Township of Readington, NJ
Hunterdon County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Readington 2-16-1999 by Ord. No. 1-99. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Alarms — See Ch. 65.
Parks and recreation areas — See Ch. 168.
Attachment 1 - Table I Maximum Permissible A-weighted Sound Levels Attachment 2 - Table II Maximum Permissible Octave Band Sound Pressure Levels in Decibels

§ 158-1 Definitions.

The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. Terms not defined in this chapter have the same meaning as those defined in N.J.A.C. 7:29.
CONSTRUCTION
Any site preparation, assembly, erection, repair, alteration or similar action, including demolition of buildings or structures.
DEMOLITION
Any dismantling, destruction or removal of buildings, structures or roadways.
DEPARTMENT
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
EMERGENCY WORK
Any work or action necessary to deliver essential public services, including but not limited to repairing water, gas, electricity, telephone, sewer facilities, or public transportation facilities, removing fallen trees on public rights-of-way, dredging navigational waterways or abating life-threatening conditions.
IMPULSIVE SOUND
Either a single pressure peak or a single burst (multiple pressure peaks) that has a duration of less than one second.
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 gasses 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. 
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 of or on the exterior of the building, which may be a source of elevated sound levels at another category on the same distinct parcel of land; or
B. 
A building which is both commercial (usually on the ground floor) and residential property located above, behind, below or adjacent.
NOISE CONTROL OFFICER
An employee of a local, county or regional health agency which is certified pursuant to the County Environmental Health Act (N.J.S.A. 26:3A2-21 et seq.) to perform noise enforcement activities; or a municipality with a Department-approved noise control ordinance and the employee has received noise enforcement training and is currently certified in noise enforcement. The employee must be acting within his or her designated jurisdiction and must be authorized to issue a summons.
PLAINLY AUDIBLE
Any sound that can be detected by a person using his or her unaided hearing faculties. 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 noise control officer need not determine the title, specific words or artist performing the song.
PRIVATE RIGHT-OF-WAY
Any street, avenue, boulevard, road, highway, sidewalk, alley or easement that is owned, leased or controlled by a nongovernmental entity.
PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
Any street, avenue, boulevard, road, highway, sidewalk, alley or easement that is owned, leased or controlled by a governmental entity.
PUBLIC SPACE
Any real property or structures thereon that are owned, leased or controlled by a governmental entity.
REAL PROPERTY LINE
Either the imaginary line including its vertical extension, that separates one parcel of real property from another; 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 is residential upstairs and commercial downstairs, then the real property would be the interface between the residential area and the commercial area).
WEEKDAY
Any day that is not a federal holiday, and beginning on Monday at 7:00 a.m. and ending on the following Friday at 6:00 p.m.
WEEKENDS
Beginning on Friday at 6:00 p.m. and ending on the following Monday at 7:00 a.m.

§ 158-2 Applicability.

A. 
This chapter applies to sound from the following property categories:
(1) 
Industrial facilities.
(2) 
Commercial facilities.
(3) 
Public service facilities.
(4) 
Community service facilities.
(5) 
Residential properties.
(6) 
Multi-use properties.
(7) 
Public and private rights-of-way.
(8) 
Public spaces.
(9) 
Multi-dwelling-unit buildings.
B. 
This chapter applies to sound received at the following property categories:
(1) 
Commercial facilities.
(2) 
Public service facilities.
(3) 
Community service facilities.
(4) 
Residential properties.
(5) 
Multi-use properties.
(6) 
Multi-dwelling-unit buildings.
C. 
Sound from stationary emergency signaling devices shall be regulated in accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:29-1.3, except that the testing of electromechanical functioning of a stationary emergency signaling device shall not meet or exceed 10 seconds.

§ 158-3 Declarations of findings and policy.

A. 
Whereas excessive sound is a serious hazard to the public health, welfare, safety and the quality of life; and whereas a substantial body of science and technology exists by which excess sound may be substantially abated; and whereas the people have a right to, and should be ensured of, an environment free from excessive sound and vibration that may jeopardize their health, welfare or safety or degrade the quality of life; now, therefore, it is the ordained policy of the Township of Readington to prevent excessive sound that may jeopardize the health, welfare or safety of its citizens or degrade the quality of life.
B. 
This chapter shall apply to the control of sound originating from sources within the Township of Readington.

§ 158-4 Noise control officers.

A. 
The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by noise control officers. A person shall be qualified to be a noise control officer if the person meets the criteria set forth in the definition above and completes, at a frequency specified by the Department in N.J.A.C. 7:292.11, a noise certification and recertification course which are offered by the Department of Environmental Sciences of Cook College, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey or any other noise certification or recertification course which is offered by an accredited university and approved by the Department.
B. 
Sound measurements made by a noise control officer shall conform to the procedures set forth at N.J.A.C. 7:29-2, except that interior sound level measurements shall also conform with the procedures set forth in § 158-5B and C of this chapter and with the definition of "real property line" as contained herein.
C. 
Noise control officers shall have the power to:
(1) 
Coordinate the noise control activities of all departments in the Township of Readington and cooperate with all other public bodies and agencies to the extent practicable.
(2) 
Review the actions of the Township of Readington and advise of the effect, if any, of such actions on noise control.
(3) 
Investigate and pursue possible violations of this chapter for sound levels which equal or exceed the sound levels set forth in Tables I and II,[1] when measured at a receiving property located within the designated jurisdiction of the noise control officer, in accordance with § 158-5 below.
[1]
Editor's Note: Tables I and II are included as attachments to this chapter.
(4) 
Cooperate with noise control officers of adjacent municipalities in enforcing one another's municipal noise ordinances.

§ 158-5 Maximum permissible sound levels.

A. 
No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit the operation of any source of sound on any source property listed in § 158-2A above in such a manner as to create a sound level that equals or exceeds the sound level limits set forth in Tables I and II when measured at or within the real property line of any of the receiving properties listed in Tables I and II, except as specified in Subsection B below.
B. 
When measuring total sound or residual sound within a multi-use property, or within a residential unit when the property line between it and the source property is a common wall, all exterior doors and windows shall be closed and the measurements shall be taken in the center of the room most affected by the noise. Residual sound shall be measured in accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:29-2.9(b)2. When measuring total sound or residual sound, all sound sources within the dwelling unit must be shut off (e.g., television, stereo). Measurements shall not be taken in areas which receive only casual use such as hallways, closets and bathrooms.
C. 
Indoor measurements shall only be taken if the sound source is on or within the same property as the receiving property, as in the case of a multi-use property (e.g., sound generated within a commercial unit of a multi-use property building and received within a residential unit of the same building) or multi-dwelling-unit building. In addition, indoor measurements shall be taken if the property line between the receiving property and the source property is a common wall, such as in a multi-dwelling unit building. The allowable sound level standards for indoors are as shown in Tables I and II.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Tables I and II are included as attachments to this chapter.
D. 
Impulsive sound. Impulsive sound shall not equal or exceed 80 decibels at all times.

§ 158-6 Restricted uses and activities.

A. 
Except as provided in Subsection B below, the provisions of this chapter shall not apply to the following exceptions:
(1) 
Agricultural activities.
(2) 
Bells, chimes, carillons or other music while being used in conjunction with religious services.
(3) 
Emergency energy release devices.
(4) 
Emergency work to provide electricity, water or other public utilities when public health or safety is involved.
(5) 
Motor vehicle race tracks.
(6) 
National Warning System (NAWAS): systems used to ward the community of attack or imminent public danger such as flooding or explosion. These systems are controlled by the New Jersey Office of Emergency or Hazardous Spill Management, Division of State Police:
(7) 
Noise of aircraft flight operations, but not those operations which are not preempted from municipal regulation.
(8) 
Public celebrations.
(9) 
Public roadways.
(10) 
Surface carriers engaged in commerce by railroad.
(11) 
The unamplified human voice.
(12) 
Use of explosive devices: These are regulated by the New Jersey Department of Labor under the 1960 Explosive Act (N.J.S.A. 21:1A-128 to 21:1A-144).
(13) 
Normal operation of a handgun, rifle, shotgun, skeet shooting or trapshooting range which has been maintained continuously in the same location since January 24, 1972.
(14) 
Construction and demolition activities are exempt from the sound level limits set forth in Tables I and II, except as provided for in Subsection B below.
B. 
Notwithstanding the provisions of Tables I and II,[1] the following standards shall apply to the activities or sources of sound set forth below:
(1) 
Commercial or industrial power tools and landscaping and yard maintenance equipment, excluding emergency work, utilized on commercial or industrial property shall meet the limits set forth in Tables I and II between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. All motorized equipment used in these activities shall be operated with a muffler. At all other times, the limits set forth in Tables I and II do not apply to commercial or industrial power tools and landscaping and yard maintenance equipment.
(2) 
Construction and demolition activity, excluding emergency work, shall not be performed between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. on Monday through Saturday unless such activities can meet the limits set forth in Tables I and II. Further, construction and demolition activity, excluding emergency work, shall not be performed between the hours of 10:00 p.m. Saturday and 9:00 a.m. Sunday or after 6:00 p.m. on Sunday unless such activities meet the limits set forth in Tables I and II. All motorized equipment used in construction and demolition activity shall be operated with a muffler. At all other times, the limits set forth in Tables I and II do not apply to construction and demolition activities. Application for a waiver from the time limits set forth above may be made to the noise control officer who shall grant such a waiver for good cause after consultation with the Township Engineer or Construction Code Official.
(3) 
Commercial and /or residential snow removal equipment, motorized snowblowers, snow throwers and lawn equipment with attached snow plows shall be operated at all times with a muffler. At all times, the limits set forth in Tables I and II do not apply.
(4) 
Personal or commercial music amplification or reproduction equipment emanating from a vehicle shall not be operated in such a manner that it is plainly audible at a residential property line between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.
(5) 
Self-contained, portable, hand-held music or sound amplification reproduction equipment shall not be operated on a public space or public right-of-way in such a manner as to be plainly audible at a distance of 50 feet in any direction from the operator between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., sound from such equipment shall not be plainly audible by any person other than the operator.
(6) 
Sound levels exceeding the limits set forth in Table I and Table II shall be prohibited between residential units within the same multi-dwelling-unit building. Measurements shall be taken indoors as per § 158-5B and C.
[1]
Editor's Note: Tables I and II are included as attachments to this chapter.

§ 158-7 Enforcement: civil penalty.

Violation of any provision of this chapter shall be cause for an enforcement document to be issued to the violator by the noise control officer according to procedures set forth at N.J.A.C. 7:29-1.6 as follows:
A. 
If any person violates any provision of this chapter, the noise control officer or municipality, on his or her behalf, as appropriate (both hereinafter referred to as the "authorized enforcement agency"), may institute an action in a court of competent jurisdiction for injunctive relief to prohibit and prevent such violation or violations and said court may proceed in the action in a summary manner.
B. 
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter or an order issued pursuant thereto shall be subject, upon order of a court, to a civil penalty for each offense of not more than the maximum penalty allowed pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:49-5, which is $2,000 as of December 2014. If the violation is of a continuing nature, each day during which it occurs shall constitute an additional, separate and distinct offense.
[Amended 3-2-2015 by Ord. No. 01-2015]
C. 
Upon identification of a violation of this chapter or an order issued pursuant thereto, the noise control officer shall issue an enforcement document to the violator. The enforcement document may be sent to the violator by certified mail, return receipt requested. The enforcement document shall:
(1) 
Identify the condition or activity that constitutes the violation and the specific provision of the Act,[1] rule or order that has been violated;
[1]
Editor's Note: The "Act" refers to the Noise Control Act of 1971, N.J.S.A. 13:1G-1 et seq.
(2) 
Indicate whether the violator has a period of time to correct the violation before a penalty is sought, as follows:
(a) 
If the violation is deemed by the noise control officer to be a minor violation pursuant to Subsection E below, notify the violator that the activity or condition which constitutes the violation must be corrected and compliance achieved within 30 days or, at the discretion of the noise control officer, any other reasonable period of time, not to exceed 180 days, to be determined based upon the nature and extent of the violation and a reasonable estimate of the time needed to correct the violation. The violator may request, from the noise control officer, an extension of the compliance deadline in the enforcement action and the noise control officer shall approve any reasonable request for an extension if the violator can demonstrate that a good faith effort has been made to achieve compliance.
(b) 
If the violation is not deemed by the noise control officer to be a minor violation pursuant to Subsection E below, notify the violator that he or she will not be allowed a period of time to correct the violation before a penalty is sought.
(3) 
Notify the violator that he or she may be liable to a civil penalty of no more than the maximum penalty allowed pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:49-5, which is $2,000 as of December 2014 for the violation that is the subject of the enforcement document.
[Amended 3-2-2015 by Ord. No. 01-2015]
(4) 
If the violation is deemed by the noise control officer to be a minor violation pursuant to Subsection E below, notify the violator that if he or she achieves compliance within the period of time specified in the enforcement document, the authorized enforcement agency shall not seek to collect a civil penalty from the violator for that violation.
D. 
The authorized enforcement agency may seek injunctive relief and/or a penalty for a violation of the Act, these rules or an order issued pursuant thereto:
(1) 
If the violator does not correct the minor violation within the period of time specified in the enforcement document initiated pursuant to Subsection C above; or
(2) 
If the violation is not considered a minor violation pursuant to Subsection E below.
E. 
A violation shall be considered a minor violation if:
(1) 
The violation is not the result of the purposeful, reckless or criminally negligent conduct of the violator.
(2) 
The activity or condition constituting the violation has not been the subject of an enforcement action by the authorized enforcement agency against the violator within the immediately preceding 12 months.
F. 
Any claim for a civil penalty may be compromised and settled based on the following factors:
(1) 
Mitigating or any other extenuating circumstances.
(2) 
The timely implementation by the violator of measures which lead to compliance.
(3) 
The conduct of the violator.
(4) 
The compliance history of the violator.

§ 158-8 Short title.

This chapter may be cited as the "Readington Township Noise Control Ordinance."

§ 158-9 When effective; filing of copy.

This chapter shall take effect immediately upon final passage and publication in accordance with law and upon approval of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). The Clerk is directed to file a copy of this chapter with the NJDEP Office of Local Environmental Management.