A. Definitions. For the purposes of this section only, the following words shall have the meaning provided in this subsection:
1. Emergency means any occurrence or set of circumstances involving actual or imminent physical trauma or property damage demanding immediate attention.
2. Emergency Work means any work performed for the purpose of preventing or alleviating physical trauma or property damage, whether actually caused or threatened by an emergency, or work by private or public utilities when restoring utility service.
3. Noise Sensitive Area means real property normally used for sleeping, or normally used as a school, church, hospital or public library.
4. Plainly Audible means any sound that can be detected by a reasonable person of ordinary sensitivities using his or her unaided hearing faculties.
5. Public Right-of-Way means any street, sidewalk, or similar place normally accessible to the public which is owned or controlled by a government entity.
6. Public Space means any real property or structures on real property, owned by a government entity and normally accessible to the public, including but not limited to parks and other recreational areas.
7. Residential Property means any real property located in a residentially zoned district pursuant to the local land use code.
B. General Prohibition. No person shall make, continue, or assist in making:
1. Any unreasonably loud, disturbing, or raucous noise;
2. Any noise that unreasonably annoys, disturbs, injures, or endangers the comfort, repose, health, safety, or peace of reasonable persons of ordinary sensitivity, within the jurisdictional limits of the City; or
3. Any noise which is so harsh, prolonged, unnatural, or unusual in time or place as to occasion unreasonable discomfort to any persons, or as to unreasonably interfere with the peace and comfort of neighbors or their guests, or operators or customers in places of business, or as to detrimentally or adversely affect such residences or places of business.
C. The standard for judging loud, disturbing and unnecessary noises shall be that of an average, reasonable person with ordinary sensibilities after taking into consideration:
1. The character of the neighborhood in which the noise is made and the noise is heard;
2. The proximity of the sound to sleeping facilities, whether residential or commercial;
3. The land use, nature, and zoning of the area from which the sound emanates and the area where it is received or perceived;
4. The time of day or night the sound occurs;
5. The duration of the sound; and
6. Whether the sound is recurrent, intermittent, or constant.
D. Noises Prohibited. The following acts are declared to be per se violations of this chapter. This enumeration does not constitute an exclusive list:
1. Unreasonable Noises. The unreasonable making of, or knowingly and unreasonably permitting to be made, any unreasonably loud, boisterous or unusual noise, disturbance, commotion or vibration in any boarding facility, dwelling, place of business or other structure, or upon any public street, park, or other place or building. The ordinary and usual sounds, noises, commotion or vibration incidental to the operation of these places when conducted in accordance with the usual standards of practice and in a manner which will not unreasonably disturb the peace and comfort of adjacent residences or which will not detrimentally affect the operators of adjacent places of business are exempted from this provision.
2. Animals and Birds. Unreasonably loud and raucous noise emitted by an animal or bird for which a person is responsible. A person is responsible for an animal if the person owns, controls or otherwise cares for the animal or bird.
3. Vehicle Horns, Signaling Devices, and Similar Devices. The sounding of any horn, signaling device, or other similar device, on any automobile, motorcycle, or other vehicle on any right-of-way or in any public space of the City, for more than ten consecutive seconds. The sounding of any horn, signaling device, or other similar device, as a danger warning is exempt from this prohibition.
4. Nonemergency Signaling Devices. Sounding or permitting sounding of any amplified signal from any bell, chime, siren, whistle or similar device, intended primarily for nonemergency purposes, from any place for more than ten consecutive seconds in any hourly period. The reasonable sounding of such devices by houses of religious worship, ice cream trucks, seasonal contribution solicitors or by the City for traffic control purposes is exempt from the operation of this provision.
5. Emergency Signaling Devices. The intentional sounding or permitting the sounding outdoors of any emergency signaling device including fire, burglar, civil defense alarm, siren, whistle, or similar emergency signaling device, except in an emergency or except as provided in subsections D.5.a and b, below.
a. Testing of an emergency signaling device shall occur between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Any testing shall use only the minimum cycle test time. In no case shall such test time exceed five minutes. Testing of the emergency signaling system shall not occur more than once in each calendar month.
b. If a false or accidental activation of an alarm occurs more than twice in a calendar month, the owner or person responsible for the alarm shall be in violation of this chapter.
6. Construction or Repair of Buildings, Excavation of Streets and Highways. The construction, 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 7:00 p.m. on weekdays, and 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on weekends and holidays, except in the case of an emergency in the interest of the public welfare and safety. In cases of emergency, construction or repair noises are exempt from this provision. In nonemergency situations, the City Manager may issue a permit, upon application, if the City Manager determines that the public health and safety, as affected by loud and raucous noise caused by construction or repair of buildings or excavation of streets and highways between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., will not be impaired, and if the City Manager further determines that loss or inconvenience would otherwise result. The permit shall grant permission in nonemergency cases for a period of not more than five days. The permit may be renewed once for a period of five (5) days or less. The actual owner of property may do work on property which is owner occupied between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. without obtaining a permit under this paragraph.
7. Radios, Televisions, Boomboxes, Stereos, Musical Instruments and Similar Devices. The use or operation of a radio, television, boombox, stereo, musical instrument, or similar device that produces or reproduces sound in a manner that is plainly audible to any person other than the player(s) or operator(s) of the device, and those who are voluntarily listening to the sound, and which unreasonably disturbs the peace, quiet, and comfort of neighbors and passers-by, or is plainly audible at a distance of 50 feet from any person in a commercial or industrial area, or public space. The use or operation of a radio, television, boombox, stereo, musical instrument, or similar device that produces or reproduces sound in a manner that is plainly audible to any person other than the player(s) or operator(s) of the device, and those who are voluntarily listening to the sound, and unreasonably disturbs the peace, quiet, and comfort of neighbors in residential or noise sensitive areas, including multifamily or single-family dwellings.
8. Loudspeakers, Amplifiers, Public Address Systems, and Similar Devices. The unreasonably loud and raucous use or operation of a loudspeaker, amplifier, public address system, or other device for producing or reproducing sound is prohibited without a permit from the City Manager. The City Manager may grant a permit to responsible persons or organizations for the broadcast or amplification of sound as a part of a national, state, or City event, public festival, or special events of a noncommercial nature. If the City Manager does not grant the permit, the matter may be appealed to an outside hearings officer pursuant to AMC Chapter 2.30. This permit shall not be required for any public performance, gathering, or parade for which a permit authorizing the event has been obtained from the City.
9. Yelling, Shouting, and Similar Activities. Yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling, or singing in residential or noise sensitive areas or in public places, between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., or at any time or place so as to unreasonably disturb the quiet, comfort, or repose of reasonable persons of ordinary sensitivities. This section is to be applied only to those situations where the disturbance is not a result of the content of the communication but due to the volume, duration, location, timing or other factors not based on content.
10. Noise Sensitive Areas – Schools, Courts, Churches, Hospitals, and Similar Institutions. The creation of any unreasonably loud and raucous noise adjacent to any noise sensitive area while it is in use, which unreasonably interferes with the workings of the institution or which disturbs the persons in these institutions; provided, that conspicuous signs delineating the boundaries of the noise sensitive area are displayed in the streets surrounding the noise sensitive area.
11. Blowers and Similar Devices. In residential or noise sensitive areas, between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., the operation of any noise-creating blower, power fan, power tools or any internal combustion engine, the operation of which causes noise due to the explosion of operating gases or fluids; provided, that the noise is unreasonably loud and raucous and can be heard across the property line of the property from which it emanates.
12. Commercial Establishments Adjacent to Residential Property.
a. Unreasonably loud and raucous noise from the premises of any commercial establishment, including any outdoor area which is part of or under the control of the establishment, between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., which is plainly audible from the property line of any residential property.
b. The use of a mechanical device operated by compressed air, steam, or otherwise, unless the noise thereby created is effectively muffled.
E. Generally, sound measurements are not required for enforcement of this chapter; however, sound measurements are required for enforcement pursuant to this section. If sound measurements are taken, they shall be taken with a sound level meter in good operating condition. Any source of noise which exceeds the following standards is considered a public nuisance:
1. Decibel Noise Standards. Allowable statistical noise levels in any one hour:
7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
9 p.m. to 7 a.m.
L50 – 50 dBA
L50 – 45 dBA
L10 – 55 dBA
L10 – 50 dBA
L1 – 60 dBA
L1 – 55 dBA
L50 = noise level exceeded 50% of the time
L10 = noise level exceeded 10% of the time
L1 = noise level exceeded 1% of the time
2. Where Measured. Measurement of a noise source shall be made from the closest property line of a residential property.
3. Heat Pumps or Mechanical Devices.
a. No person shall operate a commercial or residential heat pump, air-conditioning unit, or similar mechanical device if noise levels from its operation exceed forty-five (45) dBA from the closest property line of a residential property on an adjacent parcel of land characterized as a noise sensitive area.
b. No person shall operate a commercial or residential heat pump, air-conditioning unit, or similar mechanical device that was installed prior to 1981 if noise levels from its operation exceed fifty (50) dBA from the closest property line of a residential property on an adjacent parcel of land characterized as a noise sensitive area.
c. Heat pumps or mechanical devices are a Class II violation.
4. Variances. The Council may grant variance to the decibel noise standards when it finds that strict compliance with this section would cause an unusual and unreasonable hardship to a commercial or industrial use.
a. The Council shall notify all adjacent residential structures within 200 feet of the proposed variance and shall hold the public hearing on the variance prior to making any decisions on the request for a variance.
b. The variance shall be the minimum necessary to alleviate the unreasonable hardship.
1. Sounds caused by the following are exempt from the prohibitions set out in subsection D of this section and are in addition to the exemptions specifically set forth in subsection D of this section:
a. Sounds of regular vehicular traffic upon premises open to the public; provided, that the prohibition of subsection D.3 of this section continues to apply.
b. Sirens, whistles, or bells lawfully used by emergency vehicles, or other alarm systems used in case of fire, collision, civil defense, police activity, or imminent danger; provided, that the prohibition contained in subsection D.5 of this section continues to apply.
c. The emission of sound for the purpose of alerting persons to the existence of an emergency or the emission of sound in the performance of emergency work.
d. Sounds regulated by federal law, including, but not limited to, sounds caused by railroads or airports.
e. Bell tower chimes.
f. Temporary Construction Activities. Noise from temporary construction activities that take place between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
g. Outdoor School and Playground Activities. Reasonable activities conducted on public playgrounds and public or private school grounds, which are conducted in accordance with the manner in which such spaces are generally used, including, but not limited to, school athletic and school entertainment events.
h. Other Outdoor Events. Athletic events, outdoor gatherings, public dances, shows and sporting events, and other similar outdoor events; provided, that any required permits have been obtained from the appropriate permitting authority.
G. Penalty. Any violation of this section is punishable as provided under AMC 9.08.990.