Chapter 3-4 - NOISE POLLUTION
ARTICLE I. General Provisions
Sec. 3-4-1. Title.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as "The White Plains Noise Pollution Control Ordinance."
Sec. 3-4-2. Purpose.
It is the purpose of this chapter to prevent noise disturbances within the limits of the city, which may jeopardize the well-being, health or welfare of its citizens or degrade the quality of life and to regulate noise-producing activities. The provisions and prohibitions hereinafter contained and enacted are for the above-mentioned purpose. Factors to be considered in determining whether a noise disturbance exists include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) The volume of the noise
(2) The intensity of the noise
(3) Whether the nature of the noise is unusual or usual
(4) Whether the origin of the noise is natural or unnatural
(5) The volume and intensity of the background noise, if any
(6) The proximity of the noise to residential sleeping facilities or private residences
(7) The nature and the zoning district of the area within which the noise emanates
(8) The time of day or night the noise occurs
(9) The time duration of the noise
(10) Whether the sound source is temporary
(11) Whether the noise is continuous or impulsive
(12) The presence of discrete tones
(13) The number of complaints received
Sec. 3-4-3. Definitions.
As used in this chapter the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Ambient noise - The all-encompassing noise associated within a given environment, being usually a composite of sounds from many sources, near and far.
- A-weighted sound level - The measurement of sound approximating the auditory sensitivity of the human ear as measured with a sound-level meter using an A-weighing network. The unit of measure is dB.
- Construction - Any site preparation, assembly, erection, repair, alteration or similar action, but excluding demolition of buildings or structures.
- Continuously or, in a continuous manner - Constant, with few, if any, brief breaks or periods of silence.
- Decibel - The measured unit of sound measurement and is measured with a sound level meter (SLM). The SLM registers sound pressure and displays the readings on a sound level scale. Decibels (dB) are a logarithmic unit, which means that a noise measuring 30 decibels is actually two (2) times louder than a noise registering at 20 decibels.
- Demolition - Any partial or complete dismantling, intentional destruction or removal of buildings, and/or equipment/components attached to or located within the building or structure.
- Electric or battery powered equipment – Any equipment powered by an electric motor, which derives its energy from a battery or an electrical source.
- Internal combustion engine – An engine that generates motive power by the burning of gasoline or other fuel with air inside a combustion chamber.
- Internal combustion powered equipment – Any equipment that derives its energy from an internal combustion engine. Equipment being used while plugged into an operating generator, which is powered by an internal combustion engine, shall be deemed internal combustion powered equipment.
- Motor vehicle - Any vehicle that is propelled by an internal combustion engine or motor.
- Noise disturbance - Any sound which endangers or injures the health of humans, or unreasonably disturbs the quiet, comfort, repose, or peace of a person of normal sensitivities.
- Noise sensitive facilities – Any school, institution of learning, public library, place of worship, courthouse, or hospital for which conspicuous signs or elements are visible indicating that the same is a school, institution of learning, public library, place of worship, courthouse, or hospital.
- Person - Any individual, corporation, company, association, society, firm, partnership or joint stock company.
- Sound - Vibrations that travel through the air or another medium and that can be heard when they reach a human ear.
- Sound device - Any device that is used for the production or reproduction of sound, including but not limited to any amplified musical instrument, communication device, computer, radio, television, loudspeaker, or any other apparatus that converts electrical impulses into sound.
- Sound level - The sound pressure level measured in decibels
with on a sound-level meter set for A-weighting; “sound level” is expressed in “dBA.”
- Sound Level Meter (SLM) –An instrument (commonly hand held) designed to measure sound levels in a standardized way. At a minimum, it is comprised of a microphone, a preamplifier, signal processing components and a display. For the purposes of this document it shall be a Type 1 or 2 SLM (handheld type) meeting the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) S1.4 criteria standard.
- Weighting – A system built into all standard sound level meters that account for the fact that different sound frequencies affect the listener’s perception of loudness. Specifically, the fact that the human ear is less sensitive to low-pitched sounds than it is to high-pitched sounds.
Sec. 3-4-4. Prohibitions.
The following acts and the causing thereof are declared to be in violation of this chapter. Said enumeration shall not be deemed to be exclusive.
- Noise associated with sound devices:
- No person shall use, play, or operate or permit to be used, played or operated any machine or device designed to produce or reproduce sound, in a continuous manner and at such a volume as to create a noise disturbance for any person other than the operator of the device.
- No person shall operate any sound-reproduction device in such a manner as to be distinctly audible to persons with normal hearing at a distance of fifty (50) feet from the source or location of the noise between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. on any day of the week.
- Human-generated noise: No person shall make, permit, or allow to be made a noise disturbance at any time, including but not limited to yelling, shouting, whistling, or singing, that is continuous in nature and which is clearly audible at a distance of fifty (50) feet from the source or location of the noise.
- Animal noise: No person shall permit or allow any animal under their control to bark, whine, howl or make any other noise continuously for a period of 10 minutes or more at a volume which can be heard anywhere beyond the residential, commercial or industrial location from which such noise emanates.
- Noise associated with motor vehicles:
- No person shall sound any horn, bell, or any other noise producing signal or device or apparatus on or in any motor vehicle, motorcycle, bus, or any other vehicle in a continuous manner as to create a noise disturbance, except as a necessary warning of emergency or of impending danger;
- No person shall make or cause the unnecessary racing of motors, acceleration tests, or any excessive burst of speed which causes the tires to squeal, in or upon any public street, highway, or place in the city while moving, parked, or at a standstill;
- No person shall make deliveries or pick up supplies, packages, materials, products, or merchandise or collect garbage or refuse from any place of business which creates a noise disturbance between the hours of 11:00 pm and 7:00 am on weekdays and between the hours of 11:00 pm and 8:00 am on weekends except in the case of emergency.
Sec. 3-4-5. Noise Generating Activities.
- Construction, repair and demolition: No person shall operate or permit the operation of any tool or equipment used in construction, repair, demolition or excavation between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. on weekdays and between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays.
Such operation does not constitute a violation if used in an emergency, or under special circumstances in which permission has been given by the Commissioner of Building or the Commissioner of Public Works.
When construction, repair or demolition work is planned adjacent to a noise sensitive facility, the person responsible for the activity shall provide no less than two weeks’ notice to the affected facility(ies) as defined in section 3-4-3 of this chapter.
- Moveable equipment: No person shall operate any moveable equipment or machinery (excluding landscape maintenance equipment), such as refrigerator units integral to box trucks or tractor trailer containers, chillers, boilers, air-conditioning units, generators, or similar apparatus between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. on any day of the week. Operation of the above equipment outside of the stated hours may be permitted by the Commissioner of Building or the Commissioner of Public Works upon request and review. Sound attenuation may be required in certain instances. This paragraph shall not apply to municipal equipment nor equipment required to maintain services to buildings in the event of a service interruption.
- Fixed equipment: No person shall operate any fixed equipment installed on or attached to a building or structure, such as air-conditioning equipment, generator equipment, or any other type of mechanical equipment or apparatus, that exceeds fifty-five (55) decibels as measured on the “A” weighted scale of a sound level meter (SLM) at a distance of fifteen (15) feet or the nearest property line, whichever is closer to the equipment. If, as a result of testing, the equipment noise exceeds the prescribed levels, sound attenuation may be required. Fixed equipment shall only operate as needed to support the intended function and shall otherwise be powered off.
Noise from fixed emergency generators installed to operate the life safety systems (e.g. smoke/fire alarms, elevators, smoke purge systems, emergency lighting, etc.) associated with a building shall not exceed a sound level of sixty-five (65) decibels as measured on the “A” weighted scale of the sound level meter (SLM) at a distance of fifteen (15) feet or the nearest property line, whichever is closer to the equipment. If, as a result of testing, the equipment noise exceeds the prescribed levels, sound attenuation may be required. Fixed equipment shall only operate as needed to support the intended function and shall otherwise be powered off.
Emergency generator equipment shall only be permitted to be exercised between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on any day of the week, except with the permission of the Commissioner of Building.
- Landscape maintenance equipment:
- Operating Hours: No person shall operate any landscape maintenance equipment, such as lawn mowers, chain saws and trimmers, between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. on weekdays, and between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, Sundays and holidays.
- Combustion powered equipment:
- No person shall operate any gasoline internal combustion engine powered landscape maintenance equipment, such as lawn mowers, chain saws and trimmers, without factory installed noise reduction equipment in good working condition.
- No person shall operate any gasoline internal combustion engine powered landscape maintenance equipment such as lawn mowers, chain saws and trimmers that produce a sound level exceeding eighty-five (85) decibels on the "A" weighted scale at a distance of fifty (50) feet.
- All the aforementioned restrictions and prohibitions may be temporarily suspended by the Mayor in the event of an extreme weather event or other emergency to allow the use of combustion powered landscape maintenance equipment for debris clean up.
- Leaf blowers:
- Internal combustion leaf blowers:
- No person shall operate an internal combustion leaf blower after May 14, 2023.
- Prior their absolute prohibition after May 14, 2023, the operation of internal combustion leaf blowers is restricted as follows:
- Internal combustion leaf blower may only be used during the periods March 15 through May 14 and October 15 through December 15.
- The simultaneous operation of more than one internal combustion leaf blower on property of five thousand (5,000) square feet or less in area is prohibited.
- Operating Hours: No person shall operate any leaf blower between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. on weekdays, and between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, Sundays and holidays.
- All the aforementioned restrictions and prohibitions may be temporarily suspended by the Mayor in the event of an extreme weather event or other emergency to allow the use of leaf blowers for debris clean up.
Sec. 3-4-6. Exemptions.
The chapter shall not be construed to prohibit:
- The use of a sound production device for the purpose of reporting unusual national, state or municipal events, or unusual sporting or other events of great public interest, during reasonable time and hours, in connection with events such as presidential or gubernatorial elections, inaugurations or similar events of great public interest; nor
- The necessary warning sounds of police, fire, civil defense, or ambulance vehicles or other emergency warnings by public authorities; nor
- The use or operation of any organ, radio, bell, chimes or other similar instrument, apparatus or device by any house of worship or school on or within its own premises, in connection with religious rites or ceremonies of such church or synagogue or in connection with schools' educational program.
Sec. 3-4-7. Persons Responsible for Noise Violations.
Any or all of the following persons may be held responsible for noise violations:
- The person operating the equipment or creating the noise;
- The person who employs the person operating the equipment or creating the noise at the time of the violation;
- The person who owns or rents the property where the violation occurs;
- A sponsor or promoter who is managing entertainment, music, or a social gathering who is not the owner of the property, where the gathering is occurring.
Sec. 3-4-8. Enforcement.
The provisions of this chapter may be enforced by a City of White Plains Building Code Enforcement Officer, Police Officer, Parking Enforcement Officer, or Public Works Code Enforcement Officer.
Sec. 3-4-9. Penalty.
Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be deemed guilty of an offense, and upon conviction thereof shall be fined not exceeding two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) for a first offense; not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500.00) for a second offense within one year of the first offense; and not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) for a third and each successive offense thereafter within one year of the first offense, or may be imprisoned for not more than fifteen (15) days, or both.
(Secs. 3-4-10 – 30 Reserved)
ARTICLE II. Permits for Sound Devices
Sec. 3-4-31. Permits Required.
It shall be unlawful for any person to use or operate any sound device or apparatus in, on, near or adjacent to any public street, park or place without a permit issued by the commissioner of public safety.
Sec. 3-4-32. Application.
Each applicant for a permit to use or operate a sound device or apparatus in, near or adjacent to any public street, public park or place shall file a written application with the commissioner of public safety at least two (2) days prior to the date upon which such sound device or apparatus is to be used or operated. Such application shall describe the specific location or route in which such sound device or apparatus is proposed to be used or operated, the day and hour or hours during which it is proposed to be used or operated and such other pertinent information as said commissioner may deem necessary to enable him to carry out the provisions of this division.
Sec. 3-4-33. Issuance.
The commissioner of public safety shall not deny a permit required herein for any specific time, location or use to any applicant who complies with the provisions of this section except for one or more of the reasons specified in section 3-4-34 of this Code or for nonpayment of the fee prescribed in section 3-4-35 of this Code. Each permit issued pursuant to this division shall describe the specific location or route in which such sound device or apparatus may be used or operated thereunder and the exact period of time for which such apparatus or device may be operated at such location.
Sec. 3-4-34. Denial.
The commissioner of public safety shall not issue any permit for the use of a sound device or apparatus:
- In any location where the commissioner of public safety, upon investigation, shall determine that the conditions of the vehicular or pedestrian traffic or both are such that the use of such a sound device or apparatus will constitute a threat to or interfere with the safety of pedestrians or vehicular operators;
- In any location where the commissioner of public safety, upon investigation, shall determine that conditions of overcrowding or street repair or other physical conditions are such that the use of a sound device or apparatus will deprive the public of the right to safe, comfortable, convenient and peaceful enjoyment of any public street, park or place, for street, park or other public purposes, or will constitute a threat to or interfere with the safety of pedestrians or vehicle operators. In the event the commissioner of public safety shall refuse any location, he shall offer the applicant an alternative location.
Sec. 3-4-35. Fee.
Each application for a permit issued under the provisions of this division shall pay a fee of fifty dollars ($50.00) for use of each sound device or apparatus for each day, provided, however, that permits for the use of such sound device or apparatus shall be issued to any bureau, commission, board or department of the United States government, the state, the county, the city, the city school district, the White Plains Housing Authority, the White Plains Park Authority and the White Plains Urban Renewal Agency, without fee.
Sec. 3-4-36. Compliance with permit.
A person holding a permit issued pursuant to this article shall comply with the location and route restrictions set forth in the permit.
Sec. 3-4-37. Possession and display.
A permit issued pursuant to this division shall be in the possession of any person operating the sound amplifying equipment and/or sound truck at all times while the amplifying equipment is in operation and said permit shall be promptly displayed and shown to any police officer of the city upon request.
Sec. 3-4-38. Effective date.
This act shall take effect immediately.