City of College Park, MD
Prince George's County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the City of College Park 9-10-1985 by Ord. No. 85-O-5; amended in its entirety 3-24-1998 by Ord. No. 97-O-25. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Dogs and other animals — See Ch. 102.
Fees and penalties — See Ch. 110.
Nuisances — See Ch. 141.
Peace and good order — See Ch. 148.
The City Council finds that the people of this city have a right to an environment that is free from noise that may jeopardize their health, general welfare or property and that there is a substantial body of knowledge on the adverse effects of excessive noise on the public health, general welfare and property.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ANSI
The American National Standards Institute or its successor bodies.
BOARD
The Noise Control Board of the City of College Park, Maryland.
DAY
The period between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
dBA
The abbreviation for the sound level in decibels determined by the A-weighting network of a sound-level meter or by calculation from octave band or 1/3 octave band.
dBC
The abbreviation for the sound level in decibels determined by the C-weighting network of a sound level meter meeting the standards set forth in ANSI S1.4-1983 or its successors.
[Added 8-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-O-16]
DECIBEL (DB)
A unit of measure, on a logarithmic scale, or the ratio of a particular sound pressure squared to a standard reference pressure squared. For the purpose of this chapter, 20 micropascals shall be the standard reference pressure.
DIRECTOR
The Director of the Department of Public Services of the City of College Park.
EXTRANEOUS SOUND
A sound which is relatively intense, intermittent and of short duration and is neither part of the neighborhood residual sound nor the sound source under investigation.
[Added 8-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-O-16]
NEIGHBORHOOD RESIDUAL SOUND LEVEL
The measured value which represents the sum of the sound from all discrete sources affecting a given site at a given time, exclusive of extraneous sounds, and those from the source under investigation. "Neighborhood residual sound level" is synonymous with "background sound level."
[Added 8-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-O-16]
NIGHT
The period between 8:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
NOISE
The intensity, frequency, duration and character of sound, including sound and vibration of subaudible frequencies.
SOUND AMPLIFIER
Any radio receiving set, microphone, musical instrument, phonograph, speaker(s) or other machine or device for the producing or reproducing of sound.
SOUND LEVEL
The measured level in decibels which represents the summation of the sounds from the sound source under investigation and the neighborhood residual sounds which affect a given place at a given time, exclusive of extraneous sound sources. In decibels, the weighted sound-pressure level measured by the use of a sound-level meter satisfying the requirements of ANSI SI.4, 1971, Specifications for Sound-Level Meters. "Sound level" and "noise level" are synonymous.
[Amended 8-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-O-16]
SOUND-LEVEL METER
An instrument meeting ANSI SI.4, 1971, Specifications for Sound-Level Meters, comprising a microphone, an amplifier, an output meter and a frequency-weighting network or networks that is used for the measurement of sound-pressure levels in a specified manner.
SOUND PRESSURE
Minute fluctuations in atmospheric pressure which accompany the passage of a sound wave.
SOUND-PRESSURE LEVEL
In decibels, 20 times the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of sound pressure to the reference sound pressure of 20 micropascals (20 micronewtons per square meter). In the absence of any modifier, the level is to be that of a root mean square pressure.
A. 
Creation and membership.
(1) 
There is hereby created a Noise Control Board to assist and advise the City in its noise control efforts; to coordinate the exchange of noise control information with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and other public bodies, agencies or commissions; to hold hearings and make findings; and to promulgate rules to implement this chapter.
(2) 
The Noise Control Board shall consist of five members, four of whom shall be appointed by the Council members, one from each of the four election districts, and one of whom shall be appointed by the Mayor.
(3) 
In addition to the foregoing membership, there shall be two alternate members appointed at large by the City Council who may attend all Noise Control Board meetings. In the absence of any regular member of the Noise Control Board, the Chairperson may designate one of the alternate members to participate in the hearing of and decision on any matter coming before the Noise Control Board. In the absence of two or more regular members of the Noise Control Board, the Chairperson shall designate one or both of the alternate members to participate in the hearing of and decision on any matter coming before the Noise Control Board.
B. 
A quorum of the Noise Control Board shall consist of three members.
C. 
Members of the Noise Control Board shall be appointed to terms of four years.
D. 
The members of the Noise Control Board shall select from among themselves a Chairperson.
A. 
Nothing herein shall be construed as promulgating a standard less stringent than the environmental noise standards and sound-level limits adopted under Title 3 of the Environment Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, as amended from time to time.
B. 
In accordance with Title 3 of the Environment Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, the City shall send to the Maryland Department of the Environment a copy of each noise control ordinance, rule or regulation that it adopts and identify on each Zoning Map, Comprehensive Plan or other appropriate document the sound-level limits that are adopted.
[Amended 8-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-O-16]
A. 
Unless it is for the purpose of necessary property maintenance during the day, it shall be unlawful:
(1) 
For any owner or occupant of real property located within the City to make or to generate loud or raucous sound on said property, or to permit any loud or raucous sound to be made or generated on said property, so as to cause unreasonable annoyance or disturbance to others living or located nearby;
(2) 
For the owner or occupant of real property located within the City to make any noise or operate any sound amplifier on said property, or to permit any noise to be made or any sound amplifier to be operated on said property, so as to be clearly audible to any person located beyond the property line of such property at a level higher than 65 dBA during the day or 55 dBA during the night, as such sound may be measured from any point along the curb in front of the property line upon which the noise is being generated or at any place on adjacent property, provided that the person measuring the sound shall first obtain the permission of the adjacent property owner to enter upon said property; and
(3) 
For any person to cause, suffer, allow or permit the operation of an amplified source of sound in such a manner that it raises the total sound levels to greater than the following permissible sound level limits, when measured from within a building on an adjacent property.
[Amended 7-12-2016 by Ord. No. 16-O-04]
(a) 
dBC above neighborhood residual sound level.
[1] 
Nights: three dBC.
[2] 
All other times: six dBC.
(4) 
For the owner or occupant of real property located within the City to permit guests or invitees to such property to make noise on adjacent property, whether public or private, where that noise, if made or generated on the property itself, would violate Subsection A(1), (2), or (3) of this section.
B. 
It shall be unlawful for the nonresident owner of a property to permit the occupants of such property to violate the provisions of Subsection A of this section. The owner shall not be deemed to have violated this subsection unless the owner, or owner’s agent:
[Amended 7-12-2016 by Ord. No. 16-O-04]
(1) 
Has received notice from any source, that a current or prior occupant of such property has, or is alleged to have, previously engaged in conduct that violates this section regardless of whether a finding of a violation by the Noise Control Board or by a court of competent jurisdiction was made; or
(2) 
Has failed to take action reasonably calculated under the circumstances to prevent a violation of this section from occurring or recurring.
C. 
A violation of this section shall be a municipal infraction, subject to the fine imposed by Chapter 110, Fees and Penalties.
D. 
Each repeat violation within a twelve-month period shall give rise to a charge as set forth in Chapter 110, Fees and Penalties.
[Amended 7-12-2016 by Ord. No. 16-O-04]
[Amended 2-22-2000 by Ord. No. 00-O-2; 8-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-O-16]
A. 
Code Enforcement or Law Enforcement Officer. When a City Code Enforcement Officer, or a state, county, University of Maryland or other law enforcement officer chosen by the City, determines, based upon the results of a test conducted using a calibrated sound-level meter, that noise is being or has been generated in violation of § 138-5A(2) or (3) of this chapter, he/she shall issue a municipal infraction citation to the violator(s) in accordance with the provisions of § 6-103 of the Local Government Article, of the Annotated Code of Maryland. In the event that more than one owner and/or more than one occupant of the real property is alleged to have violated the provisions of this chapter, a municipal infraction citation may be issued to each alleged violator.
[Amended 7-12-2016 by Ord. No. 16-O-04]
B. 
Noise Control Board.
(1) 
When two or more City residents submit written complaints that noise is being or has been generated in violation of § 138-5A(1) or 138-5A(4) of this chapter, which complaints shall be delivered to the City Clerk, or postmarked, within 15 days of the alleged violation, the Director shall:
(a) 
Schedule a hearing before the Noise Control Board within 30 days of receipt of complaints referred to in this section; and
(b) 
Give notice of the alleged violation to the owner and the occupant(s) of the property upon which such violation has allegedly occurred.
(2) 
When a violation of § 138-5 of this chapter has been alleged in accordance with the provisions of Subsection B of this section, the Noise Control Board shall conduct a hearing for the purpose of determining whether such violation has occurred.
(3) 
When the Noise Control Board determines, in accordance with the provisions of § 138-8 of this chapter, that a violation of § 138-5 has occurred, the Director shall notify the violator of the determination of the Noise Control Board that a violation has occurred and shall cause a municipal infraction citation to be issued to the violator, in accordance with the provisions of Article 23A, § 3, of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
C. 
(Reserved)
D. 
The City may seek court action to abate any noise nuisance in lieu of or in addition to any other enforcement remedies that may be available pursuant to this chapter.
E. 
In addition, the Public Services Director shall schedule a show-cause hearing before the College Park Advisory Planning Commission as to why the City occupancy permit for the property should not be revoked for three or more violations of the provisions of this chapter within any twelve-month period, and may otherwise request such a hearing for violations of this chapter at his/her discretion.
[Amended 7-12-2016 by Ord. No. 16-O-04]
A. 
The notice required to be given by the Director in accordance with § 138-6B(1)(b) of this section shall:
[Amended 2-22-2000 by Ord. No. 00-O-2]
(1) 
Be in writing;
(2) 
Include a statement of the reasons why it is being issued;
(3) 
Be served upon the owner or his agent and the occupant of the property upon which the alleged violation occurred;
(4) 
Include a statement that the hearing referred to in § 138-6B(1)(a) of this section will be held before the Noise Control Board on a specified date and at a specified time for the purpose of determining whether a violation of this chapter has occurred.
B. 
Service of the notice on the owner or his agent and the occupant of the property pursuant to Subsection A(2) of this section shall be made by certified mail, return receipt requested. In the event that such notice is returned undelivered, service shall be sufficient if mailed by regular mail and posted on the property where the violation is alleged to have occurred.
A. 
A hearing of the Noise Control Board conducted pursuant to § 138-6B of this chapter shall be open to the public; however, members of the public shall not participate in said hearing unless designated as witnesses by either the complainant(s) or the respondent(s), unless such participation is specifically requested by a member of the Noise Control Board.
B. 
The proceedings of the Noise Control Board shall be taperecorded and the recording of the proceedings shall be retained by the City for a period of not less than one year. The contents of the tape-recording shall not be transcribed, unless otherwise required by law or requested by the Noise Control Board.
C. 
Minutes of the proceedings of the Noise Control Board shall be taken by the Secretary, when present, and shall be approved at the next meeting of the Noise Control Board.
D. 
Notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection A of this section, the Noise Control Board may, in its sole discretion, recess into closed session as part of its deliberative process with respect to alleged violations of § 138-5 of this chapter prior to announcing its decision or determination and to consider the substance of any rules and regulations to be promulgated pursuant to Subsection E of this section, provided that:
(1) 
The exercise of the authority to deliberate in a closed session shall require a motion and an affirmative vote thereupon by a majority of the members of the Board present and eligible to vote;
(2) 
Notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection B of this section, the proceedings of the Noise Control Board after an affirmative vote to recess into closed session shall not be tape-recorded; however, minutes of the closed session shall be kept which shall not be open to public inspection unless a majority of the members of the Noise Control Board votes in favor of disclosing said minutes; and
(3) 
Following its deliberations, the members of the Noise Control Board shall reconvene in open session for the purpose of entertaining a motion with respect to the Board's determination as to whether there has been a violation of this chapter. Where the property upon which the violation in question allegedly occurred is occupied by a person other than the owner of such property, the Board's determination shall separately and specifically address whether a violation has been committed by both the owner and the occupant.
E. 
The members shall adopt such other and additional rules and regulations as may be necessary with respect to procedural matters for the conduct of the hearings required by § 138-6B of this chapter.
A. 
Except as set forth in Subsection C of this section, in the event that the Board finds that a violation of § 138-5 has occurred, it shall impose the fine set forth in Chapter 110, Fees and Penalties.
[Amended 2-22-2000 by Ord. No. 00-O-2]
B. 
In the event that the Board finds that the owner and the occupant of real property have each violated this chapter, the Board shall impose a fine as set forth in Chapter 110, Fees and Penalties, upon the owner and the occupant.
[Amended 2-22-2000 by Ord. No. 00-O-2]
C. 
In the event that there are more than one owner and/or more than one occupant, the fine shall be imposed upon each owner and upon each occupant who has been found in violation of this chapter, except that in the event that there is more than one occupant, the fine shall be divided proportionately among those occupants who have been found to have violated this chapter, with the amount of the fine imposed on each occupant rounded to the nearest dollar; provided, however, that in the event that the property is leased to a corporate entity, the fine for a violation by an occupant shall be imposed upon such corporate entity.
D. 
If a violation is a first offense and is not egregious, the following mitigating factors may be considered by the Board to warrant a reduction in the amount of the fine to be imposed:
[Amended 7-12-2016 by Ord. No. 16-O-04]
(1) 
The person subject to a fine has taken action reasonably calculated under the circumstances to prevent or mitigate future violations of this chapter, is remorseful and has a present demeanor that demonstrates a sincere desire to prevent future violations of this chapter;
(2) 
The person subject to a fine has apologized, prior to the hearing, to the person(s) who filed the complaint and other known persons who were disturbed by the violation.
(3) 
The violation was not lengthy in duration.
E. 
For each factor set forth in Subsection D above which is satisfied by the evidence, the Board may reduce the fine set forth in Chapter 110, Fees and Penalties, by $100. In any event, the minimum fine shall be $200.
[Amended 7-12-2016 by Ord. No. 16-O-04]
[Amended 2-22-2000 by Ord. No. 00-O-2]
Owners of rental housing shall ensure that a copy of this chapter or a housing rights and responsibilities publication produced by the city is furnished to each tenant. The city shall make available a copy of this chapter or the housing rights and responsibilities publication to each applicant for an annual occupancy permit.