Township of Whitpain, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Whitpain 6-21-1982 as Ord. No. 126. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Curfew — See Ch. 78.
Hunting and firearms — See Ch. 101.
[Amended 3-18-2003 by Ord. No. 126-1; 8-7-2007 by Ord. No. 307; 3-19-2019 by Ord. No. 371]
A. 
"Disturbing the peace" within the meaning of this chapter shall constitute the making, causing or permitting to be made or caused to be made anywhere within the Township of Whitpain of any loud, boisterous or unseemly noise or unnecessary noises, clamor, din or other sounds tending to disturb the peace and quiet of the community, and the carrying on of any business, trade, transportation, recreation or amusement at any time, in any place or in any manner which causes any unnecessary noise or disturbances, and all such noises and disturbances are hereby prohibited. All noises or other sounds shall be considered to be unnecessary and to constitute disturbing the peace even though they are not louder than customary and are unavoidable sounds or noises attendant upon the operation or performance of business, trade, transportation, recreation or amusement if they are made in such a manner as to be plainly audible at a distance of 50 yards from the building, structure, vehicle or area from which the sound or sounds are emanating during the following times, prevailing local time:
(1) 
On Sunday before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.;
(2) 
On Monday through Thursday before 6:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.;
(3) 
On Friday before 6:00 a.m. or after 11:00 p.m.; and
(4) 
On Saturday before 8:00 a.m. and after 11:00 p.m.
B. 
On New Year's Eve, the day before Memorial Day, Memorial Day, the day before Independence Day, Independence Day, the day before Labor Day, and Labor Day, the evening quiet hours begin at 11:00 p.m., regardless of the day of the week.
C. 
Notwithstanding the remainder of this chapter, except in cases of emergency, no person shall carry on an activity at any time or in any manner which causes unnecessary annoyance or disturbs the peace and quiet of the immediate neighborhood.
Without in any manner intending to limit or restrict the generality of the above definition of and prohibition against disturbing the peace, the following are hereby declared to constitute disturbing the peace:
A. 
The unnecessary sounding of automobile horns, sirens, bells, whistles or other warning devices. The operators of motor vehicles shall at all times exercise due care and foresight in their operation and shall not substitute the sounding of warnings for careful driving and the maintenance of proper control over their respective vehicles. It is not intended hereby to prohibit the use of such warning devices in emergencies or at times when, in the exercise of good judgment, a prudent operator would use such devices.
B. 
The unnecessary noise created by minibikes, dirt bikes, cycles and go-carts which is considered excessive and is causing a disturbance of the peace within the immediate neighborhood.
C. 
The keeping of dogs or other animals under such conditions or in such a manner that by barking or otherwise they disturb the peace and quiet of the immediate neighborhood.
D. 
The operation of any radios, televisions, stereo equipment, amplification equipment, public address systems, electronic microphone or electronic amplification system or other electronic or mechanical equipment, or the singing, shouting or playing of musical instruments between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. prevailing local time, in such a manner as to be plainly audible at a distance of 50 yards from the building, structure, vehicle or area from which the sound or sounds are emanating.
[Amended 3-18-2003 by Ord. No. 126-1]
E. 
(Reserved)[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection E, regarding loafing, loitering, lounging or congregating on street corners, was repealed 9-18-2012 by Ord. No. 126-2.
F. 
Acting in and about the streets or other public places in the Township in a noisy, loud, boisterous and unseemly manner or in such a manner as to disturb the peace and quiet of the community.
G. 
Permitting or giving one's consent to any person to violate the terms of this chapter as above set forth upon his property or elsewhere.
[Added 9-18-2012 by Ord. No. 126-2]
A. 
Loitering prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to loiter within the limits of the Township.
B. 
Definitions. As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
LOITERING
Any act, word or conduct causing or tending to cause any danger, annoyance, inconvenience or alarm, or the reckless creating of a risk thereof, to the inhabitants of the Township or users of any of the public streets, alleys, sidewalks or public places in the Township by any person or persons who shall idle, linger aimlessly or congregate in or upon any street, alley, sidewalk or other public way or public place or in any public gathering or assembly or in or around any store, shop, business or commercial establishment or on any private property or place without lawful business.
C. 
Obstruction on public street or sidewalk. Whenever any group of three or more persons shall be idling, lingering aimlessly or congregating upon any of the public streets, sidewalks or public ways of the Township, whereby the pedestrian traffic upon such sidewalk, street or public way is obstructed from free passage thereon, all persons in such groups shall be prima facie guilty of loitering.
[Amended 5-19-1986 by Ord. No. 165; 3-18-2003 by Ord. No. 126-1; 9-18-2012 by Ord. No. 126-2]
Any person or persons violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to a criminal fine not to exceed $1,000 per violation and imprisonment in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility to the extent allowed by law for the punishment of summary offenses. Enforcement of any such violations shall be by action brought before a District Justice in the same manner provided for the enforcement of summary offenses under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure.
[Added 8-20-2019 by Ord. No. 376]
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AMBIENT SOUND
The sound pressure level at a location without transient sounds but with the sound contribution of a specific source in question.
BACKGROUND SOUND
The sound pressure level at a location without transient sounds and without the sound contribution of the specific source in question.
C-WEIGHTED SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL (SPL)
The sound pressure level adjusted using the C-weighted network in order to approximate human hearing at louder listening levels, expressed in units of dBC.
COMMERCIAL PROPERTY
Land class for commercial use.
DECIBEL (dB)
The unit of measure of sound pressure levels. The sound decibel is the ratio of the measured sound pressure relative to a reference pressure of 20 micropascals and is calculated as 20 times the base-10 logarithm of the ratio of the measured pressure to the reference pressure.
EQUIVALENT CONTINUOUS SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL (LEQ)
A constant sound level which contains the same amount of energy as the time-varying sound over the given time period, typically considered as the average sound level over the length of the measurement period.
PROPERTY LINE
The legal boundary line between two parcels of land.
RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
Land class for residential use.
SOUND LEVEL METER
A device used to measure sound pressure levels.
SOUND PRESSURE
The air pressure resulting from a sound wave.
TRANSIENT SOUND
Sound of a temporary or momentary nature that is not representative of the background sound level at a location. Examples include but are not limited to the horn of a vehicle, a siren, a door slam, a barking dog, the passing of an atypically loud land vehicle or an aircraft.
WIND SCREEN
A cover placed over a microphone in order to mitigate the effects of wind.
A. 
Sound from electrical power generators. No commercial property shall create ambient sound due to an electrical power generator that exceeds:
(1) 
Five decibels (dBC) above the background sound level as measured at the property boundary of a neighboring residential property.
(2) 
Ten decibels (dBC) above the background sound level as measured at the property boundary of a neighboring commercial property.
A. 
Equipment.
(1) 
Sound level meters.
(a) 
Equivalent continuous sound pressure levels shall be acquired using a sound level meter meeting the requirements of the current version of ANSI S1.4 for either a Type 1 (precision) or a Type 2 (general purpose) sound level meter.
(b) 
The sound level meter should be calibrated prior to measurement of sound levels.
(2) 
Other devices.
(a) 
A wind screen shall be used, as recommended by the sound level meter manufacturer.
(b) 
An anemometer shall be used during the measurement of sound levels to measure the wind speed.
B. 
Outdoor conditions. Outdoor measurements shall not be taken:
(1) 
If the sound level meter is not fitted with a wind screen.
(2) 
If the maximum wind speed during the measurement exceeds 12 mph.
(3) 
During a precipitation event.
(4) 
When the outdoor air temperature is below 14° F. (-10° C.) or above 122° F. (50° C.).
C. 
Measurement locations. Equivalent continuous sound pressure levels shall be measured on the receiving residential property at or within 10 feet of the property boundary closest to the noise source in question.
(1) 
Measurements shall be performed at least four feet away from any acoustically-reflective surface and at least four feet above the ground.
(2) 
The background and ambient sound levels shall be measured at the same location and immediately after one another.
D. 
Procedures.
(1) 
With the sound level meter set to slow response and using the C-weighting network, continuous equivalent sound pressure levels shall be acquired for a minimum duration of 15 seconds.
(2) 
During sound level measurements, the sound level meter microphone is to be pointed toward the noise source of interest and mounted on a tripod or held at arm's length.
E. 
Reporting requirements.
(1) 
The report for each test shall include:
(a) 
The date on which the measurements are made;
(b) 
The time of measurements;
(c) 
The weather conditions including air temperature, maximum wind speed, and precipitation;
(d) 
The identification of all measurement equipment by manufacturer, model number, and serial number;
(e) 
The date each piece of equipment was last recertified or recalibrated by the manufacturer or other certifying authority;
(f) 
The times of calibration of the measuring devices while on site;
(g) 
The background sound level in dBC at each measurement location;
(h) 
The ambient sound level in dBC at each measurement location;
(i) 
A sketch or aerial image of the site, not necessarily to scale, orienting the noise source of interest, the points of measurement, topographic features, and relevant distances, containing sufficient information for another investigator to repeat the measurements under similar conditions;
Noise created by electrical power generators during regularly-scheduled testing shall be exempt between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. for a period of no more than one hour until testing is complete.
A. 
The owner of any commercial property shall allow the Township's authorized agent to enter the property and facilities for the purpose of inspection, observation, measurement, and testing to determine compliance with the provisions of this article.
B. 
The Township's authorized agent shall have the right to enter upon land for the purpose of performing necessary inspection, observation, measurement, and testing to determine compliance with the provisions of this article.
A. 
The penalty for a violation is a fine of $5,000.
B. 
The commercial property owner shall have a period of up to six months to remediate the noise before additional sound levels are measured and additional penalties are assessed.