Borough of Fair Lawn, NJ
Bergen County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the Borough of Fair Lawn as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Animals — See Ch. 62.
Schedule of Fees — See Ch. 94, Art. VI.
Land development — See Ch. 125.
Soil removal — See Ch. 200.
[Adopted 3-12-1991 by Ord. No. 1473-91]
A. 
Excessive sound is a serious hazard to the public health, welfare, safety, and the quality of life; and a substantial body of science and technology exists by which excessive sound may be substantially abated; and the people have a right to and should be ensured an environment free from excessive sound.
B. 
Therefore, it is the policy of Borough of Fair Lawn to prevent excessive sound that may jeopardize the health, welfare or safety of the citizens or degrade the quality of life.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
COMMERCIAL AREA
A group of commercial facilities and the abutting public rights-of-way and public spaces.
COMMERCIAL FACILITY
Any premises, property or facility involving traffic in goods or furnishing of services for sale or profit, including but not limited to:
A. 
Banking and other financial institutions;
B. 
Dining establishments;
C. 
Establishments for providing retail services;
D. 
Establishments for providing wholesale services;
E. 
Establishments for recreation and entertainment;
F. 
Office buildings;
G. 
Transportation;
H. 
Warehouses.
CONSTRUCTION
Any site preparation, assembly, erection, repair, alteration or similar action, but excluding demolition of buildings or structures.
DECIBELS (dB)
The practical unit of measurement for sound pressure level; the number of decibels of a measured sound is equal to 20 times the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of the sound pressure of the measured sound to the sound pressure of a standard sound (20 micropascals); abbreviated "dB."
DEMOLITION
Any dismantling, intentional destruction or removal of buildings or structures.
EMERGENCY WORK
Any work or action necessary to deliver essential 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 or abating life-threatening conditions.
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
The values 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, shall be used.
INDUSTRIAL FACILITY
Any activity and its related premises, property, facilities or equipment involving the fabrication, manufacture or production of durable or nondurable goods.
MOTOR CARRIER VEHICLE ENGAGED IN INTERSTATE COMMERCE
Any vehicle for which regulations apply pursuant to Section 18 of the Federal Noise Control Act of 1972 (P.L. 92-574), as amended, pertaining to motor carriers engaged in interstate commerce.
MOTORCYCLE
An unenclosed motor vehicle, as defined in N.J.S.A. 39:1-1 et seq., or having a saddle for the use of the operator and two or three wheels in contact with the ground, including but not limited to motor scooters, mopeds and minibikes.
MOTOR VEHICLE
Any vehicle, as defined in N.J.S.A. 39:1.1 et seq., or that is propelled or drawn on land by an engine or motor, such as, but not limited to, passenger cars, trucks, truck-trailers, semitrailers, campers, go-carts, snowmobiles, amphibious craft on land, dune buggies or racing vehicles, but not including motorcycles.
MUFFLER
A sound dissipative device or system for abating the sound of escaping gases of an internal combustion engine.
MULTI-DWELLING-UNIT BUILDING
Any building wherein there are two or more dwelling units.
NOISE
Any sounds of such level and duration as to be or tend to be injurious to human health or welfare, or which would unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of life or property throughout the state or in any portions thereof, but excludes all aspects of the employer-employee relationship concerning health and safety hazards within the confines of a place of employment.
NOISE CONTROL ADMINISTRATOR
The Noise Control Officer designated as the official liaison with all municipal departments, empowered to grant permits for variances.
NOISE CONTROL OFFICER(S)
Officially designated employee(s) of the municipality, trained in the measurement of sound and empowered to issue a summons for violations of this ordinance.
NOISE DISTURBANCE
Any sound that endangers the safety or health of any person, or disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivities, or endangers personal or real property.
PERSON
Any individual, corporation, company, association, society, firm, partnership, joint-stock company, the state or any political subdivision, agency or instrumentality of the state.
PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
Any street, avenue, boulevard, road, highway, sidewalk, alley that is leased, owned 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 or from a street, or the vertical and horizontal boundaries of a dwelling unit that is one in a multi-dwelling-unit building.
RECREATIONAL MOTORIZED VEHICLE
Any motor vehicle used off public roads for recreational purposes.
RESIDENTIAL AREA
A group of residential properties and the abutting public rights-of-way and public spaces.
RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
Property used for human habitation, including but not limited to:
A. 
Private property used for human habitation;
B. 
Commercial living accommodations and commercial property used for human habitation;
C. 
Recreational and entertainment property used for human habitation;
D. 
Community service property used for human habitation.
SOUND LEVEL
The sound pressure level measured in decibels with a sound level meter set for A-weighting; sound level is expressed in dBA.
SOUND LEVEL METER
An instrument used to measure sound level and conforms to Type 1 or Type 2 standards as specified by ANSI specification S1.4-1971.
WEEKDAY
Any day, Monday through Friday, that is not a legal holiday.
A. 
The provisions of this article shall be enforced by the Noise Control Officer(s) except that provisions of this article not involving sound level readings shall also be enforced by the Police Department.
B. 
The Police Department shall be empowered to stop any motor vehicle or motorcycle operated on a public right-of-way or public space reasonably suspected of violating any provision of this article.
C. 
The Noise Control Administrator shall have the power to:
(1) 
Coordinate the noise control activities of all municipal departments and cooperate with all other public bodies and agencies to the extent practicable;
(2) 
Review the actions of other municipal departments and advise such departments of the effect, if any, of such actions on noise control;
(3) 
Review public and private projects, subject to mandatory review or approval by other departments or boards, for compliance with this article;
(4) 
Grant permits for variance according to the provisions of § 150-13, provided that the variances are consistent with regulations concerning noise control promulgated by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, N.J.A.C. 7:29.
D. 
A person shall be qualified to be a Noise Control Officer if the person has satisfactorily completed any of the following:
(1) 
Community Noise - A Short Course, offered by the Department of Environmental Science of Cook College, Rutgers, the State University; or
(2) 
A program of tutoring and on-the-job training offered by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Noise Control, to its employees; or
(3) 
Education or experience or a combination thereof certified by the above Department as equivalent to the provisions of Subsection D(1) or (2) of this section.
E. 
Noise measurements made by Noise Control Officers shall be taken according to procedures specified by N.J.A.C. 7:29B, except as provided in §§ 150-5B and 150-6.
A. 
All departments and agencies of Borough of Fair Lawn shall carry out their programs according to law and shall cooperate with the Noise Control Administrator in the implementation and enforcement of this article.
B. 
All departments charged with new projects or changes to existing projects that may result in the production of noise shall consult with the Noise Control Administrator prior to the approval of such projects to ensure that such activities comply with the provisions of this article.
A. 
No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit the operation of any source of sound on a particular category of property or any public space or right-of-way in such a manner as to create a sound level that exceeds the particular sound level limits set forth in Table I below when measured at or within the real property line of the receiving property except as provided in §§ 150-5B and 150-6.
B. 
When measuring noise within a dwelling unit of a multi-dwelling-unit building, all exterior doors and windows shall be closed and the measurements shall be taken in the center of the room.
TABLE I
Maximum Permissible Sound Levels by Receiving Property (in dBA)
Receiving Property Category
Another Dwelling Within a Multi-Dwelling-Unit Building    
Residential
Comm- ercial
Industrial
Sound Source Property Category
7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
All Times
All Times
Any location within a multi-dwelling-unit building
45
40
55
50
65
75
Residential
55
50
65
75
Commercial or public spaces for rights-of-way
65
50
65
75
Industrial
65
50
65
75
A. 
Motor vehicle and motorcycle on public right-of-way. No person shall cause suffer, allow, or permit the operation of a public or private motor vehicle or motorcycle on a public right-of-way at any time in such a manner that the sound level emitted by the motor vehicle or motorcycle exceeds the level set forth in Table II below.
Table II
Maximum Permissible Sound Levels
From Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles
Sound Level in dBA at 50 Feet (15 meters)
From Center Line of Vehicle Travel1
Vehicle Class
Speed Limit of 35 mph or Less
Speed Limit Over 35 mph
Stationary Run-up
Motor carrier vehicle engaged in interstate commerce of GVWR or GCWR of 10,000 pounds or more
86
90
88
All other motor vehicles of GVWR or GCWR of 10,000 pounds or more
86
90
--
Any motorcycle
82
86
--
Any other motor vehicle or any combination of vehicles towed by any motor vehicle
76
82
--
Sound Level on Fast Setting in dBA at 15 Feet From Edge of the Lane of Vehicle Travel
Vehicle Class
Speed Limit 35 mph or Less
Any motor vehicle or motorcycle with a GVWR less than 10,000 pounds
80
1 Measured according to Department of Transportation, Bureau of Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, for enforcement of Motor Carrier Noise Emission Standards, Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 11, Part 325.
B. 
Recreational motorized vehicles operating off public rights-of-way. No person shall operate or cause to be operated any recreational motorized vehicle in such a manner that the sound level emitted therefrom exceeds the limits set forth in Table III below at either a distance of 50 feet (15 meters) or more from the path of the vehicle when operated on a public space or at or across a real property line when operated on private property. This section shall apply to all recreational motorized vehicles whether or not duly licensed or registered.
Table III
Maximum Permissible Sound Level For Recreational Motorized Vehicles Operated Off Public Rights-of-Way
Sound Level on Fast Setting in dBA
Vehicle Type
Sound Level
Motorcycle
(Unit manufactured before 1975)
86
(Unit manufactured after 1975)
84
Any other vehicle
(Unit manufactured before 1975)
84
(Unit manufactured after 1975)
80
A. 
No person shall cause, suffer or allow or permit the operation of any motor vehicle or motorcycle not equipped with the original muffler and other components or equivalent replacement in good working order and in constant operation regardless of sound level produced.
B. 
No person shall remove or render inoperative, or cause to be removed or rendered inoperative, other than for purposes of maintenance, repair or replacement, any muffler or other exhaust component on a motor vehicle or motorcycle.
The following acts and the causing thereof are declared to be in violation of this article:
A. 
The sounding of any horn or other auditory signaling device in any motor vehicle or motorcycle on any public right-of-way or public space, except as a warning of danger;
B. 
The sounding of any horn or other auditory signaling device that produces a sound level in excess of 100 dBA at 25 feet (7.5 meters).
A. 
No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit the engine of a motor vehicle to idle for more than three consecutive minutes if the vehicle is not in motion.
[Amended 3-12-1991 by Ord. No. 1476-91]
B. 
The provision of Subsection A above shall not apply to:
(1) 
Autobuses while discharging or picking up passengers;
(2) 
Motor vehicles stopped in a line of traffic;
(3) 
Motor vehicles whose primary and/or secondary power source is utilized in whole or in part for necessary and definitively prescribed mechanical operation other than propulsion, passenger compartment heating or air conditioning;
(4) 
Motor vehicles being or waiting to be examined by state or federal motor vehicle inspectors;
(5) 
Emergency motor vehicles in an emergency situation;
(6) 
Motor vehicles while being repaired;
(7) 
Motor vehicles while engaged in the process of connection, detachment or exchange of trailers;
(8) 
Motor vehicles manufactured with a sleeper berth while being used, in a nonresidentially zoned area, by the vehicle's operator for sleeping or resting;
(9) 
Motor vehicles idling cold engines for up to 15 consecutive minutes for warmup.
[Amended 12-28-1993 by Ord. No. 1543-93]
A. 
No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit the operation of any tools or equipment used in construction, drilling, earthmoving, excavating or demolition work after 6:00 p.m. or before 7:00 a.m. on weekdays or at any time on weekends or legal holidays, unless such equipment is equipped with a functioning muffler, and any of the following conditions exist:
(1) 
An emergency condition as defined in this article; or
(2) 
A variance has been issued pursuant to § 150-13.[1]
[1]
Editor’s Note: Former Subsection A(3), concerning work within an industrial or commercial property that does not exceed certain decibel levels on any residential property, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 12-8-2015 by Ord. No. 2368-2015.
B. 
No person is to perform any demolition work for which a permit and fee are required under § 85-3 until such person can provide proof to the Construction Official that notice has been given to all property owners situated within 200 feet of the subject property at least 30 days prior to the commencement of such demolition work. Notice, for this section, shall be deemed satisfied if given in accordance with the requirements of § 125-60B(2) and (3). The Zoning Official shall, within seven days after receipt of the request therefor and upon receipt of payment of a fee of $10, make and certify a list from the current tax duplicate of names and addresses of owners to whom the applicant or any person is required to give notice pursuant to this section.[2]
[Added 2-27-2007 by Ord. No. 2072-2007]
[2]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection C, regarding construction noise on Board of Education property, added 5-12-2009 by Ord. No. 2150-2009, and extended 6-30-2009 by Ord. No. 2158-2009, expired 12-31-2009.
No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit the following acts:
A. 
Sound reproduction systems: Operating, playing or permitting the operation or playing of any radio, tape player, television, phonograph or similar device that reproduces or amplifies sound in such a manner as to create a noise disturbance;
B. 
Loudspeakers and public address systems: Using or operating of any loudspeaker, public address system or similar device between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. in the following day, such that the sound therefrom creates a noise disturbance across a residential real property line;
C. 
Animals and birds: Owning, possessing or harboring any pet animal or pet bird that frequently or for continued duration makes sounds that create a noise disturbance across a residential real property line (for the purpose of this section, a "noise disturbance from a barking dog" shall be defined as that created by a dog barking continually for 10 minutes or intermittently for 30 minutes unless provoked);
D. 
Loading and unloading: Loading, unloading, opening, closing or other handling of boxes, crates, containers, building materials, liquids, garbage cans, refuse or similar objects or the pneumatic or pumped loading or unloading of bulk materials in liquid, gaseous, powder or pellet form or the compacting of refuse by persons engaged in the business of scavenging or garbage collection, whether private or municipal, between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day when the latter is a weekday and between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. the following day when the latter is a legal holiday or a weekend day except by permit, when the sound therefrom creates a noise disturbance across a residential real property line.
[Amended 1-15-2013 by Ord. No. 2257-2013]
E. 
Air conditioners. The use of any air conditioner unit on residential property between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. such that the noise created therefrom exceeds 55 dBA across a residential real property line.
[Added 12-28-1993 by Ord. No. 1543-93]
A. 
The provisions of this article shall not apply to:
(1) 
The emission of sound for the purpose of alerting persons to the existence of an emergency;
(2) 
The emission of sound in the performance of emergency work;
(3) 
The emission of sound in situations within the jurisdiction of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act; or
(4) 
Noise from municipally sponsored or approved celebrations or events, including public speaking and public assembly activities conducted on any public space or public right-of-way.
B. 
The following are exempt from the sound level limits of Table I above:
(1) 
Noise from domestic power tools, lawn mowers and agricultural equipment when operated with a muffler between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekdays and 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekends and legal holidays, provided that they produce less than 85 dBA at or within any real property line of a residential property;
(2) 
Sound from church bells and church chimes when a part of a religious observance or service;
(3) 
Noise from construction activity provided all motorized equipment used in such activity is equipped with functioning mufflers, except as provided in § 150-10;
(4) 
Noise from snow blowers, snow throwers and snow plows when operated with a muffler for the purpose of snow removal;
(5) 
Noise from stationary emergency signaling devices that conforms with the provisions of N.J.A.C. 7:29;
(6) 
Noise from an exterior burglar alarm of any building or motor vehicle, provided that such burglar alarm shall terminate its operation within 15 minutes after it has been activated.
[Amended 2-21-2017 by Ord. No. 2420-2017]
A. 
Application.
(1) 
Any person who owns or operates any stationary noise source may apply to the Noise Control Administrator and/or Borough Manager for a variance from one or more of the provisions of this article. Applications for a permit of variance shall supply information including, but not limited to:
(a) 
The nature and location of the noise source for which such application is made;
(b) 
The reason for which the permit of variance is requested, including the hardship that will result to the applicant, his/her client or the public if the permit of variance is not granted;
(c) 
The nature and intensity of noise that will occur during the period of the variance;
(d) 
The section or sections of this article for which the permit of variance shall apply;
(e) 
A description of interim noise control measures to be taken by the applicant to minimize noise and the impacts occurring therefrom;
(f) 
A specific schedule of the noise control measures which shall be taken to bring the source into compliance with this article within a reasonable time.
(2) 
Failure to supply the information required by the Noise Control Administrator and/or Borough Manager shall be cause for rejection of the application.
(3) 
A copy of the permit of variance must be kept on file by the Municipal Clerk for public inspection.
B. 
The Noise Control Administrator and/or Borough Manager may charge the applicant a fee as set from time to time by resolution of the Borough Council[1] to cover expenses resulting from the processing of the permit of variance application.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 94, Fees, Art. VI, Schedule of Fees.
C. 
The Noise Control Administrator and/or Borough Manager may, at his/her discretion, limit duration of the permit of variance, which shall be no longer than one year. Any person holding a permit of variance and requesting an extension of time shall apply for a new permit of variance under the provisions of this section.
D. 
Considerations.
(1) 
No variance shall be approved unless the applicant presents adequate proof that:
(a) 
Noise levels occurring during the period of the variance will not constitute a danger to public health; and
(b) 
Compliance with the article would impose an arbitrary or unreasonable hardship upon the applicant without equal or greater benefits to the public.
(2) 
In making the determination on granting a variance, the Noise Control Administrator and/or Borough Manager shall consider:
(a) 
The character and degree of injury to or interference with, the health and welfare or the reasonable use of property which is caused or threatened to be caused;
(b) 
The social and economic value of the activity for which the variance is sought;
(c) 
The ability of the applicant to apply best practical noise control measures.
E. 
The permit of variance may be revoked by the Noise Control Administrator and/or Borough Manager if the terms of the permit of variance are violated.
F. 
A variance may be revoked by the Noise Control Administrator and/or Borough Manager if there is:
(1) 
Violation of one or more conditions of the variance;
(2) 
Material misrepresentation of fact in the variance application; or
(3) 
Material change in any of the circumstances relied upon by the Noise Control Administrator and/or Borough Manager in granting the variance.
A. 
Issuance of summons. Violation of any provision of this article shall be cause for a summons to be issued by the Noise Control Officer(s) or police officer(s).
B. 
Abatement orders.
(1) 
Except as provided in Subsection B(2), in lieu of issuing a summons as provided in Subsection A, the Noise Control Officer may issue an order requiring abatement of any source of sound alleged to be in violation of this article within a reasonable time period and according to guidelines which the Noise Control Officer may prescribe.
(2) 
An abatement order shall not be issued if any person willfully or knowingly violates any provision of this article or if the Noise Control Officer has reason to believe that there will not be compliance with the abatement order.
C. 
Penalties. Any person, firm or corporation violating any of the provisions of this article shall, upon conviction thereof, be liable to the penalty stated in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article III.
D. 
Other remedies. No provision of this article shall be construed to impair any common law or statutory cause of action or legal remedy therefrom of any person for injury or damage arising from any violation of this article or from other law.
[Adopted 7-27-1982 as Sec. 4-12 of the 1981 Revised General Articles]
No person shall use, operate or maintain a loudspeaker or sound vehicle or similar mechanical device on the public streets, public sidewalks or public places within the limits of the Borough without first having a permit or in violation of the provisions of this article.
A. 
Written application for a permit shall be made to the person in charge of the Police Department and shall specify:
(1) 
Name and address of the owner and operator of the device;
(2) 
Purpose for which the same is to be used;
(3) 
The place or places where it is to be used, specifically naming the streets.
B. 
The fee required by this article shall accompany the application.
The fee for the issuance of the permit shall be the sum as set from time to time by resolution of the Borough Council which is hereby imposed for revenue. The permit shall be valid for the day of issuance only and is not transferable.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 94, Fees, Art. VI, Schedule of Fees.
The use of the devices regulated by this article shall be prohibited on streets, sidewalks or public places in the Borough during the hours specified in § 150-11B.