Chapter 9.12


9.12.010    Purpose.

9.12.020    Definitions.

9.12.030    Sound level measurement – Calibration – Admissibility as evidence.

9.12.040    Noise nuisance – Violation.

9.12.050    Vehicle sound amplification systems – Violations.

9.12.060    Exemptions.

9.12.070    Permitted temporary exemptions.

9.12.080    Variances.

9.12.090    Persons responsible for noise violations.

9.12.100    Enforcement and penalties.

9.12.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to help preserve the quiet, mountain character of the community by encouraging everyone to reduce unnecessary noise, and to set objective, measurable limits for noise levels to aid the Town in reducing and eliminating noise which is excessive and disturbs the peace and quiet of reasonable persons. Noise constitutes a nuisance if it exceeds the sound levels proscribed by this chapter (see Table 9-12-01), or if it disturbs the peace and quiet of reasonable persons of normal sensibilities. This chapter attempts to extend that definition to exclude unnecessary noise which exceeds certain limits defined decibel levels as measured by prescribed sound level measuring devices. (Ord. 08-317 § 1)

9.12.020 Definitions.

The following definitions apply to this chapter, unless the context references otherwise:

A.    "A-band sound level" means the total sound level in decibels as measured by prescribed sound level measuring devices using the A-weighted network. The standard unit of measurement is dB(A) or dBA.

B.    "Decibel" means the logarithmic and dimensionless unit of measure used in describing the amplitude of sound. "Decibel" is abbreviated "dB."

C.    "Noise nuisance" means sound that annoys or disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensibilities or that injures or endangers the peace, quiet, health, or safety of another person whether or not the sound exceeds the sound levels proscribed by this chapter (see Table 9-12-01).

D.    "Person" means any individual, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, business, enterprise, association, institution, firm, trust, estate, the state and its political subdivisions, or any other entity recognized by the law.

E.    "Plainly audible noise" means any noise for which the information, words, rhythms, or other content of that noise is unambiguously transferred to the listener, including, but not limited to, the understanding of spoken speech or singing voice, comprehension of whether a voice is raised or normal, or comprehension of musical beat or rhythms.

F.    "Town enforcement officer" means a certified police officer or the Town Code Enforcement Officer. (Ord. 08-317 § 1)

9.12.030 Sound level measurement – Calibration – Admissibility as evidence.

A.    For the purpose of enforcement of the provisions of Section 9.12.040 or 9.12.050, noise levels shall be measured on the A-weighted scale with a sound level meter certified by the manufacturer as satisfying the requirements for sound level meters as defined in American National Standards Institute ("ANSI") ANSI S1.4 – 1983 (R1997) or ANSI S1.43 (R1997) or by the International Electric Code ("IEC") IEC 651 – 1979 Class/Type 2 or IEC 804 – 1985 Class/Type 2. Prior to measurement, the meter shall be verified and calibrated according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

B.    As long as the Code Enforcement Officer or police officer who operated the sound level meter is in court and available for cross-examination by the defendant, sound level meter readings produced by sound level meters which are approved or certified by American National Standards Institute ("ANSI") and which are used in accordance with this section shall be admissible in all court proceedings without further foundation or proof. Sound level meter readings shall be preserved on paper or electronically in a way that the court can see what the sound level meter readings were measured in or easily converted to dB(A) or dBA measurements.

C.    The offensive noise level will be measured from two (2) points: (1) a point outdoors near where the complainant was being disturbed by the noise, and (2) a point which is beyond the property boundary of the property where the source of the noise is located, which point shall be between the source of the noise and the complainant. Both points of measurement shall be evidence which the court may consider in determining whether there has been a violation of this chapter.

D.    Sound level meters may be of a type which provides a single dB(A) reading or which provides multiple dB(A) readings (e.g., "High," "Average," and "Low"). In all events, it shall be the highest sound level meter reading from each measurement point (see subsection C of this section) which shall be used by the court to determine whether there has been a violation of this chapter.

E.    Sound level meter readings made by a Town enforcement person who observed or heard the alleged violation and who made the sound level meter readings with equipment allowed by this section shall be admissible in court proceedings without additional foundation required, except that the court will decide what weight to give such evidence. (Ord. 08-317 § 1)

9.12.040 Noise nuisance – Violation.

It shall be unlawful and a violation of this chapter to conduct or permit any activity, or to produce, create or allow any noise beyond that person’s property boundary or on a public street or highway, which exceeds ninety-two (92) dB(A) between 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. daily or sixty-five (65) dB(A) between 11:01 p.m. and 6:59 a.m. daily as set forth in Table 9-12-01. Sound levels which exceed these dB(A) levels and as shown in Table 9-12-01 shall constitute a noise nuisance.

Table 9-12-01


Every Day
7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Every Day
11:01 p.m. to 6:59 a.m.

Within Town Boundaries

92 dB(A)

65 dB(A)

(Ord. 08-317 § 1)

9.12.050 Vehicle sound amplification systems – Violations.

A.    Noise from sound amplification systems in vehicles cannot be practically regulated by imposing decibel limits, as decibel measurements are difficult to obtain from moving vehicles. Noises prohibited by this subsection are in violation of this chapter whether or not there is a violation of Section 9.12.040 or the sound level readings contained in Table 9-12-01. The following are violations of this chapter:

1.    Except as authorized by law, no person shall operate or permit the operation of any sound amplification system in or on a vehicle in such a manner or with such volume as to annoy or disturb the peace and quiet of any person or neighborhood in the vicinity.

2.    Except as authorized by law, no person shall operate or permit the operation of any sound amplification system in or on a vehicle in such a manner that the sound is plainly audible (see Section 9.12.020(E)) at a distance of fifty (50) feet, or in such a manner that it causes a person to be aware of vibration accompanying the sound at a distance of fifty (50) feet.

3.    Except as authorized by law, no person shall operate any mechanical tool, device or vehicle operated by gasoline, or otherwise, without having a muffler, in good working order and in constant operation, to prevent excessive or unusual noise and smoke. No person shall operate a mechanical tool, device, or vehicle fueled by gasoline, or otherwise, which has a muffler cutout, bypass or similar device. This subsection refers to lawn mowers, lawn and leaf blowers, chainsaws, motorcycles, motor scooters, recreational vehicles, motorized skateboards, and any other mechanical tool, device or vehicle.

B.    This section shall not apply to:

1.    Amplification systems being operated to request assistance of an emergency nature or to warn of a hazardous situation;

2.    Authorized emergency vehicles;

3.    Vehicles operated by governmental entities or utility companies;

4.    Vehicles used in parades, concerts, festivals, fairs or similar activities that remain within any sound limits approved by the Town; or

5.    Amplification systems in vehicles which are operated on private property with the permission of the owner and which are not plainly audible beyond the property line. (Ord. 08-317 § 1)

9.12.060 Exemptions.

The following activities are exempted from the provisions of Section 9.12.040:

A.    Emergency work necessary to restore property to a safe condition following a fire, accident or natural disaster; to restore public utilities; or to protect persons or property from an imminent danger.

B.    Sound made to alert persons to the existence of an emergency, danger or attempted crime.

C.    Activities or operations of governmental units or agencies. (Ord. 08-317 § 1)

9.12.070 Permitted temporary exemptions.

The Town Manager is authorized to grant a temporary exemption from the maximum permissible sound levels established by this chapter if such temporary exemption would be in the public interest and there is no feasible and prudent alternative to the activity, or the method of conducting the activity, for which the temporary exemption is sought. A temporary exemption must be in writing and signed by the Town Manager and must set forth the name of the party granted the exemption, the location of the property for which it is authorized, the date(s) and time(s) for which it is effective, and the maximum dB(A) level(s) authorized. A temporary exemption may be granted only for the period of time that is reasonably necessary to conduct the activity, which in no case may exceed thirty (30) days. A maximum of three (3) temporary permits may be issued before a variance is required. The following factors shall be considered by the Town Manager in determining whether to grant a temporary exemption:

A.    The balancing of the hardship to the applicant, the community and other persons in not granting the variance against the adverse impact on the health, safety and welfare of persons adversely affected and any other adverse effects of the granting of the variance;

B.    The nearness of any residence or residences, or any other use which would be adversely affected by sound in excess of the limits proscribed by this chapter;

C.    The level of the sound to be generated by the event or activity;

D.    Whether the type of sound to be produced by the event or activity is usual or unusual for the location or area for which the variance is requested;

E.    The density of population of the area in which the event or activity is to take place;

F.    The time of day or night during which the activity or event will take place;

G.    The nature of the sound produced, including but not limited to whether the sound will be steady, intermittent, impulsive or repetitive. (Ord. 08-317 § 1)

9.12.080 Variances.

Persons wishing to continue activities which commenced prior to the ordinance codified in this chapter and which create sound levels in excess of the permitted levels may seek a variance from the Board of Adjustment. A variance may be granted if the Board finds that strict application of this chapter would cause a hardship and that there is no reasonable and prudent alternative method of engaging in the activity. (Ord. 08-317 § 1)

9.12.090 Persons responsible for noise violations.

A.    The business, enterprise, person or persons creating the noise, involved in the activity or operating the equipment which creates the noise shall be responsible or liable for a violation of this chapter.

B.    The business, enterprise, owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other possessor of the property on which the noise is created or the activity or operation creating the noise is located also shall be responsible for a violation of this chapter.

C.    A Town enforcement officer may issue a citation to any person listed in subsections A or B of this section when there is a noise nuisance or when a noise is created which the officer believes violates this chapter. (Ord. 08-317 § 1)

9.12.100 Enforcement and penalties.

A.    Enforcement. The Code Enforcement Officer, sworn police officers, and the Town Attorney are authorized to enforce the provisions of this chapter. Sound level meter readings made by a Town enforcement person who observed or heard the alleged violation and who made the sound level meter readings with equipment allowed by Section 9.12.030 shall be admissible in court proceedings without additional foundation required, except that the court will decide what weight to give such evidence.

B.    Criminal Penalties.

1.    A violation of this chapter by a person or enterprise is punishable as a Class I misdemeanor. See Town Code Chapter 1.20 and Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 13.

2.    In addition to any penalties or fines prescribed by the court, the court or hearing officer may order a person adjudged guilty to perform community service, abatement of any violation or nuisance temporarily or permanently, and may also order forfeiture of personal property in accordance with Arizona law after a forfeiture hearing. (Ord. 08-317 § 1)