[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Shaler 7-8-2014 by Ord. No. 1925. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Aircraft — See Ch. 74.
Animals — See Ch. 80.
Dances and dance halls — See Ch. 106.
Motorized vehicles — See Ch. 155.
Peace and good order — See Ch. 167.
Zoning — See Ch. 225.
The Board of Commissioners of the Township of Shaler has determined that:
The making, creation or maintenance of excessive, unnecessary, unnatural or unusually loud noises in the Township of Shaler, which are prolonged, unusual and unnatural in their time, place and use, affect and are a detriment to the public health, comfort, safety, welfare and property of the residents of the Township of Shaler.
As a matter of legislative determination and public policy, the provisions, regulations and prohibitions of this chapter are enacted pursuant to and for the purpose of securing and promoting the public health, comfort, safety, convenience and welfare and property of the residents of the Township of Shaler.
Unless exempted under the provisions of this chapter, no person shall make, continue, cause to be made or continued, directly or indirectly, any unreasonably loud, harsh, prolonged or excessive noise which either annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the health, comfort, repose, safety or welfare of others within the Township of Shaler unless the making and continuing of the noise is necessary for the protection or preservation of property or the life, health or safety of a person or persons.
The following specific acts are declared to be loud, disturbing and unnecessary noises in violation of this chapter, but said enumeration shall not be deemed to be exclusive:
Horns, signaling devices, etc. The sounding of any horn or signaling device on any automobile, motorcycle, bus, truck or other vehicle on any street, road or public place, except as a warning pursuant to the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; a whistle or other device operated by engine exhaust; and the use of any such signaling device when traffic is for any reason held up, stopped or slowed for any reason.
Radio and television sets, machines, etc. The use of radio or television receiving sets, musical instruments, or other machines or devices for the producing or reproducing of sound in such manner as to disturb the peace, quiet and comfort of the neighboring inhabitants or at any time with volume louder than is necessary for convenient hearing for the person or persons who are in the room or vehicle in which such machine or device is operated and who are voluntary listeners thereto. Operation of any such set, instrument, machine or device between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. in such a manner as to be plainly audible at a distance of 50 feet from the dwelling unit, nonresidential structure or vehicle in which it is located shall be evidence of a violation of this section.
Loudspeakers or amplifiers for advertising. The use of any radio receiving set, musical instrument, loudspeaker, sound amplifier or other machine or device for producing or reproducing of sound which is cast upon the public streets for the purpose of commercial advertising. The use of any loudspeaker, public address system or similar amplification device between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. for any reason, except when used by officers of the police department, fire department or of any municipal entity or during school district activities permitted by the Township, shall be prohibited.
Animals, birds, etc. The keeping of any animal or bird which, by causing frequent noise for more than 10 minutes at any time of the day or night by repeated barking, whining, screeching, howling, crowing, braying or other sounds which can be heard beyond the owner's property and, shall disturb the comfort or repose of persons residing in the vicinity.
Exhausts. The discharge into the open air of the exhaust of any internal combustion engine except through an adequate muffler or other device which will effectively prevent loud or explosive noises therefrom. (See Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code.) This includes, by way of example and not by way of limitation, internal combustion engines powering motor vehicles, lawn mowers and chain saws.
Editor's Note: See 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 4523 for state law regarding muffler requirements on motor vehicles.
Loading and unloading. The creation of a loud and excessive noise in connection with loading and unloading any vehicle, handling of boxes, crates, containers, building materials or the opening or destruction of bales, boxes, crates and containers.
Construction or repairing of buildings. The erection (including excavating), demolition, alteration or repair of any building other than during construction hours, which are defined as between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., Sunday and holiday, except in case of urgent necessity in the interest of public health and safety, and then only with a permit from the Building Inspector, which permit may be granted for a period not to exceed three days or less while the emergency continues, and which permit may be renewed for a period of three days or less while the emergency continues.
On all nonresidential and multifamily residential buildings, all building mechanical systems such as air-conditioning units, exhaust systems, compression devices, pool filter systems and other similar building features, whether on the building roof or on the ground, shall be integrated into the overall design and character of the site. Where appropriate, sound-absorbent material shall be utilized to screen building mechanical systems with the presence of motors to negate loud, penetrating or continuous noises that disturb standard activities of persons residing in the vicinity of the lot on which the noise is generated.
Schools, courts, churches, hospitals. The creation of any excessive noise adjacent to any school, institution of learning, place of worship, place of assembly or judicial court while the same are in use or adjacent to any hospital, nursing home, assisted living facility or other residential facility which unreasonably interferes with the workings of such institution or which disturbs or unduly annoys patients in the hospital or residents, provided that conspicuous signs are displayed on the adjacent streets indicating that the same is a school, residential facility, hospital, place of worship, place of assembly, or street.
Hawkers, peddlers. The shouting and crying of peddler, hawkers and vendors which disturbs the peace and quiet of the neighborhood.
Drums, bells and the like. The use of any drum, bell, horn, loudspeaker or other instrument or device for the purpose of attracting attention to any performance, show or sale or display of merchandise by any creation of noise or sound.
Mobile loudspeakers. The use of mechanical loudspeakers or amplifiers on vehicles or aircraft for commercial advertising purposes.
No person shall operate either a single or combination of motor vehicle, motorcycle, motor scooter, all-terrain vehicle, motocross vehicle, bicycle with motor attached, or similar off-road motorized bicycle and/or vehicle of a type subject to registration, except police or fire equipment or ambulances, at any time or under any condition of grade, load, acceleration or deceleration, in such a manner as to produce any unreasonably loud, harsh, excessive, continuous and/or repetitive noise, or to discharge into the open air the exhaust of any vehicle except through a muffler or other device which will effectively prevent any unreasonably loud, harsh or excessive noise therefrom.
No person shall allow noise from an automobile alarm in excess of five minutes after it has been activated.
The standards which shall be considered in determining whether a violation exists shall include but not be limited to:
The volume of the noise.
The intensity of the noise.
The volume and intensity of the background noise.
The proximity of the noise to a residential area, place of public accommodation such as a hotel, motel or inn, health-care facilities, residential facilities, places of worship, places of assembly, schools or judicial court, and whether the same are in use.
The nature and zoning of the area within which the noise emanates.
The time of day or night the noise occurs.
The duration of the noise.
Whether the noise is recurrent, intermittent or constant.
The prohibitions contained in this chapter shall not apply to:
Persons who are engaged in the performance of any public or governmental function, such as the sounding of a bell associated with a place of assembly, place of worship or school, or police, fire, ambulance, air raid or like disaster warning, alert or alarm, whether such alarm shall be for an actual emergency purpose or for practice or drilling purposes.
Persons who are engaged in a religious, charitable, recreational, civic or political activity by means of a sound truck or other amplifying device, for nonprofit purposes, provided that such persons shall have first filed with the Township an application for a permit, setting forth the sponsorship, date, hours and routes of such activity, and provided such activity is not in conflict, in terms of hours, route, traffic volume and like factors, with any other previously scheduled activity.
Persons who are engaged in any activity specifically permitted or required by any ordinance, resolution, statute or governmental regulation.
Noise from domestic power tools, construction equipment, lawn mowers and machinery for landscaping purposes when operated with a muffler between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sundays and legal holidays.
Noise from snow blowers, snow throwers and snowplows when operated with a muffler for the purpose of snow removal.
Noise from an exterior burglar alarm of any building or motor vehicle, provided such burglar alarm shall terminate its operation within five minutes after it has been activated.
Noise generated by Township-sponsored concerts and events.
Noises relating to the collection of refuse between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
Noises generated within a public right-of-way deemed necessary to protect the public's health and safety, including, but not limited to, street or hard surface sweeping or cleaning; removal of down limbs caused by natural causes; removal of downed wires; restoring electrical service; repairing traffic signals; unplugging sewers; snow removal; house moving; vacuuming catch basins; removal of damaged poles and vehicles; repair of water hydrants and mains, gas lines, oil lines and sewers. Said noises occurring on real property shall be permitted, following application by the lot owner to the Township and subsequent approval granted by the Township.
Noise from generators during power outages.
The Board of Commissioners shall have the authority to grant applications for reprieve for limited times and purposes of this chapter. Any person seeking such an application pursuant to this section shall file an application with the Board of Commissioners. The application shall consist of a letter signed by the applicant and shall contain a legal form of verification. Such letter shall contain information which demonstrates that bringing the source of sound or activity for which the reprieve is sought into compliance with this chapter would constitute an unreasonable hardship of the applicant on the community or on other persons. In addition, the following information shall be provided:
The plans, specifications and any other information pertinent to the source of sound.
The characteristics of the sound emitted by the source, including but not limited to the distance from the source of the sound that a reasonable person can hear the sound, the day(s) and hours during which such sound is generated.
The noise abatement and control methods used to restrict the emissions of the sound.
A time schedule for the installation of noise abatement and control devices, technology and procedures or process modifications that will be followed to restrict the emissions of sounds.
The name and address of the applicant and the applicant's agent, if any, and whether the applicant is the owner, lessee, licensee, etc., of the premises. If the applicant is not the owner, the application must contain the written consent of the owner.
The names and addresses of all owners of contiguous land within 500 feet of the premises. The applicant in like manner shall give notice of the application by certified mail, return receipt requested, to all property owners surrounding the sound source site within a radius of 500 feet from the borders of said site.
A filing fee, in such amount as the Township shall from time to time set by resolution.
Public hearing and decision. Upon prior reasonable public notice, the Board of Commissioners shall hold a public hearing on the application for reprieve. The Board of Commissioners, upon reviewing all input from the public hearing and obtaining any additional data or information as deemed necessary, will make a decision on the application and advise the applicant of such decision by transmitting a copy of the application to the applicant, with the decision and conditions, if any, imposed by the Board of Commissioners attached.
Applicant to obtain other necessary permits. This chapter does not preclude the necessity of the applicant to obtain the approval or permit required by any other agency before proceeding with the action approved under the approved application for reprieve. No action may be initiated by the applicant until such time that other permits, as may be required, are issued.
Approved application available for inspection. The applicant or his agent shall have readily available the approved application at the location or site for which it has been issued and shall show same to any agent of the Township whenever requested.
Activity open to inspection. Activity conducted under the approved application shall be open to inspection at any time by any agent of the Township.
Powers and duties of the Board of Commissioners.
In determining whether to grant or deny the application, the Board of Commissioners shall balance the hardship to the applicant, the community and other persons of not granting the application 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 approval to the application.
The Board of Commissioners 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 reprieve hereunder.
Any person, persons, firm, partnership or corporation violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof before any Magisterial District Judge, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more $1,000, plus costs of prosecution, and may be sentenced to a period of incarceration not exceeding 90 days, or both. Each and every day that the offense continues shall be considered as a separate offense and shall be subject to separate and distinct penalties.