City of Oswego, NY
Oswego County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Oswego 5-12-1980; amended in its entirety 4-23-2007. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Alarm systems — See Ch. 57.
Animals — See Ch. 63.
Harbors — See Ch. 143.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 211.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 257.
Zoning — See Ch. 280.
It is hereby declared to be the policy of the City of Oswego to prevent excessive, unnecessary, unnatural or unusually loud noise within the limits of the City of Oswego. It is further the policy of the City of Oswego to secure and promote the public health, comfort, convenience, safety, welfare and prosperity and the peace of quiet of the City of Oswego and its inhabitants.
As used in this chapter the following terms shall have the following meanings:
A-WEIGHTED
The sound-pressure level in decibels as measured on a sound-level meter using the A-weighting network. The level so read is designated "dB(A)."
CONSTRUCTION
Any activity necessary or incidental to the erection, demolition, assembling, altering, installing or equipping of buildings, public or private highways, roads, premises, parks, utility lines or other property, including but not limited to the related activity such as line clearing, grading, earthmoving excavation, blasting, filling and landscaping, but not including agriculture.
DAYTIME
The period of time between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
DECIBEL
The unit for measuring the volume of a sound, based upon the pressure level of a sound. For the purpose of this chapter, the standard reference pressure stated herein will be used to assure a consistent and standard reference for measuring sound. The sound-pressure level measured in decibels is equal to 20 times the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of the effective pressure of the sound measured. "dB" is the abbreviation for decibel.
IMPULSIVE SOUND
A sound of short duration, usually less than one second, and of high intensity, with an abrupt onset and rapid delay.
NIGHTTIME
The period of time between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
OWNER
Any person who has regular control of a device or site, including but not limited to the owner of a freehold or the premises or lesser estate therein or mortgages thereof or an agent or lessee of such person.
PERSON
Includes the singular and plural and also any individual; any property owner and or lessee; any firm; a corporation; a political subdivision; a government agency, including any agency of the City of Oswego; an association or an organization, including but not limited to officers, department heads, employees, agents and/or independent contractors thereof; or any legal entity whatsoever.
REAL PROPERTY BOUNDARY
An imaginary line exterior to any structure along the ground surface which separates the real property owned by one person from that owned by another person and the vertical extension of said line.
SOUND LEVEL
The quantity in decibels measured by a sound-level meter satisfying the requirements of American National Standards specifications for sound-level meters. Sound level is the frequency-weighted sound-pressure level obtained with the standardized dynamic characteristics "fast" and "slow" and weighting (a), (b) or (c); unless otherwise indicated, the A-weighting slow response shall apply.
SOUND-LEVEL METER
An instrument, which includes but is not limited to a microphone, amplifier, rms detector, integrator or time average or output meter that measures sound-pressure fluctuations. The output meter reads sound-pressure level when properly calibrated and the instrument is of a Type 2 or better as specified in American National Standards Institute Publication S1.4-1971 or its successor publication. The manufacturer's published indication of compliance with such specifications shall comply.
UNREASONABLE NOISE
Any excessive, unnecessary or unusual loud sound or any sound or noise that either annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of a reasonable person of normal sensitivities or which causes injury to animal life or damage to a property or business. Standards to be considered in determining whether said noise is unreasonable in a given situation include, but are not limited to, the following:
A. 
The volume of the noise.
B. 
The intensity of the noise.
C. 
Whether the nature of the noise is usual or unusual.
D. 
Whether the origin of the noise is usual or unusual.
E. 
The volume and intensity of the background noise, if any.
F. 
The proximity of the noise to residential sleeping facilities.
G. 
The nature and zoning district of the areas within which the noise emanates.
H. 
The time of the day or night the noise occurs.
I. 
The time duration of the noise.
J. 
Whether the sound source is temporary.
K. 
Whether the noise is continuous or impulsive.
It shall be unlawful for any person to make, continue, or cause to be made or continued any loud or unreasonable noise, as defined herein, or any noise which either annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of others within the limits of the City.
The following acts and the causing thereof shall be violations of this chapter:
A. 
Sound reproduction.
(1) 
No person shall use, operate or permit to be used or operated any radio, radio receiving set, musical instrument, phonograph, jukebox or other machine or device for the producing or reproducing of sound in such a manner as to disturb the peace, quiet and comfort of the neighboring inhabitants by creating unreasonable noise across a real property boundary line. The noise shall be measured from the real property boundary line nearest to the source of the complaint.
(2) 
The permit requirement for a sound amplifying system on public property shall be as follows:
(a) 
No person shall use, operate or permit to be used or operated a sound reproducing device upon any public street or place without obtaining permission in writing of the Common Council prior to use or operation.
(b) 
The Common Council shall not refuse said permit unless there is substantial and convincing evidence that said sound reproduction would result in an unreasonable interference of others or unreasonable interference with the safety, peace and quiet of those on surrounding private property or use of public streets and places.
B. 
Animals. No person shall own, harbor or possess any animal (including birds) that continuously or frequently creates an unreasonable noise across a real property boundary line. This provision is specifically intended to address a barking dog to be defined as a dog that continuously barks for a ten-minute period or intermittently for 30 minutes.
C. 
Alarms. No person shall maintain an alarm system in a building/residence or motor vehicle unless said alarm system is capable of and shall automatically cease its operation within a fifteen-minute period from the time of activation, and any person utilizing the local alarm system within the City of Oswego shall be deemed to have given consent to the police and/or fire officials of the City of Oswego to disable such alarm pursuant to the provision of § 57-12 of this Code.
D. 
Emergency warning device. No person shall use or operate or permit the use or operation of any emergency warning device, except as follows:
(1) 
To give notice or warning of any emergency;
(2) 
On an authorized vehicle when such vehicle is engaged in said emergency operations; or
(3) 
When such device is under test.
E. 
Motor vehicles.
(1) 
All motor vehicles operated within the limits of the City shall be subject to the noise standards and decibel levels as set forth in the regulations of the State of New York Vehicle and Traffic Law.[1] No person shall operate a motor vehicle in such a manner as to create unreasonable noise by the spinning or squealing of tires on said vehicle or in such a manner to at any time create the sound-pressure level emitted by said vehicle to exceed the limitations set forth in the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law §§ 386 and 1162.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also 6 NYCRR Subchapter E.
(2) 
No sound amplifying devices on or within motor vehicles shall emit noise in excess of the noise levels as specified in this chapter.
(3) 
No person shall operate or cause or permit to be operated any motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) in excess of 10,000 pounds or any auxiliary equipment attached to such vehicle for a period longer than 20 minutes in any hour while the vehicle is stationary, for reasons other than traffic congestion, on a public right-of-way or public space so that the sound therefrom is audible across a residential real property boundary between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day.
F. 
Shouting. No person shall shout, yell, hoot, whistle or sing on a public street or public place in such a manner as to create an unreasonable noise.
G. 
Outdoor equipment; power tools. No person shall use or operate or permit the use or operation of any powered tools or equipment, including but not limited to saws, sanders, drills, grinders, lawn or garden tools, lawn mowers, tractors and leaf blowers, when used outdoors during the nighttime hours, so as to create unreasonable noise.
H. 
Construction. No person shall engage in construction or permit construction, as defined herein in such a manner as to cause unreasonable noise during the nighttime on weekdays and weekends, exclusive of emergency work and safety/protective devices.
(1) 
No person shall engage in or permit any person to be engaged in construction activities which create excessive noise at the property limits of the construction site between the hours of 9:00 p.m. of one day and 7:00 a.m. of the following day on any day of the week, except as is permitted in Subsection H(2) and (3) hereof.
(2) 
Following the receipt of a written application for a variance from the requirements of Subsection H(1), the City Engineer's office may, within a reasonable time, grant a variance authorizing such construction activities upon the applicant's demonstration of hardship and/or practical difficulty in meeting said requirements or upon a determination that the public interest will be served by the granting of the requested variance. The City Engineer's office shall set any stipulations deemed necessary in the interest of the public health, safety and/or welfare at the time of granting such a variance.
(3) 
In the case of an emergency, construction activities directly connected with the abatement of such emergency may be undertaken without obtaining a variance, for a period not to exceed 72 hours from the commencement of such activities, during which time application for a variance hereunder shall be made. However, notification must be made to the Police Department together with an explanation, in writing, of why said construction is an emergency. In such an emergency, construction activities shall not continue after the seventy-two-hour period unless prior to the expiration of that period verbal or written approval is issued by the City Engineer or his or her authorized subordinates to continue such activities and unless written confirmation of any verbal approval is issued within four hours following the start of the next normal business day of the City Engineer's office. Approval or confirmation shall not be withheld unreasonably.
I. 
Places of public assembly. No person shall operate or permit the use or operation of a public place of assembly, including but not limited to a restaurant, bar, cafe, discotheque or dance hall, in which the sound level is equal to or exceeds 55 dBs in a residential area or 65 dBs in a commercial area for more than 30 seconds at the location of said assembly.
J. 
Noise-sensitive zones. No person shall create or permit the creation of any unreasonable noise exceeding 55 dB on any street, sidewalk or public place adjacent to any school, church, house of worship, senior citizen center, library, court or authorized day-care center while in use or adjacent to any hospital or nursing home at any time provided that signs are displaced so as to identify such location as listed above.
K. 
Parties and other social events.
[Amended 8-26-2013]
(1) 
It shall be unlawful for any person in charge of a party or other social event that occurs on any private or public property to allow that party or event to produce unreasonable noise in a loud, annoying or offensive manner such that noise from the party interferes with the comfort, repose, health or safety of members of the public within any building or outside building, or recklessly creates the risk thereof.
(2) 
For the purpose of this section, a "person in charge of a party or other social event":
(a) 
That occurs on any public property shall be the person or persons who obtained permission to utilize that property for that event.
(b) 
That occurs on private property shall be the persons or business entity who own or lease premises involved or any adult person who lives in or on the premises involved in such party or social event.
(c) 
Where beer is being served from a keg on the premises, shall also include the person to whom the keg is registered in addition to any person designated in Subsection K(2)(a) and (b) above.
(3) 
No person shall conduct parties or other gatherings of people whereby unreasonable noises are emitted after 9:00 p.m. and before 7:00 a.m. as to unreasonably interfere with the quiet, comfort and repose of any person in any dwelling or other type of residence.
It shall be unlawful for any person to make, continue or cause to be made or continued any noise which exposes any person to continuous sound levels in excess of those shown in the table, below, unless an exception as set forth in § 165-6 herein shall be applicable. Police can order that said noise be ceased if said noise is not in compliance with this section and if said noise does not fall into the category of an exception.
Measurement of Permissible Sound Levels
Maximum Permissible Noise Levels by Receiving Property Use Category
(dB)
Sound Source Property Use Category
Time Period
Residential
Commercial
Residential
(R1, R2, R3, R4)
7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
55
65
9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
50
65
Business/Industrial
(B1, B2, B3, IIV)
7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
65
65
9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
50
65
The requirements, provisions, prohibitions and terms of this chapter shall apply to all unreasonable noise with the exception of the following:
A. 
Any emergency vehicle authorized and responding to an emergency call or acting in time of an emergency.
B. 
Any and all activities that are permitted on a temporary basis in compliance with all laws and for which a license or permit has been issued or permission has been granted by the City of Oswego, including but not limited to parades, fireworks displays, all Harborfest-sponsored events, Farmer's Market, events sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, concerts, car racing and other events held at the Oswego Speedway.
C. 
Any and all noise emanating from a publicly sponsored and/or authorized sporting, entertainment or other public event.
D. 
Normal operations of City and County DPW equipment.
E. 
Private snow removal equipment,
The Common Council of the City of Oswego shall have the authority to grant special variances, issue temporary permits and suspend any of the provisions of this chapter upon such conditions and for such time as said Council shall deem fit to best serve the public health and welfare and the quality of life in the City of Oswego.
A. 
Any person seeking a variance or temporary permit pursuant to this section shall file an application with the Common Council. Said application shall consist of a verified letter signed by the applicant containing information that demonstrates that it would constitute an unreasonable hardship on the applicant, on the community or other persons to bring the sound or activity for which the variance is sought into compliance with this chapter. In addition, said letter shall contain the following information:
(1) 
The date, time and location of the event for which said variance or temporary permit is being requested.
(2) 
The plan, specifications and other pertinent information regarding the sources of the sound;
(3) 
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 said sound is to be generated;
(4) 
The noise abatement and control methods to be used to restrict the emission of sound.
B. 
In determining whether to grant or deny the application, the Common Council shall consider the hardship, to the applicant, the community and other persons, of not granting the variance as well as the adverse impact on the health, safety and welfare of the persons affected, the adverse impact on the property affected and any other adverse impacts of granting the variance.
C. 
It shall be within the sole discretion of the Common Council whether to grant the application for a variance or special permit. The Common Council 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 he/she shall grant any variance or special permit hereunder.
The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by the Oswego City Police Department, and it shall have the power to do the following:
A. 
Order any person to immediately cease and desist from any activity, which causes or is conducted so as to cause a violation of any provisions of this chapter.
B. 
Issue an appearance ticket for violation of any provision of this chapter.
Any person who violates any provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of an offense and shall, upon conviction, be subject to a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500 for the first offense. The penalty for a second or subsequent offense shall be not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 or imprisonment for a period of 15 days, or both such fine and imprisonment. Each day said violation is committed or permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense and shall be punishable as such.