Town of Babylon, NY
Suffolk County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Babylon 12-18-1979 by L.L. No. 10-1979. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Beach regulations — See Ch. 81.
Boat regulations — See Ch. 86.
Animals and dogs — See Ch. 106.
Zoning — See Ch. 213.

§ 156-1 Declaration of policy.

It is hereby declared to be the policy of the Town of Babylon to prevent excessive, unnecessary, unreasonable or unusually loud noise. It is further declared that the provisions and prohibitions hereinafter contained and enacted are in pursuance of and for the purpose of preserving, protecting and promoting the public health, comfort, convenience, safety, welfare, prosperity and the peace and quiet of the Town of Babylon and its inhabitants.

§ 156-2 Interpretation.

This chapter shall be liberally construed so as to effectuate the purposes described in this chapter. Nothing herein shall be construed to abridge the emergency powers of any health department or the right of such department to engage in any necessary or proper activities. Nothing herein shall abridge the powers and responsibilities of any police department or law enforcement agency to enforce the provisions of this chapter.

§ 156-3 Definitions and word usage.

A. 
All terminology defined herein is in conformance with the terminology of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or its successor body.
B. 
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ACTIVITY
Any act or combination of acts which causes the production of sound.
AIR-CONDITIONING AND AIR-HANDLING DEVICE
Any device that is designed to be used or is actually used to cool, move or condition air, including but not limited to air conditioners, cooling towers, fans and blowers.
AMBIENT NOISE
The all encompassing background noise level associated with a given environment, being usually a composite of sounds from many sources.
AUDIBLE
A sound level which exceeds the background sound level by at least five dB(A).
AUTHORIZED EMERGENCY VEHICLE
Every ambulance, law enforcement vehicle, fire control vehicle and civil defense emergency vehicle.
A-WEIGHTED SOUND LEVEL [dB(A)]
The sound pressure level in decibels as measured on a sound level meter using the A-weighted network slow response. The level so read is designated dB(A).
BUILDING APERTURE
Any designated opening in a building to which a person may reasonably have access, including but not limited to any door, gate, window, skylight or hatch.
BUSINESS AREAS
Those areas zoned as such by the Code of the Town of Babylon (Chapter 213, Article XII).
CONSTRUCTION
Any activity necessary or incidental to the erection, demolition, assembling, altering, installing or equipping of buildings, public or private highways, roads, premises, parks utility lanes or other property, including but not limited to related activities such as land clearing, grading, earthmoving, excavating, blasting, filling and landscaping, but not including agriculture.
CONTAINER
Any receptacle, regardless of contents, manufactured from wood, metal, plastic, paper or any material whatsoever, including but not limited to any barrel, basket, bale, box, crate, tub, bottle, can or refuse container.
CONTINUOUS SOUND
Any sound that is not an impulsive sound.
DECIBEL (dB)
A unit for measuring the pressure level of a sound. For the purpose of this chapter, the standard reference pressure stated herein will be used to assure a consistent and standard reference for measuring sound. The sound pressure level measured in decibels is equal to 20 times the logarithm to the base ten of the ratio of the effective pressures of the sound measured to the reference pressure, such reference pressure being 20 micropascals (20 micronewtons per square meter).
EMERGENCY
Any occurrence or set of circumstances involving actual or imminent physical trauma or property damage which demands immediate action.
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
The value specified by the manufacturer as the recommended maximum loaded weight of a single motor vehicle. In cases where trailers and tractors are separable, the gross combination weight rating (GCWR), which is the value specified by the manufacturer as the recommended maximum loaded weight of the combination vehicle, should be used.
IMPULSIVE SOUND
A sound characterized by brief excursions of peak sound pressure which significantly exceed the ambient sound.
INDUSTRIAL AREAS
Those areas zoned as such by the Code of the Town of Babylon (Chapter 213, Articles XIII, XV, XVI and XVII).
L10
The A-weighted sound level, measured with slow response, that is exceeded 10% of the time in a one-hour interval or equivalent thereof.
L90
The A-weighted sound level, measured with slow response, that is exceeded 90% of the time in a one-hour interval or equivalent thereof.
MOTORBOAT
Any vessel which operates on the water and which is propelled by a motor, including but not limited to boats, barges, amphibious craft, water-ski towing devices and hovercraft.
NOISE SENSITIVE ZONE
Any area designated pursuant to § 156-6 of this chapter for the purpose of ensuring exceptional quiet.
OFF-ROAD RECREATIONAL VEHICLE
Any vehicle which is propelled by any power other than muscular power that is designed for or capable of cross-country travel, such as a go-cart, motorcycle, trail-bike or minibike, commercial or noncommercial racing vehicles and dune buggies.
OWNER
Any person who has regular control of a device or site, including but not limited to the owner of the freehold of the premises or lesser estate therein or mortgage thereof, or an agent of such person.
PEAK SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL
The maximum absolute value of the instantaneous sound pressure level during a specified time interval.
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.
RESIDENTIAL AREAS
Those areas zoned as such by the Code of the Town of Babylon (Chapter 213, Articles VII and VIII).
SOUND
Any variation in ambient barometric pressure.
SOUND LEVEL METER
An instrument, including a microphone, an amplifer, an output meter and frequency-weighting networks, for the measure of sound levels.
SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL
The weighted sound pressure level in decibels obtained by the use of a sound level meter and frequency-weighting network, such as A, B or C. If the frequency weighting employed is not indicated, the A-weighting slow response shall apply.
SOUND REPRODUCTION DEVICE
Any device that is designed to be used or is actually used for the production or reproduction of sound, including but not limited to any musical instrument, radio, television, tape recorder, phonograph, loudspeaker, public address system or any other sound-amplifying device.
SOUND SIGNAL DEVICE
Any device that is designed to be used or is actually used to produce a sound signal, but not spoken language, including but not limited to any horn, whistle, bell, gong, siren, rattle, clapper, hammer, drum or air horn.
SOUND SOURCE
Any activity or device whatsoever that produces sound.
SOUND SOURCE SITE
A parcel of land or a tract of land consisting of two or more parcels, which includes all contiguous land and water areas under the ownership or control of a person in or upon which one or more sound sources are located. The "sound source site" includes all individual sound sources that are located on such site, whether stationary, movable or mobile. A "sound source site" is created by the installation of one or more sound sources thereon.
UNREASONABLE NOISE
Any excessive or unusually loud sound or any sound which either annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of a reasonable person of normal sensitivities or which causes injury to animal life or damage to property or business. Standards to be considered in determining whether "unreasonable noise" exists in a given situation include but are not limited to the following:
(1) 
The volume of the noise.
(2) 
The intensity of the noise.
(3) 
Whether the nature of the noise is usual or unusual.
(4) 
Whether the origin of the noise is natural or manmade.
(5) 
The volume and intensity of the background noise, if any.
(6) 
The proximity of the noise to residential sleeping facilities.
(7) 
The nature and the zoning district of the areas within which the noise emanates.
(8) 
The time of the day or night the noise occurs.
(9) 
The time duration of the noise.
(10) 
Whether the sound source is temporary.
(11) 
Whether the noise is continuous or impulsive.

§ 156-4 Administration of program.

The noise control program established by this chapter shall be administered jointly by the Town of Babylon Department of Environmental Control and such other employees and/or officials authorized by the Town.

§ 156-5 Duties of Department of Environmental Control.

The Town of Babylon Department of Environmental Control shall have the following duties:
A. 
Studies. To conduct or cause to be conducted research, monitoring and other studies related to sound and vibration.
B. 
Education.
(1) 
To conduct programs of public education regarding:
(a) 
The causes, effects and general methods of abatement and control of noise and vibration.
(b) 
The actions prohibited by this chapter and the procedure for reporting violations.
(2) 
To encourage the participation of public interest groups in related public information efforts.
C. 
Regulations. To recommend, for promulgation, to the Town Board any further regulations consistent with the policy of this chapter and its effective administration.

§ 156-6 Noise sensitive zones.

The Department shall designate noise sensitive zones which contain noise sensitive activities. Existing quiet zones shall be considered noise sensitive zones until otherwise designated. Noise sensitive activities include, but are not limited to, operations of schools, public libraries, churches, hospitals and nursing homes.

§ 156-7 Procedural rules.

The Town Board shall have the authority to make, amend and rescind such procedural rules as may be necessary to carry out the provisions and intent of this chapter.

§ 156-8 Unreasonable noise.

No person shall make, continue or cause to be made or continued any excessive, unnecessary, unreasonable or unusually loud noise which either annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers or tends to annoy, disturb, injure or endanger the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of other persons or the public. Noncommercial public-speaking activities conducted at any public space or public right-of-way shall comply with the Code of the Town of Babylon.

§ 156-9 Specific regulations.

The following acts and the causing thereof are declared to be in violation of this chapter:
A. 
Air-conditioning and air-handling devices.
(1) 
Except as provided by Subsection A(4) of this section, no person shall operate or permit to be operated an air-conditioning or air-handling device that exceeds the maximum sound level limitations provided in this section.
(2) 
In areas zoned residential, continuous sound in air which has crossed the real property boundary shall not exceed any of the following sound levels:
(a) 
Fifty-five dB(A) at any point.
(b) 
Fifty dB(A) outside of a living-area window measured not more than three feet from the window opening.
(3) 
In areas zoned for multiple dwellings or apartments, continuous sound in air shall not exceed 50 dB(A) outside any living-area window measured not more than three feet from the window opening.
(4) 
The provisions of this subsection shall not apply if the sound from the air-conditioning or air-handling device produces less than a five-dB(A) increase in the sound level that exists in the absence of such sound.
B. 
Animals and birds. No person shall keep, permit or maintain any animal, including a bird, under his control which frequently or for continued duration makes sounds which create unreasonable noise across a residential real property boundary. This provision shall not apply to public zoos. No person who owns, possesses or harbors an animal, including birds, shall permit such animal to bark, howl, meow, squawk or make other sounds which, frequently or for continued duration, create an unreasonable noise across a residential real property boundary or within a noise sensitive zone.
C. 
Commercial, business and industrial operations.
(1) 
No person shall operate or permit to be operated on a sound source site a commercial business or industrial operation that produces a sound level exceeding the limitations as provided in this subsection.
(2) 
Sound which has entered residential or noise sensitive zones.
(a) 
Continuous sound in air which has crossed the property line of such sound source site and enters property zoned for residential use or property within a noise sensitive zone shall not exceed either of the following levels:
[1] 
During the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.: a sound level in excess of 65 dB(A) measured with the slow response of a sound level meter; or an L10 in excess of 60 dB(A).
[2] 
During the hours of 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. the following day: a sound level in excess of 55 dB(A) measured with the slow response of a sound level meter; or an L10 in excess of 50 dB(A).
(b) 
The sound levels contained herein shall only apply to noise sensitive zones when such are in use.
(3) 
Continuous sound in air which has crossed the property line of a sound source site and enters property which is zoned for business or property where the public in general congregates, excepting property zoned for industrial use, shall not exceed either of the following levels: a sound level in excess of 65 dB(A) measured with the slow response of a sound level meter; or an L10 in excess of 60 dB(A).
(4) 
The sound levels specified in Subsection C(2) and (3) shall be decreased by five decibels if the sound contains impulsive tone characteristics.
(5) 
Exposure to sound that has crossed the property line of a sound source site and enters property zoned for industrial use shall not exceed any of the following levels:
(a) 
Continuous sound in air.
Duration Per Day
(24 hours)
Sound Level 80 dB(A) Slow Response
16
82
8
85
4
88
2
91
1
94
1/2
97
1/4
100
(b) 
Impulsive sound in air which has a peak pressure level in excess of 130 decibels.
D. 
Construction. No person shall operate or permit to be operated any tools or equipment used in construction, drilling or demolition work:
(1) 
Between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day on weekdays or at any time on Sundays or legal holidays such that the sound therefrom creates unreasonable noise across a residential real property boundary line or within a noise sensitive zone.
(2) 
At any other times such that the continuous sound in air level at or across a real property boundary exceeds an L10 of 80 dB(A).
(3) 
At any other time such that the impulsive sound in air has a peak sound pressure level at or across a real property boundary in excess of 130 dB(A).
(4) 
The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to emergency work or work conducted under a special variance issued pursuant to §§ 156-14 and 156-15 of this chapter.
E. 
Emergency warning devices. No person shall operate or cause to be operated any emergency warning device except:
(1) 
To give notice as a warning of an emergency.
(2) 
On an authorized emergency vehicle when such vehicle is engaged in emergency operations.
(3) 
When such an emergency device is being operated under test conditions.
F. 
Loading and unloading. No person shall engage in, cause, permit or suffer the loading, unloading, opening, closing or other handling of boxes, crates, containers, building materials or any other objects between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day, in such a manner as to cause unreasonable noise across a residential real property boundary.
[Amended 10-4-2006 by L.L. No. 36-2006]
G. 
Modification of noise-control devices. No person shall operate or permit to be operated any device that has been modified so as to cause the sound emitted from such device to be greater than that emitted by such device as originally manufactured.
H. 
Motor vehicle maximum sound levels.
(1) 
No person shall operate or cause to be operated on a public highway any motorcycle at any time, under any condition of grade, load, acceleration or deceleration in such a manner as to exceed a sound level of 86 dB(A) measured at or adjusted to a distance of 50 feet or 15 meters from the center of the lane in which the motorcycle is traveling.
(2) 
Off-road recreational vehicles.
(a) 
No person shall operate or cause to be operated any off-road recreational motor vehicle off a public highway at any time, under any condition of grade, load, acceleration or deceleration in such a manner as to exceed a sound level of 90 dB(A) measured at a distance of 50 feet or 15 meters from the path of the vehicle or across a boundary of a private property when operated on private property. This section shall apply to all off-road recreation motor vehicles whether or not they are duly licensed and registered.
(b) 
Special variances for this subsection may be granted by the Town Board regarding a sanctioned racing event.
(3) 
Parking of certain vehicles.
(a) 
No person shall operate or permit the operation of any motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) in excess of 10,000 pounds, or any auxiliary equipment attached to such a vehicle, for a period longer than 30 minutes in any hour while the vehicle is stationary for reasons other than traffic congestion on a public right-of-way or public space so that the sound therefrom is audible across a residential real property boundary or designated noise sensitive zone between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. of the following day.
(b) 
This subsection shall not apply to authorized emergency vehicles or to public utility vehicles actually engaged in any emergency repair activity.
I. 
Motorboats.
(1) 
No person shall operate or permit to be operated any engine-powered motorboat in any lake, river, stream or tidal waterway at any time, at any speed or under any condition of load, acceleration or deceleration or in any manner whatsoever, as to exceed a sound level of 84 dB(A) at the nearest shoreline or at 50 feet or 15 meters, whichever distance is less.
(2) 
This provision shall not apply to races or regattas conducted under United States Coast Guard permit.
(3) 
Mufflers shall be required on such motorboats in accordance with the Code of the Town of Babylon (§ 86-8).
J. 
Noise sensitive zone. No person shall cause or permit the creation of any sound by means of any device or otherwise on any sidewalk, street or public place adjacent to any school, court, house of worship or public library while such facility is in use, or adjacent to any hospital or nursing home at any time, so that such sound disrupts the normal activities conducted at such facilities or disturbs or annoys persons making use of such facilities. The provisions of this subsection shall only apply if there are conspicuous signs displayed indicating the presence of such facilities.
K. 
Places of public entertainment. No person shall operate or permit to be operated a place of public entertainment, including but not limited to a restaurant, bar, cafe, discotheque or dance hall in which the playing of any sound reproduction device or similar device creates a sound level in excess of 95 dB(A) sustained for more than 30 seconds at any point that is normally occupied by a customer, unless a conspicuous and legible sign is located outside such place near each public entrance stating "Sound Levels Within May Cause Permanent Hearing Impairment."
L. 
Sound reproduction devices.
(1) 
No person shall operate or cause to be operated a sound reproduction device that produces unreasonable or unnecessary noise. The operation of any such device in such a manner as to create unnecessary or unreasonable noise across a real property boundary or the operation of such device by a passenger on a common carrier in such a way as to disturb any other person on a common carrier is prohibited.
(2) 
No person shall operate or use or cause to be operated or used any sound reproduction device for commercial or business advertising purposes or for the purpose of attracting attention to any performance, show or sale or display of merchandise in connection with any commercial operation, including but not limited to the sale of radios, televisions, phonographs, tape recorders, phonograph records or tapes, in front or outside of any building, place or premises, or in or through any aperture of such building, place or premises, abutting on or adjacent to a public street, park or place, or in or upon any vehicle operated, standing or being in or on any public street, park or place, or from any stand, platform or other structure, or from any airplane or other device used for flying over the Town of Babylon, or on a boat or the waters within the jurisdiction of the Town of Babylon or anywhere on public streets, parks or places. Nothing in this subsection is intended to prohibit sounds emanating from sporting, entertainment or other public events where such devices are used.
(3) 
No person shall operate or use or cause to be operated or used any sound reproduction device in any public place in such a manner that the sound emanating therefrom creates unnecessary or unreasonable noise across a real property boundary.
M. 
Sound signal devices. No person shall cause or permit to be caused the sounding of any sound signaling device on or in any motor vehicle or stationary sound source except:
(1) 
To serve as a danger or emergency warning.
(2) 
Places of religious worship or similar activities.
N. 
Squealing tires. No person shall operate a vehicle in such a manner as to cause unnecessary noise by spinning or squealing the tires of such vehicle.
O. 
Street sales.
(1) 
No person shall shout, yell, call, hoot, whistle or sing on public streets or in public places so as to cause unnecessary or unreasonable noise.
(2) 
No person shall call for the purpose of advertising goods, services, wares or merchandise within any area zoned for residential use so as to cause unnecessary or unreasonable noise. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to the sale of merchandise, food and beverages at authorized entertainment events such as parades, fairs and sporting events.
P. 
Vehicle or motorboat repairs and testing. No person shall cause or permit the repairing, rebuilding, modifying or testing of any motor vehicle, motorcycle or motorboat in such a manner as to cause unreasonable noise across a residential real property boundary.

§ 156-10 Correction of excessive sound levels.

A. 
The Town shall order an immediate halt to any sound which exposes any person except those excluded by Subsection B below to continuous sound levels in excess of those shown in Table I below or to impulsive sound levels in excess of those shown in Table II below. Within three days following issuance of such an order, the Town shall apply to the appropriate court for an injunction to replace the order.
B. 
No order pursuant to Subsection A shall be issued if the only persons exposed to sound levels in excess of those listed in Tables I and II below are exposed as a result of:
(1) 
Trespass.
(2) 
Invitation upon private property by the person causing or permitting the sound.
(3) 
Employment by the person or a contractor of the person causing or permitting the sound.
C. 
Tables.
(1) 
Table I.
Continuous Sound Levels Which Pose An
Immediate Threat To Health And Welfare
[Measured at 50 feet (15 meters)]
Sound Level Limit
[dB(A)]
Duration
90
24 hours
93
12 hours
96
6 hours
99
3 hours
102
1-2 hours
105
45 minutes
108
22 minutes
(2) 
Table II.
Impulsive Sound Levels Which Pose An
Immediate Threat To Health And Welfare
[Measured at 50 feet (15 meters)]
Sound Level Limit
[dB(A)]
Number of Repetitions
(per 24-hour period)
145
1
135
10
125
100

§ 156-11 Penalty for violation of sound level correction order.

Any person who violates an order issued pursuant to § 156-10 shall for each day of violation be fined not more than $500.

§ 156-12 Construction of structures that violate sound levels.

No owner of any land shall commence or cause to be commenced construction of any structure if that structure or appurtenances will violate the sound levels identified in § 156-9C of this chapter.

§ 156-13 Sound level report for proposed new structures.

If the Town has reason to believe that a full report is necessary as to whether a proposed project is prohibited under § 156-12 above, such report shall be made by the applicant prior to approval of any subdivision, zoning or building permit application. A full report shall contain the following information:
A. 
The existing day-night sound level (Ldn) including identification of the major sources of sound for a representative sample of locations.
B. 
Any projected or proposed new or expanded sources of sound which may affect the site during five years following completion of the project and the projected future day-night sound level (Ldn) at the site resulting from these new or expanded sources.
C. 
Where applicable, plans for sound attenuation measures on the site and/or the structure proposed to be built and the amount of sound attenuation as a result of these measures.
D. 
A fee shall be required for the review of a noise study Department of Environmental Control, the amount of the fee shall be established by Town Board resolution. This fee shall be placed in the Department of Environmental Control's Environmental Trust Fund. Review of the noise study shall not begin until such fee has been received by the Department of Environmental Control.
[Added 4-9-1996 by L.L. No. 5-1996]

§ 156-14 Exceptions to provisions.

The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to the following:
A. 
Sporting, amusement and entertainment events during practice, rehearsal and performance. This exception does not apply to sounds created by the sound reproduction devices of commercial operations including but not limited to music and loudspeakers.
B. 
Sounds created by the means of propulsion of railroad trains only when such railroad train is either in motion or idling for less than 30 minutes during loading, unloading, coupling, uncoupling, refueling or other similar operations.
C. 
Emergency work and safety and protective devices used to alert persons of an emergency.

§ 156-15 Special variances.

A. 
Any person seeking a special variance pursuant to this section shall file an application. The application shall contain information which demonstrates that bringing the source of sound or activity for which the special variance is sought into compliance with this chapter would constitute an unreasonable hardship on the applicant, on the community or on other persons. Such information shall further include but not be limited to the following:
(1) 
The plans, specifications and other information pertinent to such sources.
(2) 
The characteristics of the sound emitted by the source, including but not limited to the sound levels, the presence of impulsive sounds and the hours during which such sound is generated.
(3) 
The noise abatement and control methods used to restrict the emission of sound.
B. 
Any person who claims to be adversely affected by allowance of the special variance may file a statement containing any information to support his claim. If sufficient controversy exists regarding an application, a public hearing may be held.
C. 
In determining whether to grant or deny the application, a balance of the hardship to the applicant, the community and other persons of not granting the special variance against the adverse impact on the health, safety and welfare of persons affected, the adverse impact of property affected and any other adverse impacts of granting the special variance will be considered.
D. 
If the special variance is granted, it may contain restrictions and conditions, including a time limit on the permitted activity.

§ 156-16 (Reserved) [1]

[1]
Editor’s Note: Former § 156-16, Penalties for offenses, as amended, was repealed 6-22-2010 by L.L. No. 15-2010. See now Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II, General Penalties.

§ 156-17 Orders for abatement.

The Town shall issue an order requiring abatement of any source of sound or vibration alleged to be in violation of § 156-9A, C, D or H of this chapter within a reasonable time period and according to guidelines to be approved by the Town Board.

§ 156-18 Issuance of summons.

Except where a person is acting in good faith to comply with an abatement order issued pursuant to § 156-17, violation of any provision of this chapter shall be cause for a summons to be issued.