Borough of Downingtown, PA
Chester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Downingtown 7-16-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-4.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Automatic protection alarms — See Ch. 94.
Dogs and other animals — See Ch. 131.
Mass gatherings — See Ch. 173.
Minibikes and motorcycles — See Ch. 179.
Peddling and soliciting — See Ch. 211.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance was adopted as Ch. 190 but was renumbered to maintain the alphabetical organization of the Code.

§ 182-1 Title.

This chapter, as it may be amended from time to time, shall be known as the "Borough Noise Ordinance."

§ 182-2 Definitions and word usage.

A. 
The singular shall include the plural, and the plural shall include the singular. The past tense shall include the future tense. The word "shall" is always mandatory.
B. 
Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following words and phrases shall be construed throughout this chapter to have the meanings herein indicated:
AMBIENT SOUND LEVEL
The sound pressure level in the area of interest, including a composite of sounds from many sources near and far, but excluding extraneous or extraordinary noise sources, such as ambulance sirens.
[Added 2-7-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-01]
A-WEIGHTED SOUND LEVEL
The logarithmic sum of octave band sound levels obtained after applying a series of correction factors to the sound pressure levels in each octave band as specified in ANSI S1.42 measured with a sound level meter using the A-weighted network. The level so read is designated as dB(A).
[Added 2-7-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-01]
BACKGROUND SOUND LEVEL
The ambient sound level excluding the noise source of interest.
[Added 2-7-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-01]
BOROUGH
The Borough of Downingtown, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Depending upon its usage, the term may refer to the government of the Borough, the geographic area of the Borough, or both.
C-WEIGHTED SOUND LEVEL
The logarithmic sum of octave band sound levels obtained after applying a series of correction factors to the sound pressure levels in each octave band as specified in ANSI S1.42 measured with a sound level meter using the C-weighted network. The level so read is designated as dB(C).
[Added 2-7-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-01]
CYCLE
An interval of time during which a sequence of a recurring succession of events or phenomena is completed.
CYCLIC
The characteristic of repeating in a cycle.
DEMOLITION
Any dismantling, destruction and/or removal of buildings, structures and/or roadways.
EMERGENCY WORK
Any work or action necessary to deliver essential public services, including but not limited to, repairing water, gas, electricity, telephone, sewer, or public transportation facilities, removing fallen trees on public rights-of-way, or abating unsafe conditions.
MOTOR VEHICLE
Any vehicle that is propelled other than by human or animal power on land.
MUFFLER
A properly functioning sound-dissipative device or system for abating the sound of escaping gases on equipment where such a device is part of the normal configuration of the equipment.
MULTI-DWELLING-UNIT BUILDING
Any building comprising two or more dwelling units, including but not limited to apartments, condominiums, co-ops, multiple-family houses, townhouses, and attached residences.
MULTI-USE PROPERTY
Any distinct parcel of land that is used for more than one category of activity. Examples include but are not limited to a commercial, residential, industrial or public service property having boilers, incinerators, elevators, automatic garage doors, air conditioners, laundry rooms, utility provisions, or health and recreational facilities, or other similar devices or areas, either in the interior or on the exterior of the building, which may be a source of elevated sound levels at another category on the same parcel of land; or a building, which is both commercial (usually on the ground floor) and residential, with the residential property located above, behind, below or adjacent.
NOISE CONTROL OFFICER (NCO)
An employee of the Borough who has received noise enforcement training and is currently certified in noise enforcement. The employee must be acting within his designated jurisdiction and must be authorized to issue a summons to be considered a noise control officer.
[Amended 2-7-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-01]
OCTAVE BAND
A portion of a sound spectrum with the upper limit twice the frequency of the lower limit. Octave bands are named for the center frequency (geometric mean) of the band. Standard octave bands for sound levels meters are defined in ANSI S1.11.
[Added 2-7-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-01]
PLAINLY AUDIBLE
Any sound that can be detected by a person using his or her unaided hearing faculties; a sound level of 60 dBA or more. As an example, if the sound source under investigation is a portable or personal vehicular sound amplification or reproduction device, the detection of the rhythmic bass component of the music is sufficient to verify plainly audible sound. The listener need not be able to determine the title, specific words, or the artist performing the song.
PUBLIC SPACE
Any real property or structures thereon that are owned, leased, or controlled by a governmental entity for public purpose.
PURE TONE
Any sound that is judged by the NCO to be a single pitch or a set of single pitches, or any sound where any octave band exceeds any of the two contiguous octave bands by five dB.
[Added 2-7-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-01]
REAL PROPERTY LINE
Either the imaginary line including its vertical extension that separates one parcel of real property from another; or the vertical and horizontal boundaries of a dwelling unit that is part of a multi-dwelling-unit building; or, on a multi-use property, the interface between the two portions of the property on which different categories of activity are being performed (e.g., if the multi-use property is a building which has residential and commercial uses, then the real property line would be the interface between the residential area and the commercial area).
WEEKDAY
Any day that is not a federal holiday, a Saturday or Sunday, and beginning on Monday at 7:00 a.m. and ending on the following Friday at 6:00 p.m.
WEEKEND
Beginning on Friday at 6:00 p.m. and ending on the following Monday at 7:00 a.m. and any federal holiday.

§ 182-3 Procedures.

[Amended 2-7-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-01]
A. 
Insofar as practicable, sound will be measured while the source under investigation is operating at normal, routine conditions and, as necessary, at other conditions, including but not limited to design, maximum, and fluctuating rates.
B. 
All tests shall be conducted in accordance with the following procedures:
(1) 
The NCO shall, to the extent practicable, identify all sources contributing sound to the point of measurement.
(2) 
Measurements shall be taken at or within the real property line of the affected person.
(3) 
The measuring instrument must be calibrated using a calibrator recommended by the measuring instrument manufacturer before and after each series of readings.
(4) 
The measuring instrument must be recertified and the calibrator must be recalibrated at least once each year by the manufacturer or by a person that has been approved by the manufacturer. A copy of written documentation of such recertification and recalibration shall be kept with the equipment to which it refers.
(5) 
No outdoor measurements shall be taken:
(a) 
During periods when wind speeds (including gusts) exceed 15 mph; without a windscreen, recommended by the measuring instrument manufacturer, properly attached to the measuring instrument;
(b) 
Under any condition that allows the measuring instrument to become wet (e.g., rain, snow, or condensation); or
(c) 
When the ambient temperature is out of the range of the tolerance of the measuring instrument.
(6) 
The report for each measurement session shall include:
(a) 
The date, day of the week, and times at which measurements are taken;
(b) 
The times of calibration;
(c) 
The weather conditions;
(d) 
The identification of all monitoring equipment by manufacturer, model number, and serial number;
(e) 
The normal operating cycle of the sources in question with a description of the sources;
(f) 
The ambient sound level, in dB(A) (or octave bands), with the sources in question operating;
(g) 
The background sound level, in dB(A) (or octave bands), without the sources in question operating; and
(h) 
A sketch of the measurement site, including measurement locations and relevant distances, containing sufficient information for another investigator to repeat the measurements under similar conditions.
(7) 
Prior to taking noise measurements the investigator shall explore the vicinity of the source in question to identify any other sound sources that could affect measurements, to establish the approximate location and character of the principal sound source, and to select suitable locations from which to measure the sound from the source in question.
(8) 
When measuring continuous sound, or sound that is sustained for more that one second at a time, the measuring instrument shall be set for A-weighting, slow response, and the range (if the measuring instrument is designed to read levels over different ranges) shall be set to that range in which the meter reads closest to the middle of the scale. For octave-band measurements, the measuring instrument shall be set without weighting, slow response. The minimum and maximum readings shall be recorded to indicate the range of monitored values along with the central tendency average most often displayed.
(9) 
The measuring instrument shall be placed at a minimum height of three feet above the ground or from any reflective surface. When hand-held, the microphone shall be held at arm's length and pointed at the source at the angle recommended by the measuring instrument's manufacturer.
(10) 
If extraneous sound sources which are unrelated to the measurements, such as aircraft flyovers or barking dogs, increase the monitored sound levels, the measurements shall be postponed until these extraneous sounds have decreased sufficiently so they do not increase the monitored sound levels of interest.
(11) 
The monitoring session shall last for a period of time sufficient to ensure that the sound levels measured are typical of the source in question.
(12) 
Background sound levels.
(a) 
The background sound levels shall be subtracted from the measured sound levels of the source of interest by using Table 1 to determine the sound levels from the source of interest alone. If the ambient sound level is less than three dB(A) higher than the background sound level, the source level cannot be derived and a violation of the chapter cannot be substantiated.
Table 1: Correction for Background Levels dB(A)
Difference Between Ambient and Background Sound Levels
Correction Factor to be Subtracted from Ambient Level for Source Level
3
3
4, 5
2
6 to 9
1
10 or more
0
(b) 
When the source being analyzed is a sound reproduction or reinforcement system with low frequency signals as part of its output, the system shall not cause a "C" weighted level of 10 dB or greater above the "C" weighted ambient level at a distance of 10 feet from the source, or the complainant's property line, which ever is greater.

§ 182-4 Exceptions; maximum permissible sound levels.

A. 
Exceptions. Except as provided in Subsection B below, the provisions of this chapter shall not apply to the following:
(1) 
Agricultural activities;
(2) 
Bells, chimes or carillons while being used in conjunction with religious services;
(3) 
Emergency energy-release devices;
(4) 
Emergency work;
(5) 
National Warning System (NAWAS): systems used to warn the community of attack or imminent public danger such as flooding or explosion, or other systems similar in nature and purpose.
(6) 
Public celebrations on public property conducted in compliance with all applicable regulations;
(7) 
Vehicles using public roadways in compliance with all other applicable regulations;
(8) 
Surface carriers engaged in commerce, including but not limited to railroads, when in compliance with all other applicable regulations;
(9) 
The unamplified human voice;
(10) 
Use of explosive devices in compliance with the Pennsylvania Code, 25 Pa. Code 87.127;
(11) 
Impulsive sounds resulting from unexpected or accidental occurrences;
(12) 
Functions of the Borough and public schools, including but not limited to waste removal, sporting events and activity practices;
(13) 
Emergency response vehicles in use for authorized purposes;
(14) 
Nonamplified sound emanating from organized play or recreation, including but not limited to team practices, games and playground activities, provided that such activities are in compliance with all other applicable regulations.
(15) 
Noise from emergency signaling devices;
[Added 2-7-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-01]
(16) 
Noise from an exterior burglar alarm of any building or car alarm, provided such burglar alarm shall terminate its operation within three minutes of its activation;
[Added 2-7-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-01]
(17) 
Noise from domestic power tools, lawn mowers, and agricultural equipment when operated between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on weekdays and between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on weekends and legal holidays, provided they generate less than 85 dB(A) at or within any real property line of a residential property;
[Added 2-7-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-01]
(18) 
Sound from church bells and chimes when part of a religious observance or service;
[Added 2-7-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-01]
(19) 
Noise from construction activity, provided all motorized equipment used in such activity is equipped with functioning mufflers and operates in accordance with applicable motor vehicle regulations.
[Added 2-7-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-01]
(20) 
Noise from snow blowers, snow throwers, and snow plows when operated with a muffler for the purpose of snow removal.
[Added 2-7-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-01]
B. 
Maximum permissible sound levels.
[Amended 2-7-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-01]
(1) 
No person shall cause, suffer, allow, or permit the operation of any sound source in such a manner as to create a sound level that exceeds the background sound level by at least 10 dB(A) or by five dB in any octave band during daytime (7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.) hours and by at least five dB(A) or by three dB in any octave band during nighttime (9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.) hours when measured at or within the real property line of the receiving property. Such a sound source would constitute a noise disturbance.
[Added 2-7-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-01]
(a) 
If the background sound level cannot be determined, any sound levels above either the dB(A) levels set forth in Table 2 or in any octave band in Table 3 are considered a noise disturbance.
(b) 
If the sound source in question is a pure tone, the limits of Table 2 shall be reduced by five dB.
Table 2: Absolute dB(A) Levels
Outdoor Sound Levels
Residential Outdoor
Residential Indoor
Commercial or Industrial
Source Property
7:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
9:00 p.m. - 7:00 a.m.
24 Hours
All Times
Residential
55
50
45
65
Commercial
65
50
45
65
Industrial
65
50
45
65
Table 3: Absolute Octave Band Levels
Receiving Property
Residential
Commercial or Industrial
Outdoors
Indoors
Outdoors
Time
7:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
9:00 p.m. - 7:00 a.m.
24 Hours
24 Hours
31.5
70
65
62
94
63
66
61
57
80
125
61
56
52
72
250
57
52
47
65
500
53
48
42
61
1000
48
43
37
58
2000
44
39
32
55
4000
41
36
30
53
8000
41
36
30
51

§ 182-5 Effect on other regulations.

The regulations in this chapter are in addition to and do not limit other regulations. If there is a conflict between the regulations in this chapter and any other applicable regulation, the most restrictive standard shall apply.

§ 182-6 Enforcement.

Responsibility for enforcement of this chapter shall rest with the Borough Code Enforcement Office. The Borough Code Enforcement Officer is authorized to file and prosecute violations of this chapter in summary proceedings.

§ 182-7 Violations and penalties.

A. 
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter, upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not more the $1,000 plus cost of prosecution or such other penalty as may be authorized and imposed by law and, in default of payment thereof, to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 30 days. Each day that a violation of this chapter continues shall constitute a separate offense.
B. 
Any violation of this chapter shall constitute a public nuisance and a nuisance in fact.
C. 
Any violation of this chapter may be subject to injunction and other equitable remedies.