[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Cheektowaga 9-16-2002 by L.L. No. 2-2002 Amendments noted where applicable.]
Amusement arcades — See Ch. 56.
Neighborhood block parties — See Ch. 65.
Dance halls — See Ch. 91.
Mass gatherings — See Ch. 160.
Parks — See Ch. 174.
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former Ch. 166, Noise, adopted 10-21-1985 as Ch. 45 of the 1985 Code.
This chapter shall be known as the "Noise Law of the Town of Cheektowaga, Erie County, New York."
It is hereby declared to be the policy of the Town of Cheektowaga to safeguard the right of its residents within the privacy of their homes to be free from intrusive unwanted sounds. Problems concerning the disturbance of peace and quiet by noise from various activities are best solved by thoughtful discussions and cooperative agreements between affected parties. However, to resolve remaining problems of noise which is disturbing to others, it is the policy of the Town of Cheektowaga to establish standards, variance procedures, enforcement procedures and penalties.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated. All other terms shall have the meanings normally ascribed to them in regular usage.
- A-WEIGHTED SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL
- The sound pressure level in decibels as measured on a sound level meter using the A-weighting network by a trained operator. The level so read is designated dB(a) or dBA.
- AMBIENT NOISE LEVEL
- The sound-pressure level of the all-encompassing noise associated with a given environment, being usually a composite of sounds from many sources and/or the A-weighted sound-pressure level exceeded 90% of the time L90 based on a minimum period of 10 minutes.
- Any day of the week, that is, Monday through Sunday.
- 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.
- NOISE DISTURBANCE
- That level of sound which, in each context described in 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.
- An individual, firm, or corporation.
- REAL PROPERTY BOUNDARY
- A line along the ground surface, and its vertical extension, which separates the real property owned or controlled by one person from that owned or controlled by another person, including intrabuilding real property divisions.
- RESIDENTIAL AREA
- An area designated for any residential use in the Town of Cheektowaga, Erie County, New York, or any area improved by a dwelling.
- SOUND-LEVEL METER
- An instrument for the measurement of sound levels conforming to American National Standards Institute Type I or II Standards.
- STATIONARY NOISE SOURCE
- Any device, fixed or movable, which is located or used on geographically defined real property other than a public right-of-way.
- An oscillatory motion of particles described by displacement, velocity or acceleration with respect to a given reference point.
It is hereby declared to be a nuisance and it shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to make or cause or suffer or permit to be made or caused, upon any premises owned, occupied or controlled by him or her or it, or upon any public street, alley, or thoroughfare in the Town of Cheektowaga, any unnecessary noises or sounds by means of the human voice, by moving vehicle, or by any other means or methods which are physically annoying to the comfort of any person or which are so harsh or so prolonged or unnatural or unusual in their use, time and place as to occasion physical discomfort or which are injurious to the lives, health, peace and comfort of the inhabitants of said Town or any member thereof.
The following acts are declared to be loud, disturbing or excessive noise in violation of this chapter, but said enumeration shall not be deemed to be exclusive:
Amplified sound. The operation, playing or permitting the operation or playing of any radio, receiver, television, phonograph, tape player, compact disc or digital sound systems, sound amplifier, boom box, musical instrument, loudspeaker, or similar device, whether from a moving vehicle or stationary location, which reproduces or amplifies sound in such a manner as to create a sound level across a real property line, or through partitions common to two or more persons within a building, or from a stationary or moving vehicle, which exceeds the limits set forth in Table I. (This subsection does not apply to industrial manufacturing plants in the regular conduct of their business on their own properties.)
Horns and signaling devices. The sounding of any horn, signaling device or alarm (except as a danger warning, pursuant to § 375 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of New York) which results in a harsh or loud sound or repetitive sounds for any unreasonable or unnecessary period of time, so as to create a noise disturbance.
Shouting and yelling. Shouting, yelling, singing, calling, hooting or whistling so as to create a noise disturbance.
Engines. The operation, including the stationary idling, of any engine, including, but not limited to, an automobile, truck, motorcycle, motorbike, motorboat or minibike engine, so as to create a noise disturbance, or the use of any automobile, motorcycle, or motor vehicle so out of repair, so loaded, or in any manner so as to create excessive or unusual grating, grinding, rattling, or other noise, or the discharge into the open air of the exhaust from any stationary steam engine, stationary internalcombustion engine or motorboat engine, except through a muffler or other device which will effectively prevent loud or explosive noises therefrom, which exceed maximum permissible sound levels in Table I herein.
Heavy equipment. The operation of any pile driver, bulldozer, pneumatic hammer, grinder, noise or other construction equipment which creates a noise disturbance, except between 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. and except in cases of urgent necessity in the interest of public safety.
Construction. Any construction, excavation, demolition, alteration or repair which creates a noise disturbance, except between 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. and except in cases of urgent necessity in the interest of public safety.
Domestic equipment. The operation of or permitting to be operated any power saw, drill, sander, router, lawn or garden device, leaf or snowblower, insect control device or domestic equipment so as to create a noise disturbance, except between 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. However, the use of snowblowers, chain saws and other domestic tools and equipment are exempted from these limits when they are being used to clear driveways, streets, or walkways during and within 24 hours after snowfalls, rainstorms, ice storms, windstorms, or similar emergencies.
Domestic animals. The howling, barking, whining, squawking, neighing, or other sounds of domestic animals which occurs continuously or intermittently, or so frequently so as to create a noise disturbance (for purposes of this subsection, "continuous" shall be a period of 10 minutes, and "intermittent" shall be a period of 30 minutes).
The making of any noise for advertising purposes in any street or public place, or by means of aircraft, or the advertisement or calling attention to any advertisement, article, business, calling or profession upon any street, sidewalk or entrance to a place of business by means of any horn, megaphone, siren, bell, radio or any other sound-producing or sound-amplifying mechanism, instrument, or device.
Places of public entertainment. Operating or permitting to be operated any loudspeaker or other source of sound in any place of public entertainment which produces maximum levels of 90 dB(A)'s or greater at any point that is normally occupied by human being, as read with the slow response on a sound-level meter, without a conspicuous and legible sign with lettering no less than one inch high located outside such place, near the entrance, stating: WARNING: SOUND ENVIRONMENT WITHIN MAY CAUSE TEMPORARY HEARING IMPAIRMENT WHICH MAY BECOME PERMANENT WITH CONTINUED EXPOSURE. The sound level across a real property line shall not exceed the limits set forth in Table I.
Alarms. The sounding or permitting of the sounding of any exterior alarm on any building or motor vehicle, unless such alarm shall terminate its operation within 15 minutes of its being activated.
Stationary emergency signaling devices. Testing of only the electromechanical functioning of a stationary emergency signaling device shall occur at the same time each day when a test is performed, but not before 9:00 a.m. or after 8:00 p.m. Any such testing shall not exceed one minute.
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(A)'s which exceeds the limits set forth in Table I when measured at the real property boundary.
No person shall operate a motor vehicle on a public right-of-way at any time in such manner that the sound pressure level emitted by said vehicle exceeds the levels set forth in the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law.
The use of any sound-producing, sound-reproducing or sound-amplifying device, machinery, domestic equipment, heavy equipment or engine so as to cause the sound produced thereby to be audible outside the building or beyond the boundary of the property (real and personal) where it originates, between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day, shall be presumptive, prima facie evidence of a violation of this chapter.
Barking, squawking, whining, neighing or any other domestic animal sound which is audible at a point beyond the real property boundary from which such sound emanates and which continues continuously for 10 minutes, or intermittently for over 30 minutes between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. shall be presumptive, prima facie evidence of a violation of this chapter.
The following sounds are exempt from the operation of this chapter:
Emergency vehicles, such as fire, police or ambulance, while on emergency calls using radios, sirens, horns, bells or whistles;
Parades, fireworks displays and/or other special events for which permission has been granted by the Town, within such hours and conditions as may be imposed by the permit;
Emergency construction work which is necessary for the protection of life or property;
Trains, buses, aircraft or other items of transportation governed by either the state or federal noise regulations;
Emergency alarms, such as fire alarms or burglar alarms, prior to a reasonable opportunity for the owner or tenant in possession of the premises served by such alarm to turn off the alarm;
Church bells which are rung to signal church services;
Music in connection with any military, civic or authorized parade, funeral procession or religious ceremony, or any musical performances conducted under consent of municipal authority;
Municipal refuse collection;
Activities that are otherwise governed, authorized, or permitted under state or federal regulations.
Routine maintenance activities on all Town-owned facilities, such as parks, community centers, playgrounds and golf courses.
[Added 12-4-2006 by L.L. No. 3-2006]
It is the intention of the Town Board that this chapter, while in addition to and supplementing the federal and state regulations, be construed to secure for the people freedom from unlawful noise as described herein, without violating any of the rights secured by the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State of New York.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to police officers and firemen while in the discharge of duty.
Any person seeking a variance pursuant to this chapter shall file an application for a permit with the Town Board. The application shall consist of a letter signed by the applicant and containing 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 resolution of the Town Board, 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 newspapers 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 restriction imposed by the Town Board.
A sound-level meter conforming to ANSI (American National Standards Institute) Type II Standards shall be used and shall be calibrated prior to use. The calibrator shall be calibrated at least annually. The Building Inspection Department and/or the Police Department of the Town of Cheektowaga shall operate, witness and read the sound-level meter(s) and related equipment. The wind velocity gauge shall conform to accepted standards and shall be checked periodically for accuracy.
Court appearance tickets shall be issued by the Building Inspection Department, Police Department, or the Dog Warden.
Any person who violates any portion of this chapter or harbors or owns any animal which creates a violation of this chapter shall be guilty of a violation and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $250 or by imprisonment for a period not in excess of 15 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
The owner of any property and any person in control thereof when anything in violation of this chapter shall occur shall be guilty of a separate violation and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined or imprisoned as herein provided.
Unless otherwise provided, each day a violation occurs shall be deemed a separate violation for purposes of this chapter.
This chapter shall take effect as of January 1, 2003.
The existing Noise Ordinance of the Town of Cheektowaga, New York, effective April 29, 1940, as amended, is hereby repealed and replaced by this chapter, effective January 1, 2003.
This repeal shall not affect or impair any act done or offense committed or liability, penalty, forfeiture or punishment incurred prior to the time such repeal takes effect, but the same may be enforced or prosecuted as fully and to the same extent as if such repeal had not been effected. All actions and proceedings commenced under or by virtue of the ordinance, chapter, repealed hereby and pending immediately prior to the date on which such repeal takes place may be prosecuted and defended to final effect in the same manner as they might if such provisions were not so repealed.