Chapter 17.60


17.60.010    Purpose And Intent

17.60.020    Hazardous Materials

17.60.030    Noise Standards

17.60.040    Odor, Particulate Matter, And Air Containment Standards

17.60.050    Vibration

17.60.060    Radioactivity, Electrical Disturbance Or Electromagnetic Interference

17.60.010 Purpose And Intent:

The performance standards established in this chapter are intended to ensure that uses and activities shall occur in a manner to protect the public health and safety and which does not produce adverse impacts on surrounding properties or the community at large. The standards contained in this section apply to all zoning districts. If necessary, the city will retain a professional expert or designated regulatory agency to assist in assessing possible impacts, and the applicant or business owner will pay any cost incurred. (Ord. 473 §3, 2007)

17.60.020 Hazardous Materials:

The following standards are intended to ensure that the use, handling, storage and transportation of hazardous materials comply with all applicable state laws1 and that appropriate information is reported to the fire department as the regulatory authority.

A.    Reporting Requirements: All businesses required by state law2 to prepare hazardous materials release response plans and hazardous materials inventory statements shall, upon request, submit copies of these plans, including any revisions, to the fire department.

B.    Underground Storage: Underground storage of hazardous materials shall comply with all applicable requirements of state law. Businesses that use underground storage tanks shall comply with the following procedures:

1.    Notify the fire department of any unauthorized release of hazardous materials prescribed by city, county, state and federal regulations;

2.    Notify the fire department and the Monterey County health department of any proposed abandoning, closing or ceasing operation of an underground storage tank and actions to be taken to dispose of any hazardous materials; and

3.    Submit copies of the closure plan to the fire department.

C.    Aboveground Storage: Aboveground storage tanks for hazardous materials and flammable and combustible materials may be allowed subject to the approval of the fire department.

D.    New Development: Structures adjacent to a commercial supply bulk transfer delivery system with at least six inch (6") pipes shall be designed to accommodate a setback of at least one hundred feet (100') from that delivery system. The setback may be reduced if the planning director, with recommendation from the fire department, can make one or more of the following findings:

1.    The structure would be protected from the radiant heat of an explosion by berming or other physical barriers;

2.    A one hundred foot (100') setback would be impractical or unnecessary because of existing topography, streets, parcel lines or easements; or

3.    A secondary containment system for petroleum pipelines and transition points shall be constructed. The design of the system shall be subject to the approval of the fire department.

E.    Notification Required: A subdivider of a development within five hundred feet (500') of a hazardous material shall notify a new/potential owner before the time of purchase and the close of escrow of the location, size and type of hazard. (Ord. 473 §3, 2007)

17.60.030 Noise Standards:

A.    Purpose: The purpose of this section is to:

1.    Establish standards to provide a high quality of life for all residents by ensuring a safe community, free from manmade and natural hazards;

2.    Implement goals and policies of the general plan noise element;

3.    Provide community noise control regulation and standards which are consistent with or exceed the guidelines of the state office of noise control and the standards adopted by the federal highway administration (FHWA), California department of transportation (CalTrans) or other government or regulatory agencies.

B.    Noise Standards: No use, activity, or process shall exceed the maximum allowable noise standards identified in tables 17.60-1a and 17.60-1b of this section.

1.    Noise Measurement Criteria: Exterior noise levels shall be measured at the property line of the noise source. Noise measurement shall be made with a sound level meter using the "AN weighted scale at slow meter response. Fast meter response shall be used only for an impulsive noise.

2.    Exterior Noise Standards: Exterior noise levels, when measured at any receiving property, shall conform to the noise level standards identified in tables 17.60-1a and 17.60-1b of this section.

a.    If the measured ambient noise level exceeds the applicable noise level standard in any category herein, the applicable standards shall be adjusted to equal the ambient noise level.

b.    If the intruding noise source is continuous and cannot reasonably be discontinued or stopped to allow measurement of the ambient noise level, the noise level measured while the source is in operation shall be compared directly to the applicable noise level standards identified in tables 17.60-1a and 17.60-1b of this section.

TABLE 17.60-1a


Noise Level Descriptor

Daytime (7:00 A.M. To 10:00 P.M.)

Nighttime (10:00 P.M. To 7:00 A.M.)

Hourly Leq, dB1,2,3,4




1.    Each of the noise levels specified above shall be lowered by 5 dB for simple tone noises, noises consisting primarily of speech or music, or for recurring impulsive noises (e.g., humming sounds, outdoor speaker systems). These noise level standards do not apply to residential units established in conjunction with industrial or commercial uses (e.g., caretaker dwellings).

2.    The city can impose noise level standards which are more restrictive than those specified above based upon determination of existing low ambient noise levels.

3.    Fixed noise sources which are typically of concern include, but are not limited to, the following:

Air compressors



Conveyor systems

Cooling towers/evaporative condensers

Cutting equipment

Drill rigs

Emergency generators


Gas or diesel motors



HVAC systems

Heavy equipment

Lift stations

Outdoor speakers

Pile drivers

Pump stations

Steam turbines

Steam valves



4.    The types of uses which may typically produce the noise sources described above include, but are not limited to, industrial facilities including pump stations, trucking operations, tire shops, auto maintenance shops, metal fabricating shops, shopping centers, drive-up windows, car washes, loading docks, public works projects, batch plants, bottling and canning plants, recycling centers, electric generating stations, race tracks, landfills, sand and gravel operations, and athletic fields.

TABLE 17.60-1b


Land Use

Outdoor Activity Areas1 Ldn/CNEL, dB

Interior Spaces

Ldn/CNEL, dB

Leq, dB2

Churches, meeting halls




Hospitals, nursing homes




Office buildings




Playgrounds, neighborhood parks








Schools, libraries, museums




Theaters, auditoriums, music halls




Transient lodging





1.    Where the location of outdoor activity areas is unknown, the exterior noise level standard shall be applied to the property line of the receiving land use. Where it is not practical to mitigate exterior noise levels at patio or balconies of apartment complexes, a common area such as a pool or recreation area may be designated as the outdoor activity area.

2.    As determined for a typical worst case hour during periods of use.

3.    In the case of hotel/motel facilities or other transient lodging, outdoor activity areas such as pool areas may not be included in the project design. In these cases, only the interior noise level criterion will apply.

3.    Conflicts with Late Night, Early Morning, Or Twenty Four Hour Operations: Nonresidential activities shall not impact surrounding residential land uses.

C.    Exempt Activities: The following are not subject to the noise limitations of this section:

1.    Emergency Exemption: 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. This exemption does not include permanently installed emergency generators.

2.    Warning Device: Warning devices necessary for the protection of public safety (e.g., police, fire and ambulance sirens, properly operating home and car burglar alarms and train horns).

3.    Railroad Activities: The operation of locomotives, rail cars, and facilities by a railroad that is regulated by the state public utilities commission.

4.    State Or Federal Preexempted Activities: Any activity, to the extent the regulation of it has been preempted by state or federal law.

5.    Public Health And Safety Activities: All transportation, flood control, and utility company maintenance and construction operation at any time on public rights of way, and those situations that may occur on private property deemed necessary to serve the best interest of the public and to protect the public’s health and well being, including debris and limb removal, removal of damaged poles and vehicles, removal of downed wires, repairing traffic signals, repair of water hydrants and mains, gas lines, oil lines, and sewers, restoring electrical service, street sweeping, unplugging sewers, vacuuming catch basins, etc. The regular testing of motorized equipment and pumps shall not be exempt.

6.    Solid Waste Collection: Noise sources associated with the authorized collection of solid waste (e.g., refuse and garbage).

7.    Maintenance Of Residential Real Property: Noise sources associated with the minor maintenance of residential real property provided the activities take place between the hours of seven o’clock (7:00) A.M. and ten o’clock (10:00) P.M.

D.    Prohibited Activities: The following acts shall be a violation of this section:

1.    Construction Noise: Operating or causing the operation of tools or equipment on private property used in alteration, construction, demolition, drilling or repair work daily between the hours of seven o’clock (7:00) P.M. and seven o’clock (7:00) A.M., so that the sound creates a noise disturbance across a residential property line, except for emergency work of public service utilities.

2.    Loading And Unloading Activities: Loading, unloading, opening, closing or other handling of boxes, crates, containers, building materials, garbage cans, or similar objects on private property between the hours of ten o’clock (10:00) P.M. and seven o’clock (7:00) A.M. in a manner to cause a noise disturbance.

3.    Sweepers And Associated Equipment: Operating or allowing the operation of sweepers or associated sweeping equipment (e.g., blowers) on private property between the hours of ten o’clock (10:00) P.M. and seven o’clock (7:00) A.M. the following day in, or adjacent to, a residential zoning district.

4.    Places Of Public Entertainment: Operating or allowing to be operated any loudspeaker, musical instrument, or other source of sound in any place of public entertainment that exceeds ninety five (95) dBA at any point normally occupied by a customer.

5.    Stationary Nonemergency Signaling Devices: Sounding or allowing the sounding of an electronically amplified signal from a stationary bell, chime, siren, whistle, or similar devices intended for nonemergency purposes, from a private property for more than ten (10) consecutive seconds in any hourly period.

6.    Public Nuisance Noise: Public nuisance noise is noise that is generally not associated with a particular land use but creates a nuisance situation by reason of its being disturbing, excessive, or offensive. Examples would include excessively loud noise from alarms, animals and fowl, horns, musical instruments, stereos, tape or CD players, televisions, vehicle or motorboat repairs and testing, and similar noise as measured in tables 17.60-1a and 17.60-1b of this section. (Ord. 473 §3, 2007)

17.60.040 Odor, Particulate Matter And Air Containment Standards:

A.    Sources of odorous emissions, particulate matter and air containment standards shall comply with the rules and regulations of the Monterey metropolitan air quality management district and the state Health and Safety Code.

B.    Noxious odorous emissions in a matter or quantity that is detrimental to or endangers the public health, safety, comfort, or welfare is declared to be a public nuisance and unlawful, and shall be modified to prevent further emissions release, except for industrial operations in compliance with) this title.

C.    No dust or particulate matter shall be emitted that is detectable by a reasonable person without instruments.

D.    Exhaust air ducts shall be located or directed away from abutting residentially zoned properties. (Ord. 473 §3, 2007)

17.60.050 Vibration:

Uses that generate vibrations that may be considered a nuisance or hazard on any adjacent property shall be cushioned or isolated to prevent generation of vibrations. Uses shall be operated in compliance with the following provisions:

A.    Uses shall not generate ground vibration that is perceptible without instruments by the average person at any point along or beyond the property line of the parcel containing the activities;

B.    Uses, activities, and processes shall not generate vibrations that cause discomfort or annoyance to reasonable persons of normal sensitivity or which endangers the comfort, repose, health or peace of residents whose property abuts the property line of the parcel;

C.    Uses shall not generate ground vibration that interferes with the operations of equipment and facilities of adjoining parcels; and

D.    Vibrations from temporary construction/demolition and vehicles that leave the subject parcel (e.g., trucks, trains, and aircraft) are exempt from the provisions of this section. (Ord. 473 §3, 2007)

17.60.060 Radioactivity, Electrical Disturbance Or Electromagnetic Interference:

None of the following shall be emitted:

A.    Radioactivity, in a manner that does not comply with all applicable state and federal regulations; or

B.    Electrical disturbance or electromagnetic interference that interferes with normal radio or television reception, or with the function of other electronic equipment beyond the property line of the site; or that does not comply with all applicable federal communications commission (FCC) and other applicable state and federal regulations. (Ord. 473 §3, 2007)


    See, e.g., Gov.C. §65850.2, Health & S.C. §25500 et seq.


    Health & S.C. div. 20, ch. 6.95.