Town of Milton, DE
Sussex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Milton as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Animals — See Ch. 63.
Building construction — See Ch. 85.
Nuisances — See Ch. 152.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 209.
Zoning — See Ch. 220.
[Derived from Ch. 11, Art. 3, of the prior Code]
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Noise Control Ordinance of Milton."
There is established in the Town a noise control program for the purpose of promoting the health, safety and welfare, and to foster the comfort of the residents and property owners of the Town. To the maximum extent possible, such noise control program shall be conducted in accordance with similar programs of other local jurisdictions and of the state and federal governments.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ACOUSTICAL TERMINOLOGY
That contained in ANSI SI-1, "Acoustical Terminology" (1971).
AMBIENT NOISE
All encompassing noise associated with a given environment, being usually a composite of sounds of many sources near and far.
ANSI
The American National Standards Institute or its successor bodies.
CONTINUOUS NOISE
A noise whose intensity remains essentially constant during the period of observation. Continuous noise for measurement purposes shall be defined as noise which is measured by the slow response setting of a sound level meter.
DAYTIME
The local time of day from May 1 of any year to September 30 of any year, both dates inclusive, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. of the following day on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, and the local time of day from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on all days during the remainder of the year.
DECIBEL (dB)
The unit of sound magnitude equal to 20 times the logarithm to the base 10 of the ration of the sound pressure being measured to a reference sound pressure, 20 micronewtons per square meter (20 micropascals).
DECIBEL-A-WEIGHTED (dBA)
The sound level, in decibels, measured with the sound level meter using the A-Weighing network or scale as specified in ANSI SI 4-1974, Specification for Sound Level Meters.
HOLIDAYS
Includes all federal, state or Town of Milton holidays in any given year.[1]
IMPULSIVE NOISE
Noise characterized by brief excursions (usually less than one second) or sound pressure which significantly exceeds the ambient environmental sound pressure.
MOBILE SOURCE
Any vehicle, self-propelled or not, which is capable of emitting noise.
MOTORCYCLES
An unenclosed motor vehicle having two or three wheels and includes, but is not limited to, motor scooters and minibikes.
NIGHTTIME
Those times of day excluded from the definition of "daytime."
NOISE
The intensity, frequency, duration and character of undesired sounds from a single source or number of sources. Noises include vibrations of subaudible frequency.
SAE
The Society of Automotive Engineers or its successor bodies.
STATIONARY SOURCE
Any equipment or activity associated with permitted land uses which is capable of generating noise.
ZONING DISTRICT CLASSIFICATION
The district set forth and established in Chapter 220, Zoning, of the Code of the Town of Milton.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III).
A. 
The administration and enforcement of this article shall be the duty and responsibility of the Town Council who is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, necessary to the enforcement of the provisions of this article.
B. 
The Town Council, in addition to any other duties vested in it by law, may do the following:
(1) 
Conduct studies, investigations and research relating to noise and its prevention, abatement and control.
(2) 
Issue such orders as may be necessary to effectuate the purposes of this article and enforce the same by all appropriate administrative and judicial proceedings.
(3) 
Hold hearings relating to any aspect of or matter in the administration of this article.
(4) 
Secure necessary scientific, technical, administrative and operational services, including laboratory facilities, by contract or otherwise.
(5) 
To prepare and develop a comprehensive plan or plans for the prevention, abatement and control of noise.
(6) 
Advise, consult and cooperate with other local governmental units, agencies of the states, industries, interstate or interlocal agencies and the federal government, and with interested persons or groups.
(7) 
Review those matters having a bearing upon excessive noise referred by public agencies.
(8) 
Collect and disseminate information and conduct educational and training programs relating to excessive noise, its effects and its control.
(9) 
Encourage voluntary cooperation by persons or effected groups to achieve the purposes of this article.
(10) 
Do any and all acts which may be necessary for the successful prosecution of the intent of this article and such other acts as may be specifically enumerated herein.
(11) 
Allocate police personnel as shall be required in the enforcement of this article.
A. 
Stationary sources.
(1) 
Noise levels from stationary sources and mobile sources while stationary shall not exceed the noise levels presented in Table 1 below for each of the zoning districts listed there during the time of day indicated. Where two or more zoning districts are involved, the maximum noise level for the more restrictive zoning district shall apply.
Table 1
Maximum Permissible Noise Levels From Stationary Sources
(Measured at property line)
Continuous Octave Band
Zoning District Classification
Time of Day
Continuous Noise
(dBA)
Impulsive Noise
(dB)
Center Frequency
(Hz)
dB
All Commercial Districts
Daytime
70
31.5
85
63
84
Nighttime
55
120
125
79
250
74
500
68
1,000
62
2,000
57
4,000
53
8,000
50
All Residential Districts
Daytime
65
31.5
80
63
79
Nighttime
55
125
74
100
250
69
500
63
1,000
57
2,000
52
4,000
48
8,000
45
(2) 
Noise levels from small power equipment, associated with residential and commercial land uses and used intermittently shall not exceed 74 dBA. Any small power equipment which exceeds permissible noise levels established in Subsection A(1) may only be operated during the daytime.
(3) 
Noise measurements made to determine compliance with Subsections A(1) and B(2) shall be made not less than four feet above the ground and not closer to the noise source than the boundary of the property in which the noise source is located.
B. 
Mobile sources.
(1) 
Noise levels from mobile sources shall not exceed those presented in Table 3.
(2) 
Test procedures to determine whether maximum noise emitted by mobile sources complies with the noise limits set forth in this article shall be in substantial conformity with the Standards and Recommended Practice established by the Society of Automobile Engineers, Inc., and such other and further standards established by the Code Enforcement Officer.
[Amended 12-7-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-001]
C. 
Noise sensitive zones.
(1) 
Whenever the protection of the public health and welfare so require, the Code Enforcement Officer, after the duly advertised public hearing conducted by the Council and with the approval of the Council, may designate any geographic area of the Town as a noise sensitive zone. Such designation shall include a description of the subject area and the reasons for determination as a noise sensitive zone.
[Amended 12-7-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-001]
(2) 
Noise sensitive zones' noise levels originating from stationary sources shall not exceed those presented in Table 2 below.
Table 2
Maximum Permissible Noise Levels In Noise
Sensitive Zones From Stationary Sources
(Measured at property line)
Continuous Octave Band
Time of Day
Continuous Noise
(dBA)
Impulsive Noise
(dB)
Center Frequency
(Hz)
dB
31.5
65
63
64
125
59
250
54
All
50
90
500
48
1,000
42
2,000
38
4,000
33
8,000
30
D. 
Construction noise.
(1) 
Any construction activities which produce noise levels which exceed the maximum permissible noise levels established in Table 1[1] shall be permitted only during the daytime. This subsection shall not apply to emergency repairs to public utilities.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Table 1 above.
(2) 
All feasible procedures shall be undertaken to minimize noise generated by construction activities. In no instance shall noise levels originating from construction sites exceed 94 dBA. Measurements are to be taken in accordance with the procedures established in § 148-5A(3).
A. 
No person shall sound a vehicular horn or other audible signal device except as a cautionary warning signal.
B. 
No person shall sell anything by outcry during the night. The selling by outcry of merchandise, food and beverages at licensed entertainment events is excluded.
C. 
No person shall use any machinery device for the production or reproduction of sound which is cast upon public streets or lands for the purpose of commercial advertising or of attracting the attention of the public to any buildings, structure or activity during the night.
D. 
No person shall use any musical instrument, radio, phonograph or tape player upon public streets during the night. This subsection does not apply to persons participating in duly licensed parades or persons duly authorized to engage in such conduct.
E. 
No person shall install any permanent standby electrical generation system or device without first obtaining a building permit from the Town of Milton. Upon completion of installation, the system or device shall be subject to noise level testing in accordance with standard procedures for measuring noise levels provided in § 48-5A(3). Once testing has been completed and noise levels are found to be within the prescribed levels provided in § 148-5A(2), a certificate of compliance shall be issued.
[Added 7-20-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-005]
A. 
No person shall cause, suffer, or allow or permit the removal, disconnection or disabling of any noise suppression device or system which has been installed on any noise source pursuant to any of the following:
(1) 
Pursuant to any federal or state law or regulation.
(2) 
As a requirement for obtaining a permit to construct, modify or install such noise source.
B. 
No person shall defeat the designed purpose of any noise suppression system or device by installing therein or thereon any part or component which does not meet the minimum designated specifications for that system or device.
C. 
No noise source shall be operated with its noise suppression system or device removed or otherwise rendered inoperable.
A. 
The Code Enforcement Officer is authorized and directed to make or cause to be made inspections in response to complaints that an alleged violation of this provision of this article or of applicable rules or regulations adopted pursuant thereto which may exist, when he/she has a valid reason to believe that a violation of this article has been or is being committed, or is a part of a systematic survey program.
B. 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall have authority, with the consent of the owner, occupant, operator or agent, to enter and inspect all premises subject to the provisions of this article for the purpose of determining whether there is compliance with his requirements.
C. 
If any owner, occupier, operator, or agent fails to allow or refuses free access and entry to the premises where a noise source is located, or any part thereof, with respect to which an inspection authorized by this article is found to be made, the Code Enforcement Officer may, upon a showing that requisite probable cause exists for the inspection, petition and obtain an order from a competent jurisdiction authorizing such inspection.
D. 
All evidence which may be discovered or obtained in the course of an inspection made pursuant to this section shall not be disclosed except as may be necessary in the judgment of the Code Enforcement Officer for the proper and effective administration and enforcement of the provisions of this article and regulations issued pursuant thereto.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III).
A. 
Whenever the Code Enforcement Officer determines that any noise source fails to meet the requirements set forth in this article or any applicable regulation issued pursuant thereto, he or she shall issue a notice of violation setting forth the alleged failures and advising the owner, occupant, operator or agent that such failure must be corrected. Such notice shall be in writing and shall set forth the following information:[1]
(1) 
The alleged violations of this article or of applicable regulations issued pursuant thereto.
(2) 
Description of the premises where the violations are alleged to exist and/or other identification of the noise source.
(3) 
A reasonable time within which any violation alleged is required to be corrected.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III).
B. 
The notice shall be directed to the owner, occupant or operator of the noise source or upon the agent of any of the foregoing by any of the following means:
(1) 
By personal delivery of the notice to such person.
(2) 
By mailing the same to such person by certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the last known place of residence of such person with postage prepaid.
(3) 
By posting the same in or about the premises described in the notice if service under Subsection B(1) or (2) cannot be effected.
C. 
At the end of the time period allowed for the correction of any violation alleged, the Code Enforcement Officer shall reinspect the noise source described in the notice.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III).
A. 
All noise sources brought into the Town six months after the date of enactment of this article shall comply with the provisions of this article as of the date of the commencement of operations.
B. 
Compliance schedules shall be of a form and content satisfactory to the Code Enforcement Officer. The Code Enforcement Officer may require the filing of scheduled periodic reports or progress made in achieving compliance.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III).
If the Code Enforcement Officer determines that the violation has not been corrected, the Code Enforcement Officer may do any of the following:
A. 
Refer the matter to the Town Manager for prosecution pursuant to § 148-14A.
B. 
Apply to a court of competent jurisdiction for any and all injunctive relief, as the court may deem proper, to enforce the provisions of this article.
C. 
Extend the time for compliance for a reasonable time.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III).
A. 
Whenever, in the judgment of the Code Enforcement Officer, an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health, safety or welfare, an order may be issued, without notice, conference or hearing, directing the owner, occupant, operator or agent to take such actions as is appropriate to correct or abate the emergency.
[Amended 12-7-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-001]
B. 
The owner, occupant, operator or agent shall be granted a conference on the matter upon his request, as soon as practicable; but such conference shall in no case stay the abatement or correction of such emergency.
C. 
Any person aggrieved by an order of the Code Enforcement Officer, pursuant to any provision of this article, may appeal that order to a court of competent jurisdiction.
[Amended 12-7-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-001]
A. 
Any person responsible for any noise source may apply to the Town Council for an exemption or partial exemption from the provisions of this article. The application shall be accompanied by such information and data as the Town Council may require. The Town Council shall grant such exemption or partial exemption if it finds the following:
(1) 
The potential danger to the municipality is outweighed by the benefit to the public interest during the period of exemption.
(2) 
Compliance with the provisions of this article from which exemption is sought would produce serious hardship without equal or greater benefits to the public.
B. 
No exemption or partial exemption issued pursuant to this section shall be granted for a period to exceed one year, but any such exemption or partial exemption may be renewed for like periods if, after duly being considered at a hearing, the Town Council finds that renewal is justified under § 148-13A. No renewal shall be granted except on application therefor. Any such exemption shall be made at least 60 days prior to the expiration of the exemption or partial exemption. Any renewal granted pursuant to this subsection shall be on the same grounds and subject to the same limitations and requirements as provided in § 148-13A.
C. 
An exemption, partial exemption or renewal thereof shall not be a right of the applicant or holder thereof but shall be the discretion of the Town Council subject to the provisions of this article.
D. 
Audible signal devices which are employed as warning or alarm signals in case of fire, collision or imminent danger are specifically exempt from the provisions of the article. Police sirens are specifically exempt. Standby electrical generation systems are exempt during power outages.
[Amended 7-20-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-005]
E. 
Nothing in this section and no exemption, partial exemption or renewal granted pursuant hereto shall be construed to prevent or limit the application of the emergency provisions and procedures of § 148-12A of this article to any person or his property.
A. 
Any violation of the provisions of this article is a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less $50 nor more than $100 or by imprisonment for a period of not to exceed 30 days, or both. Each day a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.
B. 
The imposition of one penalty for any violation shall not excuse the violation or permit it to continue.
C. 
Nothing in this article shall be construed to abridge, limit or otherwise impair the right of any person to damages or other relief on account of injuries to persons or property or to maintain any action or other appropriate preceding therefor.
In any case where a provision of this article is found to be in conflict with any other provision of the Municipal Code of the Town of Milton, Delaware, existing on the effective date of this article, the provision which establishes the more stringent standard for the promotion and protection of the health and safety of the public shall prevail. In any case where a provision of this article is found to be in conflict with any other provision of the Municipal Code of the Town of Milton, Delaware, existing on the effective date of this article, which establishes a less stringent standard for the promotion and protection of the health and safety of the public, the provisions of this article shall be deemed to prevail and any such provisions are hereby declared to be repealed to the extent that they may be found in conflict with the provisions of this article.
[Derived from Ch. 11, Art. 11, of the prior Code]
[Amended 12-7-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-001; 9-9-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-04]
All persons using the streets of Milton for sound trucks shall obtain a permit from the Code Enforcement Officer and pay the relevant fee as established in the currently effective Town of Milton Fee Schedule. Special permits may be issued by the Code Enforcement Officer to offices such as the State Highway Department or to service organizations in the locality without charge.
A. 
No person shall operate or use any sound-amplifying equipment, whether stationary or mounted on a vehicle, without first obtaining a permit from the Code Enforcement Officer. No permittee shall use any sound-amplifying equipment in any manner and at any time so as to unreasonably disturb the peace and quiet of any neighborhood or of the citizens thereof.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III).
B. 
Any person operating or causing to be operated any sound-amplifying equipment in violation of the sound-amplifying equipment provisions of this article shall have his permit revoked.
Each applicant for a permit to use sound-amplifying equipment shall, in writing and on forms required by the Code Enforcement Officer, submit to the Code Enforcement Officer the following information:
A. 
Name and address of the applicant.
B. 
Name and address of the person having direct charge of the sound-amplifying equipment.
C. 
Purpose for which the sound-amplifying equipment shall be used.
D. 
General statement as to the areas of the Town in which the sound-amplifying equipment shall be used.
E. 
General statement as to the times the sound-amplifying equipment shall be used.
F. 
General description of the sound-amplifying equipment that shall be used.
G. 
Any other information which the Code Enforcement Officer may require in order to reasonably enforce the provision of this article relating to sound-amplifying equipment.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III).
If the Code Enforcement Officer determines that granting the permit required by § 148-17 shall not unreasonably disturb the peace and quiet of any neighborhood or of the citizens thereof, he or she shall issue to the applicant a permit for the use of the sound-amplifying equipment described in the permit application, which shall be used during the time and in that manner set forth in the permit application and in the sound-amplifying equipment provisions of this article.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III).
A. 
Any person who shall violate the provisions of this article shall be fined not less than $50 nor more than $500.
B. 
For the purpose of this article, each day that a violation continues shall be deemed to be a separate offense.
C. 
The application of any penalty set forth herein shall not be held to prevent the enforced removal of any prohibited condition.