[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Brutus 9-8-2014 by L.L. No. 5-2014. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as "the Town of Brutus Noise Abatement Law."
It is hereby declared to be the policy of the Town Board to prevent unreasonably loud, disturbing and unnecessary noise and to reduce noise level within the Town so as to preserve, protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare and to foster convenience, peace and quiet within the Town by the inhabitants and transients thereof. The Town Board finds that every person is entitled to have maintained noise levels which are not detrimental to life, health and the enjoyment of property and that excessive and unnecessary noise within the Town affects and is a menace to public health, safety, welfare and the comfort of the people of the Town. While problems involving the disturbance of peace and quiet by noise from various activities are best solved by thoughtful discussions and cooperative agreements between affected parties, there will be situations where this is not possible; in such cases, the Town Board has established standards, variance procedures, enforcement procedures and penalties to resolve such problems.
For the purposes of this chapter, the terms used herein are defined as follows:
- A-WEIGHTED SOUND LEVEL
- The sound level, in decibels, reported as measured by a sound-level measuring instrument having an A-weighting network which discriminates against the lower frequencies according to a relationship approximating the auditory sensitivity of the human ear. The level so read is designated "dBA."
- DECIBEL (dB)
- The practical unit of measurement for sound pressure level. The number of decibels of a measured sound is equal to 20 times the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of the sound pressure of the measured sound to the sound pressure of a standard sound [(20) micropascals]; abbreviated "dB."
- MULTI-DWELLING-UNIT BUILDING
- Any building wherein there are two or more dwelling units.
- That level of sound which, in each context described, hereunder either:
- A. Annoys, disturbs or perturbs a reasonable person of normal auditory sensitivities, or any sound which injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, hearing, peace or safety of a reasonable person of normal auditory sensitivities; or
- B. Is loud, disturbing, unusual, unreasonable and unnecessary, as well as audible outside the structure or the real property boundary from which it originates.
- REAL PROPERTY LINE
- Either the imaginary line, including its vertical extension, that separates one parcel of real property from another, or the vertical and horizontal boundaries of a dwelling unit that is one in a multi-dwelling-unit building.
- RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
- Any apparatus for human habitation.
- SOUND DEVICE OR APPARATUS
- Any apparatus or device for the making, reproduction or amplification of the human voice or other sounds.
- SOUND LEVEL
- The sound pressure level measured in decibels with a sound-level meter set for A-weighting. Sound level is expressed in dBA.
- SOUND-LEVEL METER
- An instrument for the measurement of noise and sound.
- That which is not required by the usual circumstances.
It shall be unlawful for any person to operate or permit to be operated any noise source in such a manner as to create a sound pressure level in dB which exceeds the limits set forth in Table I when measured at the adjoining property lines or adjoining roadways.
The restrictions set forth in this chapter shall not apply to alarms.
The following sounds shall not be deemed to be a violation of this chapter:
Church bells: sounds created by church bells or chimes.
Warning devices: sounds created by any government agency or by the use of public warning devices.
Lawn mowers/tools: sounds created by lawn mowers (equipped with mufflers, as applicable), manual and power tools and household appliances, provided that noise from such uses will be reduced to permissible sound limits under this law between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
Carbide cannons or poppers: sounds created by carbide cannons or poppers used by persons having not less than 10 acres in crop cultivation at that same location during the growing season.
Public utilities: sounds created by public utilities in carrying out the operation of their franchises.
Sporting events: sounds connected with sporting events of any public or private school. Noise from such events will be reduced to permissible sound limits under this law between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
Public entertainment: Temporary, nonregular events such as a carnival, fair or parade, only as allowed by permit of the Town Board or any other designated authority of the Town Board. Noise from such events will be reduced to permissible sound limits under this law between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
Agricultural machines and vehicles (when used in support of agricultural activities).
Snowblowers/snowplows: sounds from equipment or vehicles used to plow or blow snow.
The following noises shall be prohibited beyond the permissible sound limits under this law:
Radios, speakers or musical instruments: the operation of any radio, loudspeaker, public address system or the use of any musical instrument in such a manner or with such volume as to annoy or disturb the quiet, comfort or repose of persons in any dwelling or residence.
Automobiles and other vehicles: the use of any automobile, motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle, bus, snowmobile or other vehicle so out of repair, so loaded or used in such manner as to create persistent loud revving, racing, grating, grinding, rattling or other noise.
Exhaust of engines: the discharge into the open air of the exhaust of any stationary, internal combustion engine or motor vehicle engine, except through a muffler or other suppressive device that will effectively prevent loud or explosive noises therefrom.
Construction work: the erection, including excavation, demolition, alteration or repair of any building other than between 7:00 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., except in the case of urgent necessity in the interest of public safety as determined by the building inspector or other applicable laws in the Town.
Loading and unloading vehicles: the creation of a loud and excessive noise in connection with loading or unloading any vehicle or the opening and destruction of bales, boxes, crates and containers (not including loading and unloading of agricultural vehicles in the course of crop management activities).
Horn or signal: the sounding of any horn or signal device on any vehicle, motorcycle, bus or other device, except as a warning signal pursuant to the provisions of § 375 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of New York.
Hawking and peddling: the shouting and crying of peddlers, hawkers and vendors, which disturbs the peace and quiet of the neighborhood.
Noise in conduct of business: the creation of any unnecessary noise in the operation, conduct and/or maintenance of any business, factory, plant, yard or manufacturing establishment, including excavating, blasting (where permitted), grinding, breaking, crushing or processing of any substance or material.
Annoying sounds: the creating of any noise which causes public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm or disturbs the public's peace, comfort or tranquility.
Sound device prohibitions. It shall be unlawful for any person to use or operate or cause to be used or operated any sound device or apparatus in, on, near or adjacent to any public street, part or place for commercial or business advertising purposes or for any person to operate or drive any automobile, truck or other vehicle for commercial or business advertising by means of any sound device or apparatus. The use of any trade, business or corporate name or business advertising shall be presumptive evidence that such advertising was conducted by that person, business or corporation.
Any person seeking a variance pursuant to this Noise Abatement Law shall file an application for a permit with the Town Board. The application shall consist of a letter signed by the applicant and contain a legal form of verification. Such letter shall contain information which demonstrates that bringing the source of sound or activity for which the variance is sought into compliance with this chapter would constitute an unreasonable hardship on the applicant, on the community or on other persons. In addition, the following information shall be provided:
The plan, specifications and other information pertinent to such sources.
The characteristics of the sound emitted by the source, including but not limited to the sound levels, the presence of impulsive sounds and the hours during which such sound is generated.
The noise abatement and control methods used to restrict the emission of sound.
The Town Board, upon receipt of such application and upon payment of any fee which shall be required by Town Board resolution, shall set the matter down for a public hearing to be held within 30 days from the date the application is submitted. The Town Board shall cause publication of such public hearing to be given in the official newspaper of the Town in the same manner as an application to the Zoning Board of Appeals is published. The applicant, in like manner, shall give notice of the application by certified mail to all property owners surrounding the sound source site within a radius of 200 feet from the borders of said site.
In determining whether to grant or deny the application for a permit, the Town Board shall balance the hardship to the applicant, the community and other persons of not granting the variance against the adverse impact on the health, safety and welfare of persons affected, the adverse impact on the property affected and any other adverse impacts of granting the special permit.
The Town Board shall have the power to impose restrictions, conditions and the recording of covenants upon any sound source site, including time limits on permitted activity, in the event that it shall grant any permit hereunder.
The Town Clerk shall notify appropriate Town departments of the granting of variances and restrictions imposed by the Town Board.
Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a violation pursuant to the Penal Law and shall be punishable for a first violation by a fine of not more than $250 or imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or both. Each repeat offense (by the same person or on the same property) shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment of not more than 30 days, or both. The continuation of an offense for each day (24 hours) shall be deemed a distinct and separate offense.
In addition to the above-provided penalties and punishment, the Town Board may also maintain an action or proceeding in the name of the Town in a court of competent jurisdiction to compel compliance with or to restrain by injunction the violation of this chapter.
This chapter shall be enforced during regular business hours by the Code Enforcement Officer and such other persons as are duly appointed and authorized by the Town Board as noise monitors. Enforcement of maximum permitted noise levels in § 87-4 shall be accomplished using a properly calibrated sound-level meter conforming to ANSI (American National Standards Institute) Type II Standards. Any complaint lodged under this law shall be duly investigated by the Town, and if the Town finds sufficient cause, the alleged violator shall pay for noise measurement to verify compliance with this chapter and the effectiveness of any mitigating methods.