[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Brookhaven 6-16-1987 by L.L. No. 7-1987. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Whereas excessive sound is a serious hazard to the public health, 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 of an environment free from excessive sound; now, therefore, it is the policy of the Town of Brookhaven to prevent excessive sound that may jeopardize the health, 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 certain mobile sources within the limits of the Town of Brookhaven.
All terminology defined herein which relates to the nature of sound and the mechanical detection and recordation of sound is in conformance with the terminology of the American National Standards Institute or its successor body.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A-WEIGHTED SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL
- The sound pressure level measured in decibels with a sound level meter set for A-weighting, abbreviated "dBA."
- COMMERCIAL AREA
- A group of commercial properties and the abutting public rights-of-way and public spaces.
- COMMERCIAL PROPERTY
- Any property currently or hereinafter zoned for any classification of business or commercial zoning according to the Zoning Map of the Town of Brookhaven or any facility or property used for activities involving the furnishing or handling of goods or services, including but not limited to:
- Any site preparation, assembly, erection, repair, alteration or similar action, but excluding demolition, of buildings or structures.
- 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 of 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."
- Any dismantling, intentional destruction or removal of buildings or structures.
- EMERGENCY WORK
- Any work or action necessary to deliver essential services, including but not limited to repairing water, gas, electricity, telephone and sewer facilities and public transportation, removing fallen trees on public rights-of-way and abating life-threatening conditions.
- INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY
- Any facility or property used for activities involving the production, fabrication, packaging, storage, warehousing, shipping or distribution of goods, including any property currently or hereinafter zoned for any classification of industrial zoning according to the Zoning Map of the Town of Brookhaven.
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- Any vehicle which is propelled or drawn on land by an engine or motor.
- MULTIDWELLING BUILDINGS
- Any building wherein there are two or more dwelling units.
- Any airborne sounds of such level and duration as to be or tend to be injurious to human health or welfare or that would unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of life or property.
- NOISE CONTROL ADMINISTRATOR
- The noise control officer designated as the official liaison with all municipal departments, empowered to grant permit for variances.
- NOISE CONTROL OFFICER
- Any employee of the Town of Brookhaven trained in the measurement of sound and empowered to issue a summons for violations of this chapter.
- NOISE DISTURBANCE
- Any sound that:
- Any individual corporation, company, association, society, firm, partnership, joint-stock company, the state or any political subdivision, agency or instrumentality of the state.
- PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
- Any street, avenue, boulevard, road, highway, sidewalk, alley or similar place that is owned or controlled by a governmental entity.
- PUBLIC SPACE
- Any real property or structures thereon that are owned or controlled by a governmental entity.
- REAL PROPERTY LINE
- RESIDENTIAL AREA
- A group of residential properties and the abutting public rights-of-way and public spaces.
- RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
- Any property used for human habitation.
- 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.
- SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL
- The level of a sound measured in decibel units with a sound level meter which has a uniform response over the band of frequencies measured.
- Any day, Monday through Friday, that is not a legal holiday.
The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by the noise control officers.
The Noise Control Administrator shall have 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.
Review public and private projects, subject to mandatory review or approval by other departments, for compliance with this chapter.
The Noise Control Administrator shall have the authority to grant permit for variances as provided in § 50-8 of this chapter.
The Noise Control Administrator shall not use this chapter in situations within the jurisdiction of the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act.
All departments and agencies of the Town of Brookhaven 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 Administrator 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 Administrator prior to the approval of such projects to ensure that such activities comply with the provisions of this chapter.
No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit the operation of any source of sound on a particular category of property or any public land or right-of-way 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 or within the real property line of the receiving property, except those acts specifically prohibited in § 50-6 of this chapter for which no measurement of sound is required.
When measuring noise within a multidwelling unit, all doors and windows shall be closed, and the measurements shall be taken in the center of the room.
The following are exempt from the A-weighted sound pressure level limits of Table I:
Noise from domestic power tools, lawn mowers and agricultural equipment, when operated with a muffler, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on weekdays and 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on weekends and legal holidays, provided that they produce less than 85 dBA at any real property line of a residential property.
Sound from church bells and church chimes when part of a religious observance or service.
Noise from snowblowers, snow throwers and snowplows, when operated with a muffler, for the purpose of snow removal.
Noise from stationary emergency signaling devices owned and operated by any public utility, municipal subdivision, Fire Department or ambulance corps when used in connection with an emergency or for testing purposes.
Noise from a burglar alarm of any building or motor vehicle, provided that such burglar alarm shall terminate its operation within 15 minutes after it has been activated and shall not be operated more than 15 minutes in any one-hour period.
No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit to be made verbally or mechanically any noise disturbance. Noncommercial public speaking and public assembly activities conducted on any public space or public right-of-way shall be exempt from the operation of this section.
No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit the following acts:
Sound reproduction systems: operating, playing or permitting the operation or playing of any radio, television, phonograph or similar device that reproduces or amplifies sound in such a manner as to create a noise disturbance for any person other than the operator of the device. However, the playing of bands or other music on any commercial property shall be governed by § 50-5.
[Amended 3-19-1996 by L.L. No. 10-1996, effective 3-22-1996]
Loudspeakers and public address systems: use or operation of any loudspeaker public address system or similar device between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. in the following day during weekdays and between 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 a.m. in the following day on Saturdays and Sundays, except when used in connection with a public emergency by officers of any Police Department, Fire Department or of any municipal entity.
Animals and birds: owning, possessing or harboring any pet animal or pet 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 section, a "noise disturbance from a barking dog" shall be defined as that created by a dog barking continuously or intermittently for 15 minutes.
[Amended 5-5-1998 by L.L. No. 11-1998, effective 5-11-1998]
Loading and unloading: loading, unloading, opening, closing or other handling of boxes, crates, containers, building materials, liquids, garbage cans, refuse or similar objects or the pneumatic or pumped loading or unloading of bulk materials in liquid, gaseous, powder or pellet form or compacting refuse by persons engaged in the business of scavenging or garbage collection, whether private or municipal, between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. and the following day when the latter is a weekday and between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day when the latter is on a holiday, except by permit, when the sound therefrom creates a noise disturbance across a residential real property line.
Standing motor vehicles: operating or permitting the operation of any motor vehicle or any auxiliary equipment attached to such a vehicle, for a period of longer than three minutes in any hour while the vehicle is stationary, for reasons other than traffic congestion or emergency work, on a public right-of-way or public space within 150 feet (46 meters) of a residential area between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. in the following day.
Construction: operating or permitting the operation of any tools or equipment used in construction, drilling, earth moving, excavating or demolition work between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day on weekdays or at any time on weekends or legal holidays, except:
[Amended 12-15-1992 by L.L. No. 15-1992, effective 12-24-1992]
Noise from municipally sponsored celebrations or events shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter.
Any person who owns or operates any stationary noise source may apply to the Noise Control Administrator for a variance from one or more of the provisions of this chapter. Applications for a variance shall supply information, including but not limited to:
The nature and location of the facility or process for which such application is made.
The reason for which the variance is requested.
The nature and intensity of noise that will occur during the period of the variance.
A description of interim noise control measures to be taken by the applicant to minimize noise and the impacts occurring therefrom.
A specific schedule of the noise control measures which shall be taken to bring the source into compliance.
Failure to supply the information required by the Noise Control Administrator shall be cause for rejection of the application.
The Noise Control Administrator shall charge fees as established by Town Board resolution.
[Amended 11-23-2010 by L.L. No. 44-2010, effective 12-7-2010; 2-14-2019 by L.L. No. 2-2019, effective 2-25-2019]
The Noise Control Administrator may, at his/her discretion, limit the duration of the variance, which shall never be longer than 15 days. Any person holding a variance and requesting an extension of time may apply for a new variance under the provisions of this section. No person shall be entitled to variances totalling more than 30 days during any calendar year.
The variance shall operate as a stay of prosecution.
The variance may be revoked by the Noise Control Administrator if the terms of the variance are violated.
[Amended 2-15-1994 by L.L. No. 2-1994, effective 2-22-1994]
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a violation and shall be punishable as follows: upon a first conviction, by a fine of not less than $25 and not exceeding $100; upon a second conviction, by a fine of not less than $50 and not exceeding $150; upon a third or subsequent conviction, by a fine of not less than $100 and not exceeding $250.
Each two-hour period of violation of any provision of this chapter shall constitute a separate violation.
Except as provided in Subsection B, in lieu of issuing a summons, the Noise Control Administrator may issue an order requiring abatement of any source of sound alleged to be in violation of this chapter within a reasonable time period and according to guidelines which the Noise Control Administrator may prescribe.
An abatement order shall not be issued when the Noise Control Administrator has reason to believe that there will not be compliance with the abatement order, when the alleged violator has been served with a previous abatement order or has previously been convicted for a violation of this chapter.
[Amended 12-7-1993 by L.L. No. 21-1993, effective 12-13-1993]
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 other law. Nothing herein shall be construed to abridge the emergency powers of any health department or the right of such department to engage in any necessary or proper activities. Nothing herein shall abridge the powers and responsibilities of any police department or law enforcement agency to enforce the provisions of this chapter.