[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Somerville 12-3-84 by Ord. No. 977. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also superseded former Ch. 114, Noise, adopted 4-20-36 as Ord. No. 330, as amended.
Whereas, excessive sound is a serious hazard to the public health and welfare, safety and the quality of life; and
Whereas, a substantial body of science and technology exists by which excessive sound may be substantially abated; and
Whereas, the people have a right to and should be ensured an environment free from excessive sound; and
Whereas, the borough wishes to set clear standards on noise levels so as to accommodate all social interests with justice and equity;
Now, therefore, it is the policy of the Borough of Somerville to prevent excessive sound that may jeopardize the health and welfare or safety of the citizens or degrade the quality of life.
This chapter shall apply to the control of sound originating from stationary and mobile sources within the limits of the Borough of Somerville.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- COMMERCIAL PROPERTY
- Any facility or property used for activities involving the furnishing or handling of goods or services and not located in an industrial or residential area as defined elsewhere in this section.
- Any site preparation, assembly, erection, repair, alteration or similar action, but excluding demolition, of buildings or structures.
- The abbreviation designating both the unit of measured sound level (the decibel) and the mode of measurement that uses the A-weighting of a sound-level meter.
- DECIBEL (DB)
- The practical unit of measurement for sound-pressure level; the number of decibels of a measured sound is equal to twenty (20) times the logarithm to the base of ten (10) of the ratio of the sound pressure of the measured sound to the sound pressure of a standard sound [twenty (20) micropascals]; abbreviated dB.
- Any dismantling, intentional destruction or removal of buildings or structures.
- GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
- The value specified by the manufacturer as the recommended maximum loaded weight of a single motor vehicle. In cases where trailers and tractors are separable, the gross combination weight rating (GCWR) which is the value specified by the manufacturer as the recommended maximum loaded weight of the combination vehicle, shall be used.
- INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY
- Area in which there is an industrial operation or use as defined in the Somerville Land Use and Development Code.
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- Any vehicle which is propelled or drawn on land by an engine or motor.
- NOISE CONTROL OFFICER
- Any employee of the borough qualified as per ' 114-3C and appointed by the Mayor and Borough Council.
- Any corporation, company, association, society, firm, partnership and joint stock company as well as individuals, and shall also include the state and all its political subdivisions and any agencies or instrumentalities thereof.
- PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
- Any street, avenue, boulevard, road, highway, sidewalk or alley or similar place that is owned or controlled by a governmental entity.
- REAL PROPERTY LINE
- The imaginary line including its planar extension that separates one parcel of real property from another.
- RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
- Those zones known as the R-1, R-2, G, A, P-1 and P-2 Districts in Article X of the Somerville Land Use and Development Code.
- 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 sound levels as specified in N.J.A.C. 7:29B.
- SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL
- The level of a sound measured in decibel units with a sound-level meter which has a uniform response over the bank of frequencies measured.
- Any Monday through Friday which is not a legal holiday in the State of New Jersey.
The provisions of this chapter shall be administered by the Mayor, Borough Council or their duly appointed designees.
In order to implement and enforce this chapter and for the general purpose of sound abatement and control, the Noise Control Officer shall have in addition to his enforcement power the power to:
Coordinate the noise control activities of all municipal departments and cooperate with all other public bodies and agencies to the extent practicable.
Review the actions of other municipal departments and advise such departments of the effect, if any, of such actions on noise control. The Noise Control Officer shall have no authority to cite other municipal departments pursuant to this chapter.
Review public and private projects, if subject to mandatory review or approval by other departments, for compliance with this chapter.
A person shall be considered qualified to be a Noise Control Officer if the person has satisfactorily completed any of the following:
"Community Noise — A Short Course," offered by the Department of Environmental Science of Cook College, Rutgers, the State University.
A program of tutoring and on-the-job training offered by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Noise Control to its employees.
Noise measurements made by the Noise Control Officer must be taken according to procedures specified by N.J.A.C. 7:29B.
All departments and agencies of the Borough of Somerville, shall, to the fullest extent consistent with other law, carry out their programs in such a manner as to further the policy of this chapter, and shall cooperate with the Noise Control Officer in the implementation and enforcement of this chapter.
All departments charged with new projects or changes to existing projects that may result in the production of noise shall consult with the Noise Control Officer prior to the approval of such projects to ensure that such activities comply with the provisions of this chapter.
No person shall cause, allow or permit the operation of any source of sound on a particular category of property in such a manner as to create a sound level that exceeds the particular sound-level limits set forth in Table I when measured at the real property line of the receiving property.
Domestic power tools, lawn mowers, noise from snow-blowers, snow throwers and snow plows when operated with a muffler for the purpose of snow removal and agricultural equipment when operated with a properly installed and functioning muffler between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. on weekdays and 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on weekends and legal holidays.
Sound produced by any and all religious activities.
Noise from construction activity with respect to sound levels and time of permissible time a redevelopment district shall be governed by the Redevelopment Agreement.
[Added 10-4-10 by Ord. No. 2335]
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to limit the rights of parties under the National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act, 29 U.S.C.A. ' 151 et seq.) or the rights of parties to political speech [see Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1977)].
No person shall cause, allow or permit the following acts:
Owning, possessing or harboring any animal or bird that frequently or for continued duration, makes sounds that create a noise disturbance across a residential real property line.
For the purpose of this chapter, noise disturbance from a barking dog may be defined as that created by a dog barking continuously for ten (10) minutes or intermittently for thirty (30) minutes.
Construction: Operating or permitting the operation of any tools or equipment used in construction, drilling or demolition work between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
Stationary emergency signaling devices: Causing noises from stationary emergency signaling devices, that is not in accordance with the provisions of N.J.A.C. 7:29-13, which provisions are incorporated herein by reference.
Burglar alarms: Sounding or permitting the sounding of any exterior burglar alarm on any building or motor vehicle unless such burglar alarm shall terminate its sound production within thirty (30) minutes of its being activated.
Air-conditioning and air-handling devices: The operation of air-conditioning or air-handling devices including heat pumps that produce a sound level greater than fifty-five (55) dBA at a real property line of a residential property, except when said operation produces less than a five (5) dBA increase in the sound level that exists in the absence of such sound.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to the emission of sound for the purpose of alerting persons to the existence of an emergency or the operation of borough equipment.
The Noise Control Officer shall have the authority, to grant special variances, provided that they are consistent with N.J.A.C. 7:29.
The Noise Control Officer shall establish regulations governing exceptions, variances and appeals; such regulations shall be subject to the approval of the Board of Health prior to promulgation thereof.
The Noise Control Officer shall not enforce any noise regulations within the jurisdiction of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Notice of violations. Violation of any provision of this chapters shall be cause for a notice of violation to be issued by the Noise Control Officer. Such notice shall be delivered by mail to the owner of the premises. Delivery of a notice shall be prima facie evidence of knowledge of the noise condition on the premises.
The Noise Control Officer may issue an order requiring abatement of any source of sound alleged to be in violation of this chapter within thirty (30) days. Written notice shall be issued to the responsible party to abate the violation within such time as shall be specified therein but not less than five (5) days from the date of service thereof.
If the responsible party cannot be expeditiously notified, such notice shall be posted at the place of noise emissions.
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be subject to a penalty of not more than five hundred dollars ($500) and/or sixty (60) days in jail, or both.
Other remedies. No provision of this chapter shall be construed to impair any common law or statutory cause of action, or legal remedy therefrom, of any person for injury or damage arising from any violation of this chapter or from any other law.