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Borough of Hillsdale, NJ
Monday, October 23, 2017

Chapter 208. Noise

[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Hillsdale 7-13-1993 as Ord. No. 93-11. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Alarm systems — See Ch. 84.
Animals — See Ch. 96.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 124.
Disorderly conduct — See Ch. 130.
Fees — See Ch. 138.
Firearms — See Ch. 142.
Licenses and permits — See Ch. 188.
Parades and street meetings — See Ch. 216.
Penalties — See Ch. 226.
Land use — See Ch. 310.
208a Table 1

Article I. Declaration of Findings and Policy; Scope

§ 208-1. Findings and policy.

Whereas excessive sound is a hazard to the public health, welfare, safety and to quality of life; technology exists by which excessive sound may be substantially abated; and people have a right to, and should be assured of an environment free from excessive sound, it is the policy of the Borough of Hillsdale to prevent excessive sound that may jeopardize the health, welfare or safety of its residents or degrade the quality of life.

§ 208-2. Applicability.

This chapter shall apply to the control of sound originating from stationary sources within limits of the Borough of Hillsdale.

Article II. Definitions

§ 208-3. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
COMMERCIAL ZONE
All land, structures and uses within the boundary of the commercial district as delineated by the Use Schedule of Chapter 310, Land Use.
A. 
Banking and other financial institutions.
B. 
Dining establishments.
C. 
Retail establishments.
D. 
Wholesale establishments.
E. 
Recreation establishments.
F. 
Office buildings.
G. 
Transportation.
H. 
Warehouses.
I. 
Day-care centers.
CONSTRUCTION
Any site preparation, assembly, erection, repair, alteration or similar action.
DECIBEL (dB)
The practical unit of measurement for sound-pressure level; the number of decibels of a measured sound is equal to twenty (20) times the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of the sound pressure of a standard sound (20 micropascals); abbreviated dB.
DEMOLITION
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, sewer or public transportation facilities; removing fallen trees on public rights-of-way; or abating life-threatening conditions.
INDUSTRIAL AREA
All land, structures and uses within the boundary of the industrial district as delineated by the Use Schedule of Chapter 310, Land Use.
INDUSTRIAL FACILITY
Any building, including its related property and equipment, used for the fabrication, manufacture, production, storage, sorting or transfer of goods or material.
LEGAL PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
Public holidays as follows: New Year's Day, January 1; Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., second Monday in January; Washington's Birthday, third Monday in February; Good Friday; Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, July 4; Labor Day, first Monday in September; Columbus Day is second Monday in October; Veteran's Day, November 11; Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November; Christmas Day, December 25.
MOTOR VEHICLE
Any vehicle that is propelled or drawn on land by an engine or motor.
MUFFLER
A sound dissipative device or system for abating the sound of escaping gases of an internal combustion engine.
NOISE
Any sound of such level and duration as to be, or tend to be, injurious to human health or welfare, or which would unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of life or property, but excludes all aspects of the employer/employee relationship concerning health and safety hazards within the confines of a place of employment.
NOISE CONTROL OFFICER
An officially designated employee of the Borough of Hillsdale trained in the measurement of sound and empowered to issue a summons for violations of this chapter. For the purpose of this chapter, the Noise Control Officer shall be the Code Compliance Officer or his or her designee.
A. 
Endangers the safety or health of any person;
B. 
Disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivities; or
C. 
Endangers personal or real property.
PERSON
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 that is leased, owned or controlled by a governmental entity.
PUBLIC SPACE
Any real property or structures thereon owned, leased or controlled by a governmental entity.
A. 
The imaginary line, including its vertical extension, that separates one parcel of real property from another; or
B. 
The vertical and horizontal boundaries of a dwelling unit in a multi-dwelling-unit building.
RESIDENTIAL AREA
All land, structures and uses within the boundary of the residential district as delineated by the Use Schedule of Chapter 310, Land Use.
RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
Property used for human habitation, including but not limited to:
A. 
Private property used for human habitation;
B. 
Commercial living accommodations and commercial 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 cited in dBA.
SOUND-LEVEL METER
An instrument used to measure sound level, which instrument conforms to Type 1 or Type 2 standards as specified by ANSI Specification SI.4-1971.
WEEKDAY
Any day, Monday through Friday, that is not a legal holiday.

Article III. Code Compliance Officer

§ 208-4. Enforcement.

The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by the Code Compliance Officer or his or her designee(s).

§ 208-5. Powers; qualifications.

A. 
The Code Compliance Officer shall have the authority to:
(1) 
Coordinate the noise control activities of all municipal departments and cooperate with all other public bodies and agencies to the extend practicable.
(2) 
Review the actions of other municipal departments and advise such department of the effect, if any, of such actions on noise control;
(3) 
Review public and private projects, subject to mandatory review or approval by other departments or boards, for compliance with this chapter.
(4) 
Grant permits for variances according to the provisions of Article VIII, provided that the variances are consistent with regulations concerning noise control promulgated by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection N.J.A.C. 7:29.
B. 
A person shall qualify to be a noise control officer by satisfactorily completing any of the following:
(1) 
"Community Noise - a Short Course" offered by the Department of Environmental Science of Cook College, Rutgers, the State University;
(2) 
A program of tutoring and on-the-job training offered by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Energy, Office of Noise Control to its employees; or
(3) 
Education or experience or a combination thereof certified by the Department of Environmental Protection and Energy as equivalent to the provisions of Subsection B(1) or (2) of this section.

§ 208-6. Noise measurements.

Noise measurements made by noise control officers shall be taken according to procedures specified by N.J.A.C. 7:29B, except as provided in § 208-10.

Article IV. Duties and Responsibilities of Other Departments

§ 208-7. Program implementation; cooperation.

All departments and agencies of the Borough of Hillsdale shall carry out their programs according to law and shall cooperate in the implementation and enforcement of this chapter.

§ 208-8. Consultation with Code Compliance Officer.

All departments charged with new projects or changes to existing projects that may result in the production of noise shall consult with the Code Compliance Officer prior to the approval of such projects to ensure that such activities comply with the provisions of this chapter.

Article V. Maximum Permissible Sound Levels

§ 208-9. Maximum sound levels established.

No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit the operation of any source of sound on any public space 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 1[1] when measured at or within the real property line of the receiving property except as provided in § 208-10.
[1]
Editor's Note: Table 1 is included at the end of this chapter.

§ 208-10. Measuring noise within dwelling units.

When measuring noise within a dwelling unit of a multi-dwelling-unit building, all exterior doors and windows shall be closed and the measurements shall be taken in the center of the room.

§ 208-11. Exempt noises.

The following are exempt from the sound level limits of Table 1.[1]
A. 
Noise from domestic power tools, lawn movers, leaf blowers and agricultural equipment, when operated with mufflers, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Sundays and legal holidays, provided that they produce less than 85 dBA at or within any real property line of a residential property.
B. 
Sound from church bells and church chimes when a part of a religious observance or service.
C. 
Noise from construction activity, provided that all motorized equipment used in such activity is equipped with functioning mufflers, except as provided in § 208-13F.
D. 
Noise from snowblowers, snow throwers, and snowplows when operated with mufflers, for the purpose of snow removal.
E. 
Noise from stationary emergency signaling devices that conforms with the provisions of N.J.A.C. 7:29.
F. 
Noise from a burglar alarm of any building or motor vehicle, provided that such burglar alarm shall terminate its operation within fifteen (15) minutes after it has been activated.
[1]
Editor's Note: Table 1 is included at the end of this chapter.

Article VI. Prohibited Acts

§ 208-12. Verbal and mechanical disturbances; exception.

A. 
No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit to be made, verbally or mechanically, any noise disturbance.
B. 
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.

§ 208-13. Unlawful acts.

No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit the following acts:
A. 
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.
B. 
Loudspeakers and public address systems. Using or operating any loudspeaker, public address system or similar device between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. in the following day, such that the sound therefrom creates a noise disturbance across a residential real property line.
C. 
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 continually for ten (10) minutes or intermittently for thirty (30) minutes, unless provoked.]
D. 
Loading and unloading. Loading, unloading, opening, closing or other handling of boxes, crates, containers, dumpsters, 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 the compacting of refuse by persons engaged in the business of scavenging or garbage collection, whether private or municipal, between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day, when the latter is a weekday, and between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. the following day when the latter is a legal holiday or a weekend day, except by permit, when the sound therefrom creates a noise disturbance across a residential real property line.
E. 
Standing motor vehicles. Operating or permitting the operation of any motor vehicle, the manufacturer's gross weight of which is in excess of ten thousand (10,0000) pounds, or any auxiliary equipment attached to such a vehicle, for a period of longer than five (5) minutes in any hour while the vehicle is stationery, for reasons other than traffic congestion or emergency work, on a public right-of-way or public space within one hundred fifty (150) feet [forty-six (46) meters] of a residential area between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. of the following day.
F. 
Construction and demolition. Operating or permitting the operation of any tool 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, provided that such equipment is equipped with a functioning muffler, except for:
(1) 
Emergency work;
(2) 
By variance issued pursuant to Article VIII; or
(3) 
When the sound level does not exceed any applicable limit specified in Table 1.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Table 1 is included at the end of this chapter.

Article VII. Exceptions

§ 208-14. Exceptions.

The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to:
A. 
The emission of sound for the purpose of alerting persons to the existence of an emergency except as provided in § 208-11E or F;
B. 
The emission of sound in the performance of emergency work; or
C. 
The emission of sound in situations within the jurisdiction of the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act.

§ 208-15. Municipally approved events.

Noise from municipally sponsored or approved celebrations or events shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter.

Article VIII. Conditions for Variances

§ 208-16. Required information.

A. 
Any person who owns or operates any stationary noise source may apply to the Code Compliance Officer for a variance from one (1) or more of the provisions of this chapter.
B. 
Applications for a permit or variance shall supply information, including but not limited to:
(1) 
The nature and location of the noise source for which such application is made.
(2) 
The reason for which the permit of variance is requested, including the hardship that will result to the applicant, the applicant's client or the public if the permit of variance is not granted.
(3) 
The nature and intensity of noise that will occur during the period of the variance.
(4) 
The section or sections of this chapter for which the permit of variance shall apply.
(5) 
A description of interim noise control measures to be taken by the applicant to minimize noise and the effects occurring therefrom.
(6) 
A specific schedule of the noise-control measures which shall be taken to bring the source into compliance with this chapter within a reasonable time.

§ 208-17. Failure to supply information.

Failure to supply the information required by the Code Compliance Officer shall be cause for rejection of the application.

§ 208-18. Copy to be kept on file.

A copy of the permit of variance shall be kept on file by the Municipal Clerk for public inspection.

§ 208-19. Permit fee.

The fee for such permit or variance application shall be as provided in Chapter 138, Fees, unless waived by the Borough Council for a private, nonprofit agency.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II.

§ 208-20. Duration of permit or variance.

The duration of the permit or variance shall be no longer than thirty (30) days. The Code Compliance Officer may establish a permit duration of less than thirty (30) days at his or her discretion. Any person holding a permit or variance and requesting an extension of time shall apply for a new permit or variance under the provisions of this section.

§ 208-21. Required proof.

No variance shall be approved unless the applicant presents adequate proof that:
A. 
Noise levels occurring during the period of the variance will not constitute a danger to public health; and
B. 
Compliance with the ordinance would impose an arbitrary or unreasonable hardship upon the applicant without equal or greater benefit to the public.

§ 208-22. Standards for approval.

In making the determination on granting a variance, the Code Compliance Officer shall consider:
A. 
The character and degree of injury to, or interference with, the health and welfare or the reasonable use of the property which is caused or threatened to be caused.
B. 
The social and economic value of the activity for which the variance is sought.
C. 
The ability of the applicant to apply best practical noise-control measures.

§ 208-23. Revocation of permit or variance.

A permit or variance may be revoked by the Code Compliance Officer if the terms of the permit or variance are violated.

§ 208-24. Conditions for revocation.

A variance may be revoked by the Code Compliance Officer if there is:
A. 
Violation of one (1) or more conditions of the variance;
B. 
Material misrepresentation of fact in the variance application; or
C. 
Material change in any of the circumstances relied upon by the Code Compliance Officer in granting the variance.

Article IX. Enforcement

§ 208-25. Investigations.

Whenever the Code Compliance Officer or his or her designee has cause to believe that any person is in violation hereof, a prompt investigation shall be made by the appropriate personnel of the Code Compliance Office or authorized designees of the Borough of Hillsdale. All investigations and measurements shall be conducted according to procedures set forth in N.J.A.C. 7:29B-1, Procedures for the Determination of Noise from Stationary Sources, except as provided in § 208-10.

§ 208-26. Initiation of civil actions.

If, upon inspection, a condition which is in violation of this chapter is discovered, the Code Compliance Officer or his or her designee may initiate a civil action in the Special Civil Part of the Superior Court, or in the Superior Court, if the primary relief sought in injunctive, by filing and serving of appropriate process.

§ 208-27. Notice of violation.

A. 
In lieu of issuing a summons as provided in § 208-26, the noise control officer may issue a notice of violation requiring abatement within a reasonable time period and according to guidelines which the noise control officer may prescribe any source of sound alleged to be in violation of this chapter.
B. 
A subsequent notice of violation shall not be issued:
(1) 
If any person willfully or knowingly violates any provision of this chapter;
(2) 
If the noise control officer has reason to believe that there will not be compliance with the notice of violation; or
(3) 
If any person to whom a notice of violation has been issued continues to be in violation or repeats the same violation within one (1) year of the date of the notice.

§ 208-28. Violations and penalties.

A. 
Any person who shall violate any of the provision of this chapter, or who shall fail to comply therewith or with any of the requirements thereof, shall be punishable by a penalty as provided in Chapter 226, Penalties.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II.