Borough of Chambersburg, PA
Franklin County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 5-22-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-5]
To require and set standards for noise levels caused by various land uses in places where public health, safety and welfare are potential concerns. The noise ordinance shall protect the public from undue discomfort and hardship caused by loud noises emanating from land uses within the Borough of Chambersburg ("Chambersburg").
The enforcement of this section is intended to be primarily, but not solely, on a complaint basis.
Applicability. Except where specifically exempted by other jurisdictions, the requirements herein apply to the control of all sound originating within the limits of Chambersburg.
Definitions. All terminology used in this chapter and not defined below shall be in conformance with applicable publications of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or its successor body. As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated herein:
The composite or normal or existing sound from all sources measured at a given location for a specific time of the day or night.
Steady, fluctuating or impulsive noise which may or may not contain a pure tone and which varies in sound pressure level such that the same level is obtained repetitively at reasonably uniform intervals of time.
The logarithmic and dimensionless unit of measurement often used in describing the loudness of sound. Decibel is denoted as dB.
Any mechanism which is intended to produce, or which actually produces, noise when operated or handled.
Work made necessary to restore property to a safe condition following a public calamity, or work required to protect persons or property from an imminent exposure to danger.
A motor vehicle used in response to a public calamity, or to protect persons or property from an imminent exposure to danger.
A noise characterized by brief excursions of sound pressure whose peak levels exceed the ambience by 10dB. The duration of a single impulse is usually less than one second and requires the use of a sound level meter specially adapted for its measurement. Examples of impulsive sound include but are not limited to gun shots, blasting and hammering.
Any vehicle which is self-propelled by mechanical power, or propelled by human power or electric power from overhead wires or electrified rails, including, but not limited to, passenger cars, trucks, trucktrailers, trains, semi-trailers, campers, motorcycles, minibikes, go-carts, snowmobiles and racing vehicles.
Any sound which annoys or disturbs humans or which causes or tends to cause an adverse psychological or physiological effect on human, or which endangers personal or real property.
Any noise for which the information content of that noise is unambiguously transferred to the listener, such as, but not limited to, understanding of spoken speech, comprehension of whether a voice is raised or normal, or comprehension of musical rhythms.
Any sound which can be distinctly heard as a single pitch or a set of single pitches. For the purposes of this chapter, a pure tone shall exist if the 1/3 octave band sound pressure level in the band with the tone exceeds the arithmetic average of the sound pressure levels of the two contiguous 1/3 octave bands by five dB for center frequencies of 500 Hz and above, by eight dB for center frequencies between 160 Hz and 400 Hz and by 15 dB for center frequencies less than or equal to 125 Hz.
A temporal and spatial oscillation in pressure, or other physical quantity, in a medium with internal forces that causes compression and rarefaction of that medium, and which propagates at finite speed to distant points. The description of sound may include any characteristic of such sound, including duration, intensity and frequency.
The weighted sound pressure level obtained by the use of a sound level meter and frequency weighting network, such as A, B or C as specified in American National Standards Institute specifications for sound level meters (ANSI SI.4-1983), or the latest approved revision thereof. If the frequency weighting employed is not indicated, the A-weighting shall apply (dBA).
An instrument, including a microphone, amplifier, RMS detector and integrator, time averager, output meter and/or visual display and weighting networks, that is sensitive to pressure fluctuations. The instrument reads sound pressure level when properly calibrated. The sound level meter used for testing purposes in accordance with this chapter shall meet the current American National Standard Institute specifications.
The instantaneous difference between the actual pressure and the average or barometric pressure at a given point in space due to sound.
Any device, fixed or movable, which is located or is being used on geographically defined real property other than a public right-of-way.
Performance noise standards.
It shall be unlawful for any person to operate or permit to be operated any stationary noise source in such a manner as to create a sound pressure level which exceeds the limits set forth for the receiving land use in the following table when measured at the property boundary. All measurements shall be made with a sound level meter which is in conformance with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) specifications. The minimum time period for measuring the stationary source of noise shall be five minutes, and where practicable, the microphone of the sound level meter shall be positioned 5 1/2 feet above the ground level and pointing in the direction of the noise source.
Maximum Continuous Sound Levels by Receiving Zoning District
Receiving Zoning District Category
Maximum dBA
Residential (LDR and MDR)
6:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
10:00 p.m. - 6:00 a.m., plus Sundays and legal holidays
Distributed Commercial, Central
6:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Core or Professional Office
10:00 p.m. - 6:00 a.m., plus Sundays and legal holidays
Manufacturing Districts
At all times
Correction for character of sound. For any stationary source of sound which emits a pure tone, a cyclically varying noise or repetitive impulse noise, the maximum sound-level limits set forth in the above table shall be reduced by five dBA. For any source of sound which emits an impulsive sound, the excursions of sound pressure level shall not exceed 20 dBA over the ambient sound pressure level, regardless of the time of day or night or receiving land use, using the fast meter characteristic of a Type II meter, meeting ANSI Specification SI.4-1983.
Exemptions. The following uses and activities shall be exempt from the noise regulations of this article:
Noise of safety signals, warning devices, emergency pressure relief valves, or other sound needed to alert people about an emergency.
Noise resulting from any authorized emergency vehicle when responding to an emergency call or from any source acting in time of emergency.
Noise resulting from emergency work.
Construction and maintenance operations that comply with the Code.
Noise resulting from public festivals, celebrations, lawful fireworks, and noise-makers, when permitted by the Borough or used for celebration of an official holiday authorized by the Borough, commonwealth, or federal government.
Unamplified human voices between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
Routine and customary ringing of bells and chimes.
Noise resulting from any athletic, recreational, or other such outdoor activity from an official Borough, school district, private school or other organized league recognized by the Borough Recreation Department Superintendent.
Operation of a snow plow, snow removal equipment, sanitation truck (including container collection), street sweeper and tree trimming equipment for utility purposes under a Borough contract.
Blasting, only if performed in accordance with a permit issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Borough or any other governmental agency having jurisdiction. Such blasting may occur only between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, unless specifically authorized at different times by the DEP permit.
Any train or aircraft operating pursuant to commonwealth or federal regulations.
Noise resulting from the operation of a snow blower or snow plow on private property.
Noise resulting from the operation of an air conditioner, heater, or other ventilation device operating under normal circumstances.
Administration and enforcement additional provisions. In addition to the administration and enforcement provisions of Article XVII of Chapter 300, the following additional provisions shall be applicable:
The Borough Zoning Enforcement Officer shall have the power to administer the terms of § 300-164, to investigate complaints and prosecute violations of this chapter.
When enforcing the terms of this chapter, the Zoning Enforcement Officer may engage consultants and engineers with experience in measuring sound levels with the use of sound level meters with the consent of the Borough Manager.
For a first offense of the noise performance standard there shall be a written warning. A second offense shall be result in a penalty of $100. A third or subsequent offense shall result in a penalty of $500. All the other provisions of § 300-102 shall also be in effect (subject to the limit on the penalty).
As to any second or subsequent offense, there shall be added (to the penalty and the reasonable attorney fees for enforcing the article), the reasonable cost of the Borough to engage consultants or engineers to establish the evidence and enforcement required for the second offense or subsequent offense.
The Zoning Enforcement Officer, upon application from any person, shall have the authority to grant permits for the operation or causation of sound in excess of the maximum permissible sound levels by receiving land use established in Subsection D if the following conditions are met to the satisfaction of the Zoning Enforcement Officer:
The operation or causation of such sound, under the circumstances, will not severely jeopardize the health, welfare or safety of the citizens of the Borough.
The denial of such a permit will impose excess hardship on the applicant, the community or other persons.
The operation will not have an unreasonable adverse effect on a contiguous land use.
The Zoning Enforcement Officer shall have the right and authority to impose reasonable conditions and restrictions upon any applicant for a permit in order that the policy of this chapter be implemented.