[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of West Donegal 10-15-1984 by Ord. No. 43-1984 (Ch. 10, Part 3, of the 1984 Code of Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Board of Supervisors of West Donegal Township, finding that excessive levels of sound are detrimental to the physical, mental and social well-being of the people as well as to their comfort, living conditions, general welfare and safety and being therefore a public health and welfare hazard, hereby declares it to be necessary to provide for the greater control and more effective regulation of excessive sound and the sources of excessive sound within the Township of West Donegal.
The following words, terms and phrases when used in this chapter shall have the meaning ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning. All terminology used in this chapter, not defined below, shall be in conformance with the applicable publications of the American National Standards Institute [ANSI S1.1 — 1960 (R1971) and its revisions] or its successor body.
- CONSTRUCTION OPERATION
- The erection, repair, renovation, demolition, or removal of any building or structure; and the excavation, filling, grading and regulation of lots in connection therewith.
- Any occurrence or set of circumstances involving actual or imminent physical trauma or property damage.
- EMERGENCY WORK
- Any work performed for the purpose of preventing or alleviating the physical trauma or property damage threatened or caused by an emergency.
- MUFFLER or SOUND DISSIPATIVE DEVICE
- A device designed or used for decreasing or abating the level of sound escaping from an engine or machinery system.
- Any sound which annoys or disturbs humans or which causes or tends to cause an adverse psychological or physiological effect on humans.
- NOISE DISTURBANCE
- Any sound which:
- Any individual, association, partnership, or corporation, and includes any officer, employee, department, agency, or instrumentality of a state or any political subdivision of a state. Whenever used in any clause prescribing and imposing a penalty, person includes the individual members, partners, officers and managers, or any of them, of partnerships and associations, and as to corporations, the officers and managers thereof or any of them.
- POWERED MODEL VEHICLE
- Any self-propelled airborne, waterborne, or landborne plane, vessel, or vehicle, which is not designed to carry persons, including but not limited to any model airplane, boat, car, or rocket.
- PROPERTY LINE (BOUNDARY)
- An imaginary line drawn through the points of contact of adjoining lands, apartments, condominiums, townhouses and duplexes owned, rented or leased by different persons, a demarcation or a line of separation of properties, and also, for any two or more buildings sharing common grounds, the line drawn midway between any two said buildings. All areas devoted to public right-of-way shall be deemed to be across the property line. For the purpose of this regulation, the property line includes all points on a plans formed by projecting the property line in a manner deemed appropriate by the enforcing Township official or employee.
- PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
- Any street, avenue, boulevard, highway, sidewalk, alley or similar place which is owned or controlled by a governmental entity.
- PUBLIC SPACE
- Any real property or structures thereon which are owned or controlled by a governmental entity.
- REAL PROPERTY
- All land, whether publicly or privately owned, whether improved or not improved, with or without structures, exclusive of any areas devoted to public right-of-way.
- An oscillation in pressure, particle displacement, particle velocity or other physical parameter, in a medium with internal forces that causes compression and rarefaction of that medium, or the superposition of such propagated oscillation which evokes an auditory sensation. The description of sound may include any characteristics of such sound, including duration, intensity, and frequency.
- SOUND LEVEL
- 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 S1.4-1971, or the latest revision thereof). If the frequency weighting employed is not indicated, the A-weighting shall apply.
Noise disturbance prohibited. No person shall make, continue, or cause to be made or continued any noise disturbance, nor shall any person suffer, allow or permit any noise disturbance to be made or continued from or at any property, whether real or personal, that is subject to such person's right to control.
Specific prohibitions. The following acts, and the causing thereof, are declared to be noise disturbances and therefore in violation of this chapter:
Radios, television sets, musical instruments and similar devices. Operating, playing or permitting the operation or playing of any radio, television, phonograph, drum, musical instrument, sound amplifier, automobile radio, automobile stereo or high fidelity equipment or similar device which produces, reproduces or amplifies sound:
At any time in such a manner as to cause a noise disturbance across a property line (boundary), or between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. so as to be plainly audible across a property line (boundary); or
In such a manner as to create a noise disturbance across a property line (boundary) or at 50 feet from such device, whichever is less, when the device is operated in or on a motor vehicle, or hand carried, on a public right-of-way or public space; or
In such a manner as to create a noise disturbance to any person other than the operator of the device, when operated by any passenger or on common carrier.
Construction. Operating or permitting the operation of any tools or equipment used in construction operations, drilling, or demolition work:
Between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day on weekdays and Saturdays or at any time on Sundays or legal holidays, such that the sound therefrom creates a noise disturbance across a residential real property line (boundary), except for emergency work.
Domestic power tools. Operating or permitting the operation of any mechanically powered saw, drill, sander, grinder, lawn or garden tool, snow blower, or similar device used outdoors in agricultural, rural and residential zoning districts between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. so as to cause a noise disturbance across a residential property line (boundary).
Loading and unloading. Loading, unloading, opening, closing or other handling of boxes, crates, containers, building materials, garbage cans, or similar objects between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day in such a manner as to cause a noise disturbance across a residential property line (boundary). This Subsection B(5) shall not apply to municipal or utility services in or about the public right-of-way.
Animals and birds. Owning, possessing, harboring or controlling any animal or bird which howls, barks, meows, squawks, or makes other sounds continuously and/or incessantly for a period of 10 minutes or makes such noise intermittently for 1/2 hour or more to the disturbance of any person at any time of the day or night regardless of whether the animal or bird is situated in or upon private property; provided, however, that at the time the animal or bird is making such noise, no person is trespassing or threatening to trespass upon private property in or upon which the animal or bird is situated nor is there any other legitimate cause which justifiably provoked the animal or bird.
Powered model vehicles. Operating or permitting the operation of powered model vehicles so as to create a noise disturbance across a residential property line (boundary) between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.
Tampering. The following acts or the causing thereof are prohibited:
The removal or rendering inoperative by any person other than for the purposes of maintenance, repair or replacement, of any muffler or sound dissipative device or element of design or noise label of any product.
The intentional moving or rendering inaccurate or inoperative of any sound monitoring instrument or device positioned by or for West Donegal Township, provided such device or the immediate area is clearly labeled in accordance with noise control regulations, to warn of the potential illegality.
The use of a product which has had a muffler or sound dissipative device or element of design or noise label removed or rendered inoperative, with knowledge that such action has occurred.
Vehicle, motorboat, or aircraft repairs and testing. Repairing, rebuilding, or testing any motor vehicle, motor cycle, motorboat, or aircraft in such a manner as to cause a noise disturbance across a residential real property line (boundary).
Motor vehicle prohibitions.
Motor vehicles and motorcycles on public rights-of-way. No person shall operate or cause to be operated a public or private motor vehicle or motorcycle, or any equipment attached to such a vehicle, on a public right-of-way at any time in such a manner that the sound level emitted by the motor vehicle or motorcycle, or any equipment attached to such a vehicle, exceeds the level set forth in Title 67, Chapter 157, of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Regulations (Established Sound Levels) or any amendments thereto.
Standing motor vehicles. No person shall operate or permit the operation of any motor vehicle or any auxiliary equipment attached to such a vehicle, for a period longer than 15 minutes in any hour while the vehicle is stationary, for reasons other than traffic congestion, anywhere within 150 feet of any residence in such a manner as to cause a noise disturbance across a residential property line (boundary).
Unnecessary horn blowing. No person shall at any time sound the horn or other warning device of a vehicle except when absolutely necessary as a warning while actually driving such vehicle.
Sound trucks. No person shall, at any time between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day on weekdays and Saturdays, or at any time on Sundays or legal holidays, operate sound amplifying equipment mounted on or attached to any motor vehicle.
Prima facie violation. The noise from any of the aforesaid prohibited acts that disturbs two or more residents who are in general agreement as to the times and durations of the noise and who reside in separate residences (including apartments and condominiums) located across a property line (boundary) from the property on which the source of the noise is generated shall be prima facie evidence of a noise disturbance.
The following sounds are exempted from the provisions of this chapter:
Amplified announcements. Electronically amplified announcements at athletic events.
Blasting. Blasting which is performed in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.
Concerts, etc. Band concerts, block parties, church carnivals, or other performances or similar activities publicly or privately sponsored and presented in any public or private space outdoors shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter, provided such activities do not occur between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.
Emergency work. Sounds caused by the performance of emergency work or by the ordinary and accepted use of emergency apparatus and equipment.
Municipal and utility services. Sounds resulting from the repair or replacement of any municipal or utility installation in or about the public right-of-way.
School and public activities. Sounds not electronically amplified, created by organized school related programs, activities, athletic and entertainment events, or other public programs, activities or events, other than motor vehicle racing events.
Warning devices. Sounds made by warning devices operating continuously for three minutes or less, except in the event of an actual emergency, shall not apply.
Agricultural activities. Sounds resulting from agricultural operations protected from nuisance suits by Act No. 1982-133.
Fire/burglar alarms. Sounds made by fire and burglar alarms operating continuously for 10 minutes or less.
[Amended 10-7-1996 by Ord. No. 109-96; 5-19-1997 by Ord. No. 114-97]
For each violation of the provisions of this chapter, any person who commits, takes part in, or assists in any such violation shall be liable, upon conviction thereof in a summary proceeding, to pay a fine of not less than $200 nor more than $1,000 for each offense, together with the costs of prosecution. Each day or portion thereof in which a violation exists shall be considered a separate violation of this chapter, and each section of this chapter which is violated shall be considered a separate violation. In default of payment of such fine, such person shall be liable to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 30 days.