[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Stratford 9-9-1985. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The short title of this chapter shall be the "Town of Stratford Noise Control Ordinance."
It is recognized that people have a right to, and should be ensured, an environment free from excessive sound and vibration that may jeopardize their health or safety or degrade the quality of life. This chapter is enacted to protect, preserve and promote the health, safety, welfare and quality of life for the citizens of Stratford through the reduction, control and prevention of noise.
The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this chapter:
- Any engine-powered device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air and is capable of carrying humans. "Aircraft" shall include civil, military, general aviation and VTOL/STOL aircraft.
- AIRCRAFT, STOL
- Any aircraft designed for, and capable of, short takeoff and landing operations.
- AIRCRAFT, VTOL
- Any aircraft designed for, and capable of, vertical takeoff and landing operations, such as but not limited to helicopters.
- An area of land or water that is used, or intended to be used, for the landing and takeoff of aircraft and is licensed by the State of Connecticut Bureau of Aeronautics for such use. "Airport" shall include all buildings and facilities, if any. "Airport" shall include any facility used, or intended for use, as a landing and takeoff area for VTOL/STOL aircraft, including but not limited to heliports.
- AMBIENT NOISE OR BACKGROUND
- Noise of a measurable intensity which exists at a point as a result of a combination of many distant sources individually indistinguishable.
- COMMERCIAL ZONE
- Any business zone, Commercial Districts CA and LB, as defined in the Zoning Regulations of the Town of Stratford. "Industrial Districts" shall consist of Zones MA and MB.
- Any site preparation, assembly, erection, substantial repair, alteration or similar action, but excluding demolition, for or of public or private rights-of-way, structures, utilities or similar property.
- CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT
- Any equipment or device operated by fuel or electric power used in construction or demolition work.
- DAY-TIME HOURS
- The hours between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Monday morning through Friday evening, and the hours 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Saturday and the hours 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, with the Saturday and Sunday hours in effect on the day before and the day of federal and state holidays; provided, however, that the same shall mean the hours between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., Monday morning through Friday evening, and the hours 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Saturday and the hours 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, with the Saturday and Sunday hours in effect on the day before and the day of federal and state holidays during daylight savings time.
- A logarithmic unit of measure used in measuring magnitudes of sound. The symbol is "dB."
- Any dismantling, intentional destruction or removal of structures, utilities, public or private right-of-way surfaces or similar property.
- DOMESTIC POWER EQUIPMENT
- Means, but is not limited to, power saws, drills, grinders, lawn and garden tools and other domestic power equipment intended for use in residential areas by a homeowner.
- Any occurrence or set of circumstances involving actual or imminent physical trauma or property damage which demands immediate action.
- EMERGENCY VEHICLE
- Any motor vehicle authorized by the Town of Stratford to have sound warning devices such as signs and bells which can lawfully be used when responding to an emergency.
- EMERGENCY WORK
- Work made necessary to restore property to a safe condition following an emergency or work required to protect persons or property from exposure to imminent danger.
- IMPULSE NOISE
- Sound of short duration (generally less than one second) with an abrupt onset and rapid delay.
- INDUSTRIAL ZONE
- Any Industrial Zone, including Light Industrial and Heavy Industrial as defined in the Zoning Regulations of the Town of Stratford.
- MOTOR BOAT
- Any vessel, not more than 65 feet in length and propelled by machinery, whether or not such machinery is the principal source of propulsion.
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- As per Section 14-1(30) of the Connecticut General Statues, Revision of 1958, as amended.
- A device for abating sounds such as escaping gases.
- NIGHTTIME HOURS
- The hours between 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., Sunday evening through Saturday morning, and the hours 10:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m., Saturday evening through Sunday morning, with the Saturday evening and Sunday morning hours in effect on the night before and the day of federal and state holidays; provided, however, that the same shall mean the hours between 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., Sunday evening through Saturday morning, and the hours 10:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m., Saturday evening through Sunday morning, with the Saturday evening and Sunday morning hours in effect on the night before and day of federal and state holidays during daylight savings time.
- NOISE LEVEL
- The sound pressure level as measured with a sound level meter using the A-weighting network. The level so read is designated "dB(A)" or "dBA."
- Any individual, firm, partnership, association, syndicate, company, trust, corporation, municipality, agency or political or administrative subdivision of the state or other legal entity of any kind.
- Any building, structure, land or portion thereof, including all appurtenances, and shall include yards, lots, courts, inner yards and real properties without buildings or improvements, owned or controlled by a person. The emitter's "premises" includes contiguous publicly dedicated street and highway rights-of-way, all road rights-of-way and waters of the state.
- PROPERTY LINE
- That real or imaginary line along the ground surface and its vertical extension which separates real property owned or controlled by another person and separates real property from the public right-of-way,
- PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
- Any street, avenue, boulevard, highway, sidewalk, alley, park, waterway, railroad or similar place which is owned or controlled by a governmental entity.
- RECREATIONAL VEHICLE
- Any nonregistered internal-combustion-engine-powered vehicle which is being used for recreational purposes.
- RESIDENTIAL ZONE
- Consists of Zones RS-1, RS-2, RS-3, RS-4, RM-1, as defined in the Zoning Regulations of the Town of Stratford.
- A transmission of energy through solid, liquid or gaseous media in the form of vibrations which constitute alternations in pressure or position of the particles in the medium and which in the air evoke physiological sensations, including but not limited to an auditory response when impinging on the ear.
- SOUND-LEVEL METER
- An instrument used to take sound-level measurements and which should conform, as a minimum, to the operational specifications of the American National Standards Institute for "sound-level meters," S 1.4--1971 (Type S2A).
- SOUND-PRESSURE LEVEL (SPL)
- Twenty times the logarithm to the Base 10 of the ratio of the pressure of a sound to the reference pressure of twenty micronewtons per square meter (20 x 10-6 N/M2) and is expressed in decibels (dB).
- TOWN COUNCIL
- The Town Council of the Town of Stratford.
- An oscillatory motion of sound bodies of deterministic or random nature described by displacement, velocity or acceleration with respect to a given reference point.
For the purpose of determining noise levels as set forth in this chapter, the following guidelines shall be applicable:
All personnel conducting sound measurements shall be trained in the current techniques and principles of sound-measuring equipment and instrumentation.
Instruments used to determine soundlevel measurements shall conform to the sound-level meters as defined by this chapter.
The general steps listed below shall be followed when preparing to take sound-level measurements:
The instrument manufacturer's specific instructions for the preparation and use of the instrument shall be followed.
The sound-level meter shall be placed on slow response and shall be calibrated before and after each set of measurements.
The sound-level meter shall be placed at an angle to the sound source as specified by the manufacturer's instructions and at least four feet above the ground. It shall be so placed as not to be interfered with by individuals conducting the measurements.
Measurements shall be taken at a point that is located about one foot beyond the boundary of the emitter's premises, within the noise receptor's premises. The "emitter's premises" includes his/her individual unit of land or group of contiguous parcels under the same ownership as indicated by public land records.
It shall be unlawful for any person to emit or cause to be emitted any noise beyond the boundaries of his/her premises in excess of the noise levels established in this chapter.
In the event that noise is emitted from any source from a use which is otherwise not permitted within any zoning district, or that noise is emitted from an adjacent property within a zoning district which affects a use which is otherwise not permitted within said zoning district, the noise level standard applicable to said emitted noise shall be that for the zoning district of the property which is affected by said emitted noise.
[Added 12-8-2005 by Ord. No. 05-35]
High background noise levels and impulse noise.
In those individual cases where the background noise levels caused by sources not subject to this chapter exceed the standards contained herein, a source shall be considered to cause excessive noise if the noise emitted by such source exceeds the background noise levels by five dBA, provided that no source subject to the provisions of this chapter shall emit noise in excess of 80 dBA at any time and provided that this section does not decrease the permissible levels of other sections of this chapter.
No person shall cause the emission of impulse noise in excess of 80 dB peak sound-pres sure level during the nighttime to any residential noise zone.
No person shall cause or allow the emission of impulse noise in excess of 100 dB peak sound pressure at any time to any zone.
Exclusions. These levels shall not apply to noise emitted by or related to:
Any bell or chime from any building clock, schools or church.
Any siren, whistle or bell lawfully used by emergency vehicles or any other alarm systems used in an emergency situation; provided, however, that burglar alarms not terminating within 30 minutes after being activated shall be unlawful.
Warning devices required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or other state or federal safety regulations.
Farming equipment or farming activity operated within an area used strictly for farming.
Sound created by any mobile source of noise. Mobile sources of noise shall include but are not limited to such sources as aircraft and trucks. This exclusion shall cease to apply when a mobile source of noise has maneuvered into position at the loading dock, or similar facility, has turned off its engine and ancillary equipment and has begun the physical process of removing the contents of the vehicle.
Exemptions. The following shall be exempt from this chapter subject to special conditions as spelled out:
Noise created as a result of, or relating to, an emergency.
Noise from domestic power equipment, such as but not limited to power saws, sanders, grinders, lawn and garden tools or similar devices operated during daytime hours.
Noise from snow-removal equipment operated by the Town.
Noise created by any recreational activities which are permitted by law and for which a license or permit has been granted by the Town, including but not limited to parades, sporting events, concerts and fireworks displays.
Noise created by refuse and solid waste collection, provided that the activity is conducted during daytime hours and provided further that for the purposes of this subsection daytime hours shall commence at 7:00 a.m., and any activity undertaken by the Town of Stratford in a governmental capacity.
Noise generated by any construction equipment which is operated during daytime hours, provided that operation of construction equipment during nighttime hours shall not exceed the maximum noise levels as specified in § 142-5.
Noise that originates at airports that is directly caused by aircraft flight operations specifically preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Noise created by aircraft, or aircraft propulsion components designed for or utilized in the development of aircraft, under test conditions.
Noise created by products undergoing test, where one of the primary purposes of the test is evaluation of product noise characteristics and where practical noise control measures have been taken.
Existing noise sources. Existing noise sources constructed between June 15, 1978, and January 1, 1960, shall be provided a permanent five dBA maximum noise-level allowance over levels otherwise herein required, regardless of subsequent changes in ownership or facility utilization processes at the location of the existing noise source. Existing noise sources constructed prior to 1960 shall be provided a permanent 10 dBA maximum noise-level allowance over levels otherwise herein required regardless of subsequent changes in ownership or facility utilization processes at the location of the existing noise source.
Adaptive reuse of existing buildings: Buildings and other structures that exist as of June 15, 1978, which have been remodeled or converted for adaptive reuse or which may be remodeled or converted at a future date shall be provided a permanent five dBA maximum noise-level allowance above the emitter class of the new use of the buildings over levels otherwise herein required.
General prohibition. It shall be unlawful for any person to make, continue or cause to be made or continued any loud, unnecessary or unusual noise or any noise which either annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of others.
Enumeration of prohibited acts: Each of the following acts, among others, is declared unlawful and is prohibited, but this enumeration shall not be deemed to be exclusive:
Blowing horns, etc. The sounding of any horn or signal device on any automobile, motorcycle, bus, streetcar or other vehicle while not in motion, except as a danger signal if another vehicle is approaching apparently out of control or, if in motion, only as a danger signal after or as brakes are being applied and deceleration of the vehicle is intended; the creation by means of any such signal device of any unreasonably loud or harsh sound; and the sounding of such device for an unnecessary and unreasonable period of time.
Radios, phonographs, etc. The playing of any radio, phonograph or any musical instrument in such a manner or with such volume, particularly during the hours between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., as to annoy or disturb the quiet, comfort or repose of persons in any office or in any dwelling, hotel or other type of residence or of any person in the vicinity.
Shouting, singing, etc. Yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling or singing on the public street, particularly between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., or at any time or place so as to annoy, or in any dwelling, hotel or other type of residence or of any person in the vicinity.
Animals. The keeping of any animal or bird which, by causing frequent or long-continued noise, shall disturb the comfort or repose of any person in the vicinity.
Steam whistles. The blowing of any steam whistle attached to any stationary boiler except to give notice of the time to begin or stop work or as a warning of fire or danger or upon request of proper city authorities.
Exhaust discharge. The discharge into the open air of the exhaust of any steam engine, stationary internal-combustion engine, motor vehicle or motorboat engine except through a muffler or other device which will effectively prevent loud or explosive noises therefrom.
Building operations. The erection (including excavating), demolition, alteration or repair of any building, or the excavation of streets and highways, other than between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on weekdays, except in care of urgent necessity in the interest of public safety and then only with a permit from the Board of Building Commissioners, which permit may be granted for a period not to exceed three days while the emergency continues.
Loading and unloading operations. 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.
Truck idling. No person shall operate an engine or any standing motor vehicle with a weight in excess of 10,000 pounds manufacturer's gross vehicle weight (GVW) for a period in excess of 10 minutes when such vehicle is parked on a residential premises or on a Town road next to a residential premises.
All motor vehicles operated within the limits of the Town of Stratford shall be subject to the noise standards and decibel levels set forth in the regulations authorized in Section 14-80a of the Connecticut General Statutes.
No sound-amplifying devices on or within motor vehicles shall emit noise in excess of noise levels as specified in § 142-5.
This section dealing with motor vehicle noise shall be enforced by the Chief of Police and/or his designated subordinates.
[Added 7-13-2009 by Ord. No. 09-07]
It is unlawful for the operator of any motorcycle vehicle in the Town of Stratford to unnecessarily race his or her engine or backfire same or cause any other unnecessary engine noise.
No person shall operate any motorcycle vehicle in the Town of Stratford in such a manner that the public's attention is drawn to the noise created by the motor vehicle: provided, however, this provision shall not apply to any noise created by a governmental enity in the performance of its official duty.
No person shall create or cause to be created any unreasonably loud or disturbing noise due to the operation of a recreational vehicle. A noise shall be deemed to be unreasonably loud and a violation of this chapter when the noise so generated exceeds the noise-level standard set forth in § 142-5.
For the purpose of determining compliance with the provisions of this chapter the Director of Health or his designated representative is hereby authorized to make inspections of all noise sources and to take measurements and make tests whenever necessary to determine the quantity and character of noise from regulated sources.
It shall be unlawful for any person to refuse to allow or permit the Director of Health or his designated representative free access to any premises when the Director of Health or his designated representative is acting in compliance with a warrant for the inspection and order issued by the appropriate court.
It shall be unlawful for any person to violate the provisions of any warrant or court order requiring inspection, testing or measurement of noise sources.
No person shall hinder, obstruct, delay, resist, prevent in any way, interfere with or attempt to interfere with any authorized person while in the performance of his/her duties under this chapter.
[Amended 12-8-2005 by Ord. No. 05-35; 7-13-2009 by Ord. No. 09-10]
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be fined $100 for the first offense, $250 for a second offense within one year of the first offense, and $500 for each subsequent offense within one year of the first offense.
Any violation of any provision of this chapter which either continues for or is repeated more than 30 minutes after the issuance of violation to cease said activities shall constitute a separate offense.
Each day that such violation continues after the time for correction of the same has expired shall constitute a separate offense.
In addition to, or in lieu of, the imposition of said fines, the Town may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction for an order to cease or abate such violation.
Any person living or doing business in the Town of Stratford may apply to the Department of Health for a variance from one or more of the provisions of this chapter which are more stringent than the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection regulations for the control of noise, provided that the applicant supplies all the following information to the Director of Health:
No variance from this chapter shall be issued unless it has been demonstrated that:
The proposed activity will not violate any provisions of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection regulations.
The noise levels generated by the proposed activity will not constitute a danger to the public health.
Compliance with this chapter constitutes an unreasonable hardship on the applicant.
The application for variance shall be reviewed and either approved or rejected within 15 days of receipt by the Director of Health. The approval or rejection shall be in writing and shall state the condition(s) of approval of the variance.
Failure to rule on the application in the designated time shall constitute approval of the variance.
The filing of an application for a variance shall operate as a stay of prosecution, except that such stay may be terminated by the Director of Health upon application of any party if the Director of Health finds that the protection of the public health so requires.
Recourse. Any person aggrieved by the decision of the Director of Health with respect to any variances may appeal to the Town Council within a period of 10 days of receipt of the Health Director's decision.
Contracts. Any written agreement, purchase order or contract whereby the Town of Stratford is committed to an expenditure of funds in return for work, labor, services, supplies, equipment, materials or any combination thereof shall not be entered into unless such agreement, purchase order or instrument contains provisions that any equipment or activities which are subject to the provisions of this chapter shall be operated, constructed, conducted or manufactured without violating the provisions of this chapter.