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Ulster, NY Noise Ordinance

Chapter 117


(NPC posted this March 2004)

§ 117-1. Findings and purpose; applicability.

§ 117-2. Definitions.

§ 117-3. Maximum noise levels.

§ 117-4. Exceptions.

§ 117-5. Variances.

§ 117-6. Enforcement; penalties for offenses; additional remedies.

[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Ulster at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. 1. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 117-1. Findings and purpose; applicability.

A. Whereas excessive sound is a serious hazard to the health, welfare, safety and the quality of life, it is the policy of the Town of Ulster, New York to prevent excessive sound that may jeopardize the health, welfare or safety of the citizens or degrade the quality of life.

B. This chapter shall apply to the control of sound originating from stationary sources within the limits of the Town of Ulster, New York.

§ 117-2. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

CONSTRUCTION - Any site preparation, assembly, erection, repair, alteration or similar action, including demolition of buildings or structures.

DECIBEL - A unit of measure of the relative loudness of sound, equal approximately to the smallest degree of difference of loudness detectable by the human ear, which is a range between one (1) and one hundred thirty (130).

DEMOLITION - Any dismantling, intentional destruction or removal of buildings or structure.

EMERGENCY WORK - Any work or action necessary to deliver essential services, including but not limited to repairing water, gas, electricity, telephone, sewer facilities or public transportation facilities, removing fallen trees on public rights-of-way or abating life-threatening conditions.

IMPULSIVE SOUND - A sound characterized by brief excursions of peak sound pressure which significantly exceeds the ambient sound.

MUFFLER - A sound-dissipative device or system for abating the sound of escaping gases of an internal combustion engine or any other instrumentality.

MULTI-DWELLING-UNIT BUILDING - Any building wherein there are two (2) or more dwelling units.

NOISE - Any sounds of such level and duration as to be or tend to be injurious to human health or welfare or that would unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of life or property.

NOISE CONTROL ADMINISTRATOR - The noise control officer designated as the official liaison with all municipal departments, empowered to grant permits for variances.

NONRESIDENTIAL PROPERTY - Any property or facility which is not used for human habitation, either actually or potentially.

PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY - Any street, avenue, boulevard, road, highway, sidewalk, alley or similar place that is owned or controlled by a governmental entity.

PUBLIC SPACE - Any real property or structures thereon that are owned or controlled by a governmental entity.

REAL PROPERTY LINE - Either the imaginary line including its vertical extension that separates one parcel of real property from another, or the vertical and horizontal boundaries of a dwelling unit that is in a multi-dwelling-unit building.

RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY - Any 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" expressed in dBA.

SOUND LEVEL METER - Any instrument for the measurement of sound levels as specified in American National Standards.

§ 117-3. Maximum noise levels.

A. No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit the operations of any source of sound on a particular category of property or any public space or right-of-way in such a manner as to create a sound level that exceed the particular sound level limits set forth below when measured at or within the real property line of the receiving property, except as provided in Subsection C.

B. 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.

Table I
Maximum Permissible Sound Levels by Receiving Property Category
Receiving Property Category
Residential Nonresidential
Sound Source
Property Category
7:00 a.m.
10:00 p.m.
10:00 p.m.
7:00 a.m.
7:00 a.m.
10:00 p.m.
10:00 p.m.
7:00 a.m.
Residential 72 66 72 66
Nonresidential 72 66 72 66
C. The following are exempt from the sound level limits of Table I:
(l) Noise from domestic power tools, lawn mowers and agricultural equipment, when operated with a muffier.
(2) Sound from church bells and church chimes.
(3) Noise from construction activity, provided that all motorized equipment used in such activity is equipped with functioning mufflers.
(4) Noise from snowblowers, snow throwers and snowplows, when operated with a muffler for the purpose of snow removal.
(5) Noise from stationary emergency signaling devices that conforms to the provisions of American National Standards, which provisions are incorporated herein by reference.
(6) Noise from an exterior 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.

§ 117-4. 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.
B. The emission of sound in the performance of emergency work.

§ 117-5. Variances.

A. Any person who owns or operates any stationary noise source may apply to the Building Inspector for a variance from one (1) or more of the provisions of this chapter. Applications for a permit of 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, his/her client of 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 impacts 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.
(7) A copy of the permit of variance must be kept on file by the Town Clerk for public inspection.
B. Failure to supply the information required by the Building Inspector shall be cause for rejection of the application.
C. The Building Inspector may charge the applicant a fee as provided in Chapter A194, Fees, to cover expenses resulting from the processing of the permit of variance application.
D. The Building Inspector may, at his/her discretion, limit the duration of the permit of variance, which shall never be longer than one (1) year. Any person holding a permit of variance and requesting an extension of time shall apply for a new permit of variance under the provisions of this section.
E. The permit of variance shall operate as a stay of prosecution.
F. The permit of variance may be revoked by the Building Inspector if the terms of the permit of variance are violated.

§ 117-6. Enforcement; penalties for offenses; additional remedies.

A. Issuance of summons. Violation of any provision of this chapter shall be cause for a summons to be issued by the Building Inspector according to procedures set forth in Subsection C, Penalties.
B. Abatement orders.
(1) Except as provided in Subsection B(2), in lieu of issuing a summons, the Building Inspector may issue an order requiring abatement of any source of sound alleged to be in violation of this chapter within a reasonable time period and according to guidelines which the Building Inspector may prescribe.
(2) An abatement order shall not be issued when the Building Inspector has reason to believe that there will not be compliance with the abatement order.
C. Penalties.
(1) Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be subject to a penalty for each offense of not more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250.) or up to fifteen (15) days imprisonment or both.
(2) If the violation is of a continuing nature, each day during which it occurs shall constitute an additional, separate and distinct offense.
D. Other remedies. No provision of this chapter shall be construed to impair any common law or statutory cause of action, or legal remedy therefrom, of any person for injury or damage arising from any violation of this chapter or from any other law.

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