Chapter 8.40


8.40.010    Findings.

8.40.020    Definitions.

8.40.030    Sound level measurement.

8.40.040    Exterior noise standards.

8.40.050    Interior noise standards.

8.40.060    Exemptions.

8.40.070    Specific unlawful noises.

8.40.080    Machinery and equipment.

8.40.090    Administration.

8.40.100    Variance procedure.

8.40.110    Violations.

8.40.010 Findings.

The City Council finds:

A.    Noise in excess of the levels defined in this chapter within the City is detrimental to the public health, safety, welfare and peace and quiet of the inhabitants of the City and therefore is declared a public nuisance; and

B.    Every person in the City is entitled to live in an environment free from excessive noise levels; and

C.    The establishment of maximum permissible noise level will further the public health, safety and welfare of City inhabitants;

D.    The adoption of uniform noise standards for the City will promote uniformity and ease of enforcement.

(Ord. 2010-07, Repealed and Replaced, 09/07/2010)

8.40.020 Definitions.

The following words, phrases and terms as used in this chapter shall have the following meanings:

A.    “Ambient noise level” means the all encompassing noise level associated with a given environment, being a composite of sounds from all sources, excluding the alleged offensive noise, at the location and approximate time at which a comparison with the alleged offensive noise is to be made.

B.    “A-weighted sound level” means the sound level in decibels as measured with a sound level meter using the A-weighted network (scale) at slow meter response. The unit measurement is referred to herein as dB(A) or dBA.

C.    “City” means the incorporated area of the City of Galt.

D.    “Cumulative period” means an additive period of time composed of individual time segments which may be continuous or interrupted.

E.    “Decibel” or “dB” means a unit for the measurement of sound.

F.    “Director” means the City of Galt Community Development Director, or his/her designee.

G.    “Emergency work” means the use of any machinery, equipment, vehicle, manpower or other activity in an effort to protect, maintain, provide or restore safe conditions in the community or for citizenry, or work by private or public utilities when restoring utility service.

H.    “Hertz” means a unit of measurement of frequency, numerically equal to cycles per second.

I.    “Impulsive noise” means a noise of short duration, usually less than one (1) second, with an abrupt onset and rapid decay, such as might be produced by the impact of a pile driver, punch press or a drop hammer.

J.    “Noise level” means the sound level in decibels obtained by using a sound level meter.

K.    “Person” means a person, firm, association, partnership, joint venture, corporation or any entity, public or private in nature.

L.    “Residential property” means a parcel or real property which is developed and used either in part or in whole for residential purposes, other than transient uses such as hotels and motels.

M.    “Simple tone noise” or “pure tone noise” means a noise characterized by the presence of a predominant frequency or frequencies such as might be produced by whistle or hum.

N.    “Sound level meter” means an instrument meeting American National Standard Institute’s Standard S1.4-1971 for Type 2 sound level meters or an instrument and the associated recording and analyzing equipment which will provide equivalent data.

O.    “Sound pressure level” means a sound pressure level of sound, in decibels, as defined in ANSI Standards 51.2-1962 and 51.13 1921; that is, twenty (20) times the logarithm to the base ten (10) of the ratio of the pressure of the sound to a reference pressure, which reference pressure shall be explicitly stated.

P.    “Zone” means any of the zoning classifications specified in the Galt Development Code.

(Ord. 2015-06, Amended, 08/18/2015; Ord. 2010-07, Repealed and Replaced, 09/07/2010)

8.40.030 Sound level measurement.

A.    Any noise measurement made pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be made with a sound level meter using the A-weighted network (scale) at slow meter response. Fast meter response shall be used for impulsive type sounds. Calibration of the measurement equipment utilizing an acoustical calibrator shall be performed immediately prior to recording any noise data.

B.    The exterior noise levels shall be measured within fifty (50) feet of the affected noise-sensitive land use, such as residences, schools, churches, hospitals and public libraries. Where practical, the microphone shall be positioned three (3) to five (5) feet above the ground and away from reflective surfaces. The interior noise levels shall be measured within the affected dwelling unit, at points at least four (4) feet from the wall, ceiling or floor nearest the noise source, with windows in the normal seasonal configuration. The reported interior noise level shall be determined by taking the arithmetic average of the readings taken at the various microphone locations.

(Ord. 2010-07, Repealed and Replaced, 09/07/2010)

8.40.040 Exterior noise standards.

A.    The following noise standards, unless otherwise specifically indicated in this chapter, shall apply to all properties within the R1A, R1B, R1C, R2, R3, R4, DR, MU and DMU zones:

Noise Level Descriptor

Daytime (7 a.m. – 10 p.m.)

Nighttime (10 p.m. – 7 a.m.)

Hourly Leq, dB



Maximum Level, dB



B.    It is unlawful except as otherwise specified in this chapter for any person at any location within the City to create any noise which causes the noise levels on an affected property, when measured in the designated noise area, to exceed for the duration of time set forth following, the specified exterior noise standards in any one (1) hour by:

Cumulative Duration of the Intrusive Sound Decibels Allowance.

1.    Cumulative period of thirty (30) minutes per hour 0.

2.    Cumulative period of fifteen (15) minutes per hour +5.

3.    Cumulative period of five (5) minutes per hour +10.

4.    Cumulative period of one (1) minute per hour +15.

5.    Level not to be exceeded for any time per hour +20.

C.    Each of the noise limits specified in subsection B of this section shall be reduced to five (5) dBA for impulsive or simple tone noises, or for noises consisting of speech or music.

D.    If the ambient noise level exceeds that permitted by any of the first four (4) noise limit categories specified in subsection B of this section, the allowable noise limit shall be increased in five (5) dBA increments in each category to encompass the ambient noise level. If the ambient noise level exceeds the fifth noise level category, the maximum ambient noise level shall be the noise limit for that category.

(Ord. 2015-06, Amended, 08/18/2015; Ord. 2010-07, Repealed and Replaced, 09/07/2010)

8.40.050 Interior noise standards.

A.    In an apartment, condominium, town house, duplex or multiple dwelling unit it shall be unlawful for any person to create any noise from inside his unit that causes the noise level when measured in a neighboring unit during the period from ten p.m. to seven a.m. to exceed:

1.    Forty-five (45) dBA for a cumulative period of more than five (5) minutes in any hour;

2.    Fifty (50) dBA for a cumulative period of more than one (1) minute in any hour;

3.    Fifty-five (55) dBA for any period of time.

B.    If the ambient noise level exceeds that permitted by any of the noise level categories specified in subsection A of this section, the allowable noise limit shall be increased in five (5) dBA increments in each category to encompass the ambient noise level.

(Ord. 2010-07, Repealed and Replaced, 09/07/2010)

8.40.060 Exemptions.

The following activities shall be exempted from the provisions of this chapter:

A.    School bands, school athletic and school entertainment events;

B.    Outdoor gatherings, public dances, shows and sporting and entertainment events, provided the events are conducted pursuant to a license or permit by the City;

C.    Activities conducted on parks, playgrounds and school grounds, provided such parks, playgrounds and school grounds are owned and operated by a public entity or private school;

D.    Any mechanical device, apparatus or equipment related to or connected with emergency activities or emergency work;

E.    Noise sources associated with construction, repair, remodeling, demolition, paving or grading of any real property, provided the activities do take place only between the hours of six a.m. and eight p.m. on weekdays and seven a.m. and eight p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Provided, however, when an unforeseen or unavoidable condition occurs during a construction project and the nature of the project necessitates that work in process be continued until a specific phase is completed, the contractor or owner shall be allowed to continue work after eight p.m. and to operate machinery and equipment necessary until completion of the specific work in progress can be brought to conclusion under conditions which will not jeopardize inspection acceptance or create undue financial hardships for the contractor or owner. Provided further, however, from June through September, the pouring of concrete may occur starting at five a.m. on weekdays;

F.    Noise sources associated with agricultural operations, provided such operations take place only between the hours of six a.m. and eight p.m.;

G.    All mechanical devices, apparatus or equipment which are utilized for the protection or salvage of agricultural crops during periods of adverse weather condition or when the use of mobile noise sources is necessary for pest control;

H.    Noise sources associated with maintenance to residential area property, provided the activities take place between the hours of six a.m. and eight p.m. on any day except Saturday or Sunday, or between the hours of seven a.m. and eight p.m. on Saturday or Sunday;

I.    Any activity to the extent provisions of Chapter 65 of Title 42 of the United States Code, and Articles 3 and 3.5 of Chapter 4 of Division 9 of the Public Utilities Code of the state of California preempt local control of noise regulations and land use regulations related to noise control of airports and their surrounding geographical areas, any noise source associated with the construction, development, manufacture, maintenance, testing or operation of any aircraft engine, or of any weapons system or subsystems which are owned, operated or under the jurisdiction of the United States, any other activity to the extent regulation thereof has been preempted by state or federal law or regulation;

J.    Any noise sources associated with the maintenance and operation of aircraft or airports which are owned or operated by the United States;

K.    Any noise sources associated with City public works projects, including but not limited to streets, bridges, sewer and water facilities. Noise control for public works projects, if deemed necessary by the City Council or Public Works Director, may be addressed on a project-specific basis. For the purposes of this chapter, “public works projects” shall include the construction, alteration, demolition, installation, maintenance or repair of public infrastructure or facilities, and shall include related work by or under the direction of utility companies.

(Ord. 2015-06, Amended, 08/18/2015; Ord. 2010-07, Repealed and Replaced, 09/07/2010)

8.40.070 Specific unlawful noises.

Unless otherwise exempted by other provisions of this chapter, the following acts are declared to be excessive and unnecessary noises in violation of this chapter:

A.    Motor noises: any noise made by the motor of any automobile, truck, tractor or motorcycle, not reasonably required in the operation thereof under the circumstances and shall include, but not be limited to, backfiring and motor racing;

B.    Horns and signaling devices: the sounding of any horn or signaling device on any automobile, motorcycle, trolley coach or other vehicle on any street or public place of the City, except as a danger warning; the creation by means of any such signaling device of any unreasonably loud or harsh sound; and the sounding of any such device for an unnecessary and unreasonable period of time. The use of any signaling device except one operated by hand or electricity; the use of any horn, whistle or any other device operated by engine exhaust; and the use of any such signaling device when traffic is for any reason held up;

C.    Yelling and shouting: yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling, singing or blowing of horns on the public streets, particularly between the hours of twelve a.m. and seven a.m. or at any time or place so as to annoy or disturb the quiet, comfort, or repose of persons in any office or in any noise-sensitive land use, such as a dwelling, hotel, motel, apartment or other type of residence;

D.    Pile drivers, hammers, etc.: the operation between the hours of ten p.m. and seven a.m. of any pile driver, steam shovel, pneumatic hammer, derrick, steam or electric hoist or other appliance, the use of which is attended by loud or unusual noise;

E.    Tools: the use of or operation between the hours of ten p.m. and seven a.m. of any power saw, power planer, or other powered tool or appliance or saw or hammer, or other tool, so as to disturb the quiet, comfort, or repose of persons in any dwelling, hotel, motel, apartment or other type of residence, or of any person in the vicinity;

F.    Blowers: the operating of any noise-creating blower or power fan or any internal combustion engine the operation of which causes noise due to the explosion of operation gases or fluids, unless the noise from such blower or fan is muffled and such engine is equipped;

G.    Exhausts: the discharge into the open air of the exhaust of any steam engine, stationary internal combustion engine, motor boat, or motor vehicle except through a muffler or other device which will effectively prevent loud or explosive noises therefrom;

H.    Loading, unloading – open boxes: the creation of a loud and excessive noise in connection with loading or unloading any vehicle or the opening and destruction of bales, boxes, crates and containers;

I.    Hawkers, peddlers and vendors: the shouting and crying of peddlers, hawkers and vendors which disturbs the peace and quiet of persons in the neighborhood;

J.    Drums: the use of any drum or other instrument or device for the purpose of attracting attention by creation of noise to any performance, show or sale;

K.    Transportation of metal, rails, pillars and columns: the transportation of rails, pillars or columns of iron, steel or other material, over and along streets and other public places upon carts, drays, cars, or trucks in any manner so as to cause loud noises or to disturb the peace and quiet of persons in the vicinity thereof;

L.    Animals, birds, fowl: the keeping of any animal, fowl or bird which by causing frequent or long continued noise shall disturb the comfort or repose of persons in the vicinity;

M.    Any noise emitted from an electronic device, including a radio or television outdoors on or in any publicly owned property or place, including but not limited to public parks, when such noise is audible to a person of normal hearing sensitivity one hundred (100) feet from the electronic device:

1.    Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, no notice to appear shall be issued or criminal complaint shall be filed for a violation of this subsection unless the offending party is first given a verbal or written notification of violation by any peace officer or other person charged with enforcing this subsection and a reasonable opportunity to correct the violation.

2.    Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, any person violating this subsection shall be guilty of an offense and shall be punishable in accordance with Chapter 21.01. This subsection shall apply notwithstanding the provisions Section 8.40.060(B). As used in this subsection, “person of normal hearing sensitivity” means a person who has a hearing threshold level of between zero (0) and twenty-five (25) decibels HL averaged over the frequencies five hundred (500), one thousand (1,000) and two thousand (2,000) Hertz.

(Ord. 2010-07, Repealed and Replaced, 09/07/2010)

8.40.080 Machinery and equipment.

Unless otherwise exempted by other provisions of this chapter, it is unlawful for any person to operate in any manner any mechanical equipment, pump, fan, air conditioning apparatus, stationary pump, stationary cooling tower, stationary compressor, or other machinery, mechanical device or equipment so as to create any noise which would cause the maximum noise level to exceed fifty-five (55) dBA at any point at least one (1) foot inside the property line of the affected residential property and three (3) to five (5) feet above ground.

(Ord. 2010-07, Repealed and Replaced, 09/07/2010)

8.40.090 Administration.

The administration of this chapter is vested in the City Community Development Director.

(Ord. 2010-07, Repealed and Replaced, 09/07/2010)

8.40.100 Variance procedure.

A.    The owner or operator of a noise source which is anticipated by the owner or operator to violate the provisions of this chapter, or which the Director has determined violates any of the provisions of this chapter, may file an application with the Director for variance from strict compliance with any particular provisions of this chapter where such variance will not result in a hazardous condition or a nuisance and strict compliance would be unreasonable in view of all circumstances. The owner or operator shall set forth all actions taken to comply with such provisions and the reasons why immediate compliance cannot be achieved. A separate application shall be filed for each noise source; provided, however, that several mobile sources under common ownership or fixed sources under common ownership on a single property may be combined into one (1) application.

B.    Upon receipt of a complete application and fee, and within thirty (30) days thereafter, the Director shall either (1) approve such request in whole or in part, (2) deny the request, or (3) refer the request directly to the City Council for action thereon in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. In the event the variance is approved, reasonable conditions may be imposed which may include restriction on noise level, noise duration and operating hours, an approved method of achieving compliance and a time schedule for its implementation. The decision of the Director is subject to appeal to the City Council by filing a written appeal with the City Clerk not later than fifteen (15) days following the date of the Director’s written decision to the applicant for the variance.

C.    Factors which the Director or the City Council must consider shall include but not be limited to the following:

1.    Present and potential uses of property within the area affected by noise;

2.    Factors related to initiating and completing all remedial work;

3.    Age and useful life of the existing noise source; and

4.    The general public interest, health, safety and welfare.

D.    If the applicant for a variance appeals the decision of the Director by filing a timely notice of appeal with the City Clerk, the City Council shall hear the matter and either affirm, modify or reverse the decision of the Director. Such decision shall be final and shall be based upon the considerations set forth in this section.

(Ord. 2010-07, Repealed and Replaced, 09/07/2010)

8.40.110 Violations.

A.    Any person that violates any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a separate offense for each and every day during any portion of which any such person commits, continues, permits, or causes a violation thereof, and shall be punished accordingly.

B.    It is unlawful and a public nuisance to violate any of the provisions of this chapter. Violation of this chapter may be charged as either an infraction or a misdemeanor in the discretion of the City Attorney or District Attorney.

C.    The violation of any provision of this chapter shall be and is hereby declared to be contrary to the public interest and shall, at the discretion of the City, create a cause of action for injunctive relief.

D.    In addition to the civil remedies and criminal penalties set forth above, any person that violates the provisions of this chapter may be subject to administrative remedies, as set forth in Title 21 of the Galt Municipal Code.

(Ord. 2010-07, Repealed and Replaced, 09/07/2010)