. 
The use of any sound-producing, sound-reproducing or sound-amplifying device, machinery, domestic equipment, heavy equipment or engine so as to cause the sound produced thereby to be audible outside the building or beyond the boundary of the real property where it originates, between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day, shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this chapter.
C. 
It shall be prima facie evidence that an act is in violation of this chapter when a sound-level meter indicates that the decibel level of a particular activity is in excess of 60 dBA between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. and 50 dBA between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. measured at a distance of 50 feet from the source of the noise. All measurements will be made on the A-weighted sound level of a sound-level meter with a slow response.

§ 139-6 Exempt sounds.

The following sounds shall not be deemed to be in violation of this chapter:
A. 
Sounds created by church bells or chimes;
B. 
Sounds created by any government agency or its agents, including but not limited to the use of an emergency warning device or authorized emergency vehicle;
C. 
Sounds created by lawn mowers with functioning mufflers and in good working order and home power tools in good working order in use between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays and 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Sundays and holidays;
D. 
Sounds created by public utilities in carrying out the operations of their franchise;
E. 
Sounds connected with sporting events of any public or private school or an authorized carnival, fair, exhibition, parade, etc., authorized by permit of the Town Board;
F. 
The sounds created by crop cultivation, production, harvesting and livestock production;
G. 
Sounds created by safety and protective devices used for their intended purpose;
H. 
Sounds created by snow removal equipment in good working order;
I. 
Sounds which are authorized as exempt from this chapter by resolution of the Town Board because said noise, although otherwise causing unreasonable noise, is part of a public works project, where the general health, safety and welfare of the citizenry of the Town of Poughkeepsie is concerned.
J. 
Sounds which are authorized as exempt from this chapter by resolution of the Town Board because said noise, although otherwise causing unreasonable noise, would be generated from a non public-works project where the Town Board, for good cause shown, has determined that such waiver would be protective of the general health, safety and welfare of the citizenry of the Town of Poughkeepsie. However, should noise become a problem, the Town Board may rescind or modify the waiver. This subparagraph shall be effective until April 30, 2016.
[Added 4-1-2015 by L.L. No. 1-2015]

§ 139-7 Enforcement.

A. 
It shall be the duty of the Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department and the Zoning Administrator and any duly authorized deputy zoning administrator of the Town of Poughkeepsie to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
B. 
Appearance tickets. Town of Poughkeepsie police officers and the Zoning Administrator and any duly authorized deputy zoning administrator are authorized to issue appearance tickets as defined in § 150.10 of the Criminal Procedure Law for any violation of this chapter.

§ 139-8 Penalties for offenses.

[Amended 10-3-2007 by L.L. No. 21-2007; 6-3-2009 by L.L. No. 22-2009]
A. 
Fines.
(1) 
The first violation of this chapter shall be punished by a fine of up to $1,000.
(2) 
The second violation of this chapter, within 12 months after the first violation, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $1,000 and up to $1,500.
(3) 
Further violations within 12 months after the last violation shall be punished by a fine of not less than $1,500 and up to $2,500.
B. 
Each such act which either continues or is repeated more than 1/2 hour after issuance of written notice of violation of this chapter shall be a separate offense and shall be prosecuted as a separate offense.
C. 
If the violation occurs on the premises of rental property which is occupied by someone other than the owner, then the owner must also be notified in writing that the violation has occurred, within five business days of said violation, except that failure to provide such notice shall not affect the prosecution of the person or persons charged with said violation.
D. 
In addition to any other remedies set forth herein authorizing the Town to enforce the provisions of this chapter, establishing penalties, and setting forth additional remedies, the person charged with the responsibility to enforce the provisions of this chapter may impose a civil fine or agree to a civil fine not to exceed $1,000 per day for each day of the violation. If said civil fine is imposed, then the alleged violator may appeal to the Town Board of the Town of Poughkeepsie.