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Township of West Whiteland, PA
Chester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of West Whiteland 9-11-2013 by Ord. No. 407. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Alarm systems — See Ch. 91.
Peace and good order — See Ch. 230.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "West Whiteland Township Noise Ordinance."
A. 
Excessive sound is a hazard to the public health, safety, and welfare and to the quality of life of the residents of West Whiteland Township, interfering with the quiet enjoyment of residential and public property and the operation of businesses.
B. 
It is the policy of the Board of Supervisors to prevent, to control, or to mitigate environmental factors including noise pollution that may jeopardize the health, safety, or welfare of Township residents and businesses.
C. 
The Township is empowered to define conduct that constitutes disturbing the peace by § 1527 of the Second Class Township Code, 53 P.S. § 66527, to abate and to prohibit nuisances on private and public property pursuant to § 1529 of the Second Class Township Code, 53 P.S. § 66529, and to provide for enforcement of noise pollution ordinances by summary offense by § 1601(c.1)(2) of the Second Class Township Code, 53 P.S. § 66601(c.1)(2).
All sound exceeding the limits established hereinbelow are hereby declared to be a public nuisance, and may be abated by administrative or judicial proceedings, fines, and penalties herein provided.
A. 
Limits established.
[Amended 7-9-2014 by Ord. No. 413]
(1) 
No person shall operate or cause to be operated on private or public property any source of continuous sound (that is, any sound which is static, fluctuating, or intermittent with a recurrence greater than one time in any fifteen-second interval) in such a manner as to create a sound level that exceeds the limits set forth in the following table for the land use of the property receiving the sound, as measured at or within the boundary of the said receiving property.
Receiving Land Use Category
Time
Sound Level Limit
(dBA)
Residential, public space, open space, agricultural, or institutional
7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
60
9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. plus Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays
50
Commercial or business
7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
65
10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. plus Sundays and legal holidays
60
Industrial
At all times
70
(2) 
The proper designation of "receiving land use category" shall be determined by the Township representative taking the sound measurement for the purposes of enforcement of these provisions.
B. 
Correction for character of sound.
(1) 
For any source of sound which emits a pure tone, the maximum sound level limits set forth in the above table shall be reduced by five dBA.
(2) 
For any source of sound which emits an impulsive sound (a sound of short duration, with an abrupt onset and rapid decay and an occurrence of not more than one time in any fifteen-second interval) the maximum sound level shall not exceed 20 dBA over the ambient sound level, regardless of time of day or night or type of receiving land use.
C. 
Measurement of sound.
(1) 
For the purpose of measuring sound to determine compliance with the provisions of this chapter, test equipment, methods, and procedures shall conform to the latest approved standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), or equivalent entity as may be identified by the Board of Supervisors.
(2) 
Test equipment shall be operated in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, specifically including calibration requirements as necessary to assure an accurate measurement.
(3) 
The measurement of the sound shall be taken at or beyond the property line of the property from which the sound being measured is emanating.
D. 
Noise sources defined as nuisances.
(1) 
The following sources of noise are hereby defined as public nuisances and subject to control by the Township, regardless of decibel level:
(a) 
A domesticated animal that makes a noise continuously or persistently for a period of 15 minutes or more in such a manner as to disturb persons beyond the property line of the property whereupon such animal is kept.
(b) 
The operation, playing, or permitting of operation or playing of any musical instrument, radio, television, sound amplifier, audio equipment, or similar device between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. in such a manner as to disturb persons beyond the property line of the property upon which such devices are located.
(c) 
Performing any construction operation or operating or permitting the operating of any tools or other equipment used in construction, drilling, blasting, demolition, excavation, extraction of stone, or other such activities between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., prevailing time, Monday through Saturday or at any time on Sunday.
[Amended 7-9-2014 by Ord. No. 413]
(d) 
The operation of an internal combustion engine in such a manner as to disturb persons beyond the property line of the property upon which the engine is located.
(e) 
The operation or permitting of operation of any mechanically powered saw, drill, sander, grinder, lawn or garden tool, or similar device used out of doors between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. in such a manner to disturb persons beyond the property line of the property upon which such device is being operated.
[Amended 7-9-2014 by Ord. No. 413]
(2) 
In addition to the above, it is hereby declared to be a nuisance and shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or business entity to make, cause, or allow to be made or caused upon a property owned, occupied, or controlled by him or it any excessive noises or sounds by means of vehicles, machinery, equipment (including sound amplification equipment and musical instruments), or by any other means or methods which are physically annoying to the comfort of any reasonable person or which are so harsh, prolonged, unnatural, or unusual in their use, time, and place as to occasion physical discomfort or which are otherwise injurious to the lives, health, peace, and comfort of the inhabitants of the Township.
The following noise sources are hereby exempted from the maximum permissible sound levels provided hereinabove and are furthermore deemed not to be nuisances:
A. 
Devices used to alert persons to the existence of an emergency.
B. 
Noise associated with emergency work to provide electricity, water, or other utilities when the public health or safety is at risk.
C. 
Noise caused by the operation of snow removal and other emergency equipment operated by the Township or an individual or agency retained by the Township to do such work.
D. 
Hand-held power tools and yard maintenance equipment operated on a residential property between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
[Amended 7-9-2014 by Ord. No. 413]
E. 
Noise caused by construction activity between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
[Amended 7-9-2014 by Ord. No. 413]
F. 
Noise attributable to agricultural operations.
G. 
Public events authorized by the Township.
H. 
Noise from trains.
I. 
The unamplified human voice.
A. 
Any Township law enforcement officer, the Code Administration Officer, the Assistant Code Administration Officer, the Zoning Officer, or any other person designated by the Board of Supervisors may issue a notice of violation ("NOV") requiring the abatement of any source of sound in violation of this chapter. The owner or operator of the subject property or equipment shall be notified of the violation upon hand or certified mail delivery of the NOV, which shall specify the nature, date, and time of the violation and shall direct that the conduct violating this chapter cease forthwith. If a person or entity does not comply with the NOV as directed, a summary citation may be issued.
B. 
Any person or business entity who or which shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon summary conviction thereof in an action brought before a magisterial district judge in the manner provided for the enforcement of summary offenses under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, be punishable by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000, plus costs of prosecution and, in default of such fine and costs, by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 30 days. Each violation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed to be a separate and distinct offense. When a violation continues beyond the time limit as may be set forth in an NOV, each day that a violation continues beyond the time limit shall be deemed a separate and distinct offense. When a person or entity who or which has been issued an NOV is found again to be in violation of this chapter and issued another NOV within 12 months of the previous NOV, the fine shall be double the amount of the previous fine up to a maximum fine of $1,000 for each separate and distinct offense.
C. 
In addition to the above, the Township may institute an action for injunctive relief to prohibit or abate any activity in violation of the provisions of this chapter.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to impair any cause of action or legal remedy thereof of any person or the public for injury to or damage arising from the emission or release into the atmosphere or ground from any source whatsoever of noise in such a place or manner, or at such levels which may give rise to such cause of action.
[Added 7-9-2014 by Ord. No. 413]
Upon demonstrating evidence of a hardship or negative impact on public safety, as determined at the sole discretion of the Township Manager, applicants may request in writing a waiver from any of the parameters specified herein. Requests shall be submitted to the Township Manager or his/her designee and shall include the time and duration of the requested waiver and the reason for the requested waiver. Waivers granted by the Township Manager or his/her designee shall be issued in writing and shall be kept on the premises upon which the waiver is in effect for the duration specified.