[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Mansfield 3-9-1998, effective 3-30-1998. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The short title of this chapter shall be the "Town of Mansfield Noise Control Ordinance."
It is recognized that people have a right to and should be ensured an environment free from excessive sound and vibration that may jeopardize their health or safety or degrade the quality of life. This chapter is enacted to protect, preserve and promote the health, safety, welfare and quality of life for the citizens of Mansfield through the reduction, control and prevention of noise.
The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this chapter:
- BACKGROUND NOISE
- Noise of a measurable intensity that exists at a point as a result of a combination of many distant sources individually indistinguishable.
- COMMERCIAL ZONE
- All commercial zones, including PO-1, PO-3, NB-1, NB-2, 11, PB-1, PB-2, PB-3, PB-4 and PB-5, as defined in the Zoning Regulations of the Town of Mansfield, or all lots where existing nonconforming commercial uses exist.
- Any and all physical activity at a site necessary or incidental to the erection, placement, demolition, assembling, altering, blasting, cleaning, repairing, installing or equipping of buildings or other structures, public or private highways, roads, premises, parks, utility lines or other property and shall include, but not be limited to, land clearing, grading, excavating, filling and paving.
- The hours between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., Sundays and federal and state holidays.
- A logarithmic unit of measure used in measuring magnitudes of sound. The symbol is 411.
- Any occurrence or set of circumstances involving actual or imminent physical trauma or property damages which demands immediate action.
- EMERGENCY VEHICLE
- Any motor vehicle authorized to have sound-warning devices such as sirens and bells which can lawfully be used when responding to an emergency.
- EMERGENCY WORK
- Work made necessary to restore property to a safe condition following an emergency, or work required to protect persons or property from an emergency.
- IMPULSE NOISE
- Any sound of short duration, usually less than one second, with an abrupt onset and rapid decay.
- INDUSTRIAL ZONE
- All industrial zones, including IP and RDILI, as defined by the zoning regulations of the Town of Mansfield or all lots where existing nonconforming industrial uses exist.
- Defined as per Section 14-1(46) of the Connecticut General Statutes.
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- Defined as per Section 14-1(47) of the Connecticut General Statutes.
- A device for abating sounds such as those produced by escaping gases.
- The hours between 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., Sunday evening through Saturday morning, and between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. Saturday evening through Sunday morning, and the eve of federal and state holidays through the following morning.
- NOISE ZONE
- An individual unit of land or a group of contiguous parcels under the same ownership as indicated by public records and, as relates to noise emitters, includes contiguous publicly dedicated street and highway rights-of-way, railroad rights of way and waters of the state.
- NONCONFORMING COMMERCIAL USE
- A use of a building or land, or both, which does not conform to the applicable use regulations of the zoning regulations of the Town of Mansfield, either on its effective date or as a result of subsequent amendments thereof.
- Any individual, firm, partnership, association, syndicate, company, trust, corporation, municipality or other legal entity of any kind.
- Any building, structure, land or portion thereof, including all appurtenances, owned or controlled by a person.
- PROPERTY LINE
- That real or imaginary line along the ground surface and its vertical extension which separates real property owned or controlled by any person from continuous real property owned or controlled by another person and separates real property from the public right-of-way.
- PROPERTY MAINTENANCE EQUIPMENT
- All engine- or motor-powered tools and equipment used in the repair and upkeep of exterior property and including, but not limited to, lawn mowers, riding tractors, wood chippers, power saws and leaf blowers.
- PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
- Any street, avenue, boulevard, highway, sidewalk, alley, park, waterway, railroad or similar place which is owned or controlled by a governmental entity.
- RESIDENTIAL ZONE
- All residential zones, including RAR-90, RAR-40, R-40, R-20, RAR-40MF, DMR and PRD, as defined by the zoning regulations of the Town of Mansfield, or all lots where existing nonconforming residential uses exist.
- A transmission of energy through solid, liquid or gaseous media in the form of vibrations which constitute alterations in pressure or position of the particles in the medium and which, in air, evoke physiological sensations, including but not limited to an auditory response when impinged on the ear.
- SOUND-LEVEL METER
- An instrument used to take sound-level measurements which should conform, as a minimum, to the operational standards of the American National Standards Institute for Sound Level Meters (Type S2A).
- TOWN MANAGER
- The duly appointed Town Manager of the town or his designee.
For the purpose of determining noise levels as set forth in this chapter, the following guidelines shall be applicable:
Law enforcement officers conducting sound measurements shall be trained in the current technique and principles of sound measuring equipment and instrumentation.
In all cases, sound levels shall be determined by a sound-level meter.
The general steps listed below shall be followed when preparing to take the sound level measurements:
The instrument manufacturer's specific instructions for the preparation and use of the instrument shall be followed.
Measurements taken to determine compliance with this chapter shall be taken at any elevation and at any point beyond the boundary of the emitter noise zone and within the receptor's noise zone.
It shall be unlawful for any person to emit or cause to be emitted any noise beyond the boundaries of his/her premises in excess of the noise levels established in these regulations.
Noise level standards. Noise level standards shall be as follows:
High background noise levels and impulse noise.
In those individual cases where the background noise levels exceed the standards contained herein, a source shall be considered to cause excessive noise if the noise emitted by source exceeds the background noise levels by 5 dBA, provided that no source subject to the provisions of this chapter shall emit noise in excess of 80 dBA at anytime, and provided that this section does not decrease the permissible levels of other sections of this chapter.
No person shall cause or allow the emission of impulse noise in excess of 80 dBA peak sound-pressure level during the nighttime in any residential zone.
No person shall cause or allow the emission of impulse noise in excess of 100 dBA peak sound-pressure level at any time in any other zone.
Motor vehicle noise.
All motor vehicles operated within the limits of the Town of Mansfield shall be subject to the noise standards and decibel levels as found in Title 14, Section 14-80a of the Connecticut General Statutes, as amended from time to time.
No power equipment and no sound-amplifying devices on or within motor vehicles shall emit noise in excess of the noise levels specified in this chapter.
The following shall be exempt from these regulations, subject to special conditions as may be spelled out:
Noise generated by construction and demolition activities pursuant to the issuance of a zoning permit.
Noise created as a result of or relating to an emergency.
Noise from property maintenance equipment, such as but not limited to power saws, sanders, grinders, lawn and garden tools or similar devices operated during daytime hours.
Noise from snow removal equipment.
Noise created by any aircraft flight operations which are specifically preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Noise created by refuse and solid waste collection, provided that the activity is conducted during daytime hours.
Farming equipment or farming activity.
Sound created by safety and protective devices.
The following acts are deemed unlawful pursuant to the regulations contained herein. However, this enumeration shall not be deemed exclusive.
Vehicle horns. No person shall at any time sound any horn or other audible signal device of a motor vehicle unless it is necessary as a warning to prevent or avoid a traffic accident.
Truck idling. No person shall operate any standing motor vehicle with a weight in excess of 10,000 pounds, manufacturer's gross vehicle weight (GVW), for a period in excess of 10 minutes when such vehicle is parked on or next to a residential premise.
The Director of Public Safety or his designated law enforcement officers shall enforce this chapter.
During the daytime, any person violating any portion of this chapter shall receive a verbal order to cease or abate the noise immediately. If the order to cease or abate the noise is not complied with, or is complied with and then violated again within 30 days, the person or persons responsible for the noise shall be charged with a violation of this chapter.
During the nighttime, any law enforcement officer designated to enforce this chapter need not issue a verbal order before charging any person with a violation of this chapter.
Any person in violation of any of the provisions contained in this chapter shall be fined in an amount not to exceed $88.
Any person residing or doing business in Mansfield may apply to the Town Manager for a variance from one or more of the provisions of this chapter which are more stringent than the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protections regulations for the control of noise, provided that the applicant supplies all of the following information to the Town Manager:
No variances from these regulations shall be issued unless it has been demonstrated that:
The proposed activity will not violate any provisions of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection regulations.
The noise levels generated by the proposed activity will not constitute a danger to the public health.
Compliance with this chapter constitutes an unreasonable hardship on the applicant.
The application for variance shall be reviewed and either approved or rejected within 15 days of receipt by the Town Manager. The approval or rejection shall be in writing and shall state the condition(s) of approval, if any, or the reasons for rejection.
Failure to rule on the application within the designated time shall constitute approval of the variance.