Chapter 8.16


8.16.010    Purpose.

8.16.020    Definitions.

8.16.030    General noise prohibition.

8.16.040    Sound measurement.

8.16.050    Specific noises prohibited.

8.16.060    Exemptions.

8.16.070    Noise permits.

8.16.080    Enforcement.

8.16.090    Penalties.

8.16.010 Purpose.

This chapter is enacted to protect, preserve, and promote the health, safety, welfare, peace, and quiet of the citizens of the city of Sisters through the reduction, control, and prevention of loud and raucous noise, and/or any noise which unreasonably disturbs, injures, and/or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace, and/or safety, and/or causes public inconvenience, annoyance, and/or alarm to reasonable persons of ordinary sensitivity. [Ord. 484 § 2 (Exh. A), 2018].

8.16.020 Definitions.

Unless the context requires otherwise, when used in this chapter, the following terms and phrases have the meanings assigned to them below:

“City” means the city of Sisters, Oregon.

“City council” or “council” means city’s then elected legislative body.

“City manager” means city’s then city manager and/or his or her designee.

“Code” means the Sisters Municipal Code.

“Commercial zone(s)” means area within the Downtown Commercial (DC) District, Highway Commercial (HC) District, Sun Ranch Tourist Commercial (SRTC) District, and/or North Sisters Business Park (NSBP) District, each as defined under the Sisters Development Code (“SDC”) and as delineated on the city’s then current zoning map.

“Daytime hours” means any time other than nighttime hours.

“dBA” means the sound pressure level in decibels measured using the A-weighted decibel scale.

“Emergency” means any occurrence or set of circumstances involving actual and/or imminent physical trauma and/or significant property damage demanding immediate attention.

“Emergency work” means any work performed for the purpose of preventing and/or alleviating physical trauma and/or property damage, whether actually caused or threatened by an emergency, and/or work by private and/or public utilities when restoring utility service.

“Industrial zone(s)” means area within the Light Industrial (LI) District as defined under the SDC and as delineated on the city’s then current zoning map.

“Nighttime hours” means any time between the hours of (a) 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. of the following day commencing on Sunday evenings until Friday mornings, and (b) 10:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. of the following day commencing on Friday evenings until Sunday mornings. Notwithstanding the foregoing, nighttime hours will extend until 9:00 a.m. on the morning of all state recognized holidays.

“Noise enforcement officer” means any peace officer as defined in ORS 133.005(3), city manager, city attorney, public works director, community development director, and/or their respective designees.

“Noise sensitive area” includes, without limitation, real property normally used as a school, place of worship, hospital, senior care facility, public library, or similar facility.

“Person(s)” means any natural person, corporation, limited liability company, partnership, joint venture, firm, association, trust, unincorporated organization, government or governmental agency or political subdivision, or any other entity.

“Plainly audible” means any sound that can be detected by a reasonable person of ordinary sensitivities using his or her unaided hearing faculties.

“Public right-of-way” or “right-of-way” means any street, avenue, boulevard, highway, sidewalk, path, trail, alley, and/or similar place normally accessible to the public that is owned or controlled by a government entity.

“Public space” means any real property (and/or structures on real property) owned by a government entity and normally accessible to the public, including, without limitation, parks and other recreational areas.

“Residential zone(s)” means area within the Residential (R) District, Pine Meadow Village Residential Single-Family Sub-District (R-PMV), Multi-Family Residential (MFR) District, and/or Sun Ranch Residential (SRR) District, each as defined under the SDC and as delineated on the city’s then current zoning map.

“Sisters Folk Festival” refers to the weekend immediately following Labor Day commencing at 12:01 p.m. on Thursday through 10:00 p.m. on Sunday.

“Sisters Rodeo” refers to the period commencing at 12:01 p.m. on the Wednesday immediately preceding the second weekend in June and through 10:00 p.m. on Sunday of that weekend.

“Utility service” means the normal operation of utilities within city, whether provided by city or by another entity, including, without limitation, water, wastewater, electricity, natural gas, telecommunications, and garbage hauling. [Ord. 484 § 2 (Exh. A), 2018; Ord. 443 § 1, 2014; Ord. 418 § 1, 2012; Ord. 282 § 1, 1997. Code 2002 § 8.12.054. Formerly 8.16.010].

8.16.030 General noise prohibition.

(1) No person will make, assist in making, permit, continue, permit the continuance of, and/or cause to be made or continued:

(a) Any unreasonably loud, raucous, and/or repetitive noise;

(b) Any noise that unreasonably disturbs, injures, and/or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace, and/or safety of reasonable persons of ordinary sensitivity within city’s jurisdictional limits; and/or

(c) Any noise that is so harsh, prolonged, unnatural, and/or unusual in time or place as to occasion unreasonable discomfort to any persons within the vicinity of the location from which said noise emanates, or as to unreasonably interfere with the peace and comfort of neighbors or their guests, or operators or customers in places of business, or as to detrimentally or adversely affect such residences or places of business.

(2) Factors for determining whether a sound is unreasonably loud, raucous, or repetitive include, without limitation, the following:

(a) The land use, nature, and zoning of the area from which the sound emanates and the area where it is received or perceived;

(b) The time of day or night the sound occurs;

(c) Whether the sound is recurrent, intermittent, or constant; and

(d) Whether the sound is within the allowable noise limits contained in SMC 8.16.050(1). [Ord. 484 § 2 (Exh. A), 2018].

8.16.040 Sound measurement.

Sound measurements are not required for the enforcement of this chapter; provided, however, if sound measurements are made, such measurements should be made using the A-weighted decibel scale and be taken from a device meeting or exceeding industry standards for sound measurement devices. [Ord. 484 § 2 (Exh. A), 2018].

8.16.050 Specific noises prohibited.

Except as provided in SMC 8.16.060, or pursuant to a noise permit issued under SMC 8.16.070, and without limiting the enforceability of SMC 8.16.030 or any other provision of this chapter, the following acts are declared to be violations of this chapter:

(1) Noises in Excess of Noise Limits. Any noise in excess of the limits set out below. The maximum allowable noise limits are measured from any point along the property line of any property with a residence or other noise sensitive area, which need not be in the same zone as the noise producing property or source.

Noise Producing Property Zone Location

Daytime Hours

Nighttime Hours

Residential zone(s)

65 dBA

60 dBA

Commercial zone(s)

70 dBA

65 dBA

Industrial zone(s)

75 dBA

70 dBA

Public Facility (PF) District, Open Space (OS) District, Urban Area Reserve (UAR) District

75 dBA

70 dBA

(2) Vehicle Horns, Signaling Devices, and Similar Devices. The sounding of any horn, signaling device, and/or other similar device on any automobile, motorcycle, or other vehicle on any right-of-way or in any public space of city, for more than 10 consecutive seconds; provided, however, the sounding of any horn, signaling device, and/or other similar device as a danger warning is exempt from this prohibition.

(3) Nonemergency Signaling Devices. Sounding or permitting sounding of any amplified signal from any bell, chime, siren, whistle, and/or similar device, intended primarily for nonemergency purposes, from any place for more than 10 consecutive seconds in any hourly period.

(4) Emergency Signaling Devices. The intentional sounding or permitting the sounding of any emergency signaling device including fire alarm, burglar alarm, civil defense alarm, siren, whistle, or similar emergency signaling device, except in an emergency and/or except as provided in subsections (4)(a) and (b) of this section.

(a) No testing of any emergency signaling device will occur during nighttime hours. Any testing will use only the minimum cycle test time. In no case will such test time exceed five minutes. Testing of the emergency signaling system will not occur more than once in each calendar month; provided, however, any public emergency service provider may test their respective emergency signaling devices as may be reasonably necessary to ensure proper mechanical operation.

(b) Sounding or permitting the sounding of any burglar or fire alarm or any motor vehicle burglar alarm will terminate within 15 minutes of activation unless an emergency exists. If a false or accidental activation of an alarm occurs more than twice in a calendar month, the owner or person responsible for the alarm will have committed a violation of this chapter.

(5) Radios, Televisions, Boomboxes, Phonographs, Stereos, Musical Instruments, and Similar Devices. The use and/or operation of a radio, television, boombox, stereo, musical instrument, or similar device, including, without limitation, computers, speakers, and cellular phones, that produce(s) or reproduce(s) sound in a manner that is plainly audible to any person other than the player(s) and/or operator(s) of the device, and those who are voluntarily listening to the sound, and which unreasonably disturbs the peace, quiet, and comfort of neighbors and passersby. For purposes of this subsection any such noise that is plainly audible at a distance from the source of 50 feet during daytime hours and 30 feet during nighttime hours in any residential zone and 75 feet during daytime hours and 50 feet during nighttime hours in any other zone is de facto evidence of unreasonably disturbing the peace, quiet, and comfort of neighbors and passersby.

(6) Loudspeakers, Amplifiers, Public Address Systems and Similar Devices. The unreasonably loud and raucous use or operation of a loudspeaker, amplifier, public address system, and/or other device for producing or reproducing sound during nighttime hours:

(a) Within or adjacent to residential zones and/or noise sensitive areas; and/or

(b) Within a public space if the sound is plainly audible across the real property line of the public space from which the sound emanates and is unreasonably loud and raucous.

(7) Yelling, Shouting, and Similar Activities. Yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling, and/or singing in residential zones, noise sensitive areas, and/or in public spaces, during nighttime hours or at any time or place so as to unreasonably disturb the quiet, comfort, or repose of reasonable persons of ordinary sensitivities. This section is to be applied only to those situations where the disturbance is not a result of the content of the communication but due to the volume, duration, location, timing, and/or other factor(s) other than content.

(8) Animals and Birds. Unreasonably loud, raucous, or repetitive noises emitted by an animal or bird for which a person is responsible. A person is responsible for an animal if the person owns, controls, or otherwise cares for the animal or bird.

(9) Loading and/or Unloading Merchandise, Materials, and/or Equipment. The creation of unreasonably loud, raucous, and excessive noise relating to the loading or unloading of any vehicle at a place of business or residence.

(10) Construction Noises. Noises from construction, demolition, alteration, excavation, and/or repair activities other than during daytime hours.

(11) Noise Sensitive Areas. The creation of any unreasonably loud and/or raucous noise adjacent to any noise sensitive area while it is in use, which unreasonably interferes with the function of the use and/or that disturbs the persons in the noise sensitive area; provided, that conspicuous signs delineating the boundaries of the noise sensitive area are displayed in the right(s)-of-way surrounding the noise sensitive area.

(12) Blowers and Similar Devices. In residential zones and/or noise sensitive areas, the operation during nighttime hours of any noise-creating blower, power fan, or any internal combustion engine, the operation of which causes noise; provided, that the noise is unreasonably loud and raucous and can be heard from more than 30 feet away from the source of the noise from which it emanates.

(13) Commercial Establishments Adjacent to Residential Property. Unreasonably loud and raucous noise from the premises of any commercial establishment, including, without limitation, any outdoor area which is part of or under control of the establishment during nighttime hours that is plainly audible from any residential zone. For purposes of this subsection, “commercial establishment” means any business, establishment, and/or enterprise required to obtain a business license under Chapter 5.05 SMC and not located in a residential zone. [Ord. 484 § 2 (Exh. A), 2018].

8.16.060 Exemptions.

Except as expressly provided otherwise, sounds caused by the following are exempt from the prohibitions or requirements to obtain noise permits set out in this chapter:

(1) Motor vehicles on traffic ways of city; provided, that the prohibitions of SMC 8.16.050(2) and (4)(b) (pertaining to motor vehicle burglar alarms) continue to apply.

(2) Construction activities necessary to mitigate or avoid an immediate danger to life, health, and/or significant loss of property.

(3) Sirens, whistles, and/or bells lawfully used by emergency vehicles, or other alarm systems used in case of fire, collision, civil defense, police activity, or imminent danger; provided, that the prohibition contained in SMC 8.16.050(4) continues to apply.

(4) The emission of sound for purposes of alerting persons to the existence of an emergency or the emission of sound in the performance of emergency work.

(5) Repairs or excavations of bridges, streets, highways, or utility structures by or on behalf of city, Deschutes County, the state of Oregon, and/or the federal government during nighttime hours, when public welfare and convenience renders it impractical to perform the work at other times.

(6) Reasonable activities conducted on public playgrounds and public or private school grounds, which are conducted in accordance with the manner in which such spaces are generally used, including, without limitation, school athletic and school entertainment events.

(7) During the period commencing at 9:00 a.m. on July 1st and ending at 10:00 p.m. on July 5th, noise emanating from the combustion, detonation, and/or concussion caused by the lawful use of fireworks and/or other similar devices between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. [Ord. 484 § 2 (Exh. A), 2018].

8.16.070 Noise permits.

(1) Application. Subject to the provisions of this section, the city manager may issue a noise permit for any nonexempt activity that would otherwise violate this chapter. An application for a noise permit must be submitted to city on such application forms and in such manner as the city manager may then prescribe. Subject to the provisions of this chapter, an application for a noise permit must be submitted no sooner than 180 days, but at least 60 days, in advance of the first date on which the noise permit is needed. Each application will be evaluated on its own merits. The application must be accompanied by the then applicable application fee and all other fees required under this chapter, which fees may be determined and adjusted by council resolution from time to time. The application must be filed with the city manager and, in addition to all other information reasonably requested by the city manager, must include, without limitation, the following information:

(a) The proposed date(s), time(s), and location(s) of the proposed event or activity.

(b) The expected maximum noise levels during the proposed event or activity.

(c) The reason(s) for which the noise permit is being sought.

(d) The names, addresses, and contact information of the applicant(s) (including a telephone number for the responsible person who will be available at that number while the noise is being generated).

(2) Notice. Within five days of submitting an application, the applicant must provide notice in a form approved by city to property owners and residents within 500 feet of the location where the sound will be generated. Notice must be provided by (a) regular mail to each property owner’s address of record then on file with the Deschutes County assessor’s office, (b) publication in a newspaper of general circulation in city, (c) door-hanger and/or hand delivery to each property owner and resident, and/or (d) by posting a placard or sign, as permitted under city’s sign regulations, on the subject property near an adjacent street in a manner reasonably calculated to provide notice to property owners and residents. City may provide additional notice of the application at its discretion. Any person may provide comments to city regarding the proposed noise permit within 14 days after the date the notice is provided. The applicant will provide a statement to city within 10 days of providing notice certifying that notice(s) has been delivered as required by this subsection.

(3) Review. Any application for a noise permit under this chapter will be reviewed by the city manager. The city manager may grant, grant with conditions, or deny an application for a noise permit. The city manager is authorized to make an investigation of the proposed event and will review the application and conduct whatever investigation the city manager deems necessary or appropriate to determine whether the application is complete and whether the statements made therein are true and accurate.

(4) Review Criteria. The city manager may only issue a noise permit if the city manager finds:

(a) The application is complete.

(b) The applicant and/or property has not exceeded its maximum number of noise permits as provided in subsection (5) of this section.

(c) The proposed noise permit will not unduly affect public health, safety, and welfare considering factors, including, without limitation, the following:

(i) The physical characteristics, times, and durations of the proposed emitted sound.

(ii) The geography, zone, and residential and/or noise sensitive use of any affected area.

(iii) The history of the sound source relative to adjacent uses (i.e., whether an event predates the siting of adjacent residential and/or noise sensitive uses).

(iv) Whether compliance with the standard(s) or provision(s) from which the noise permit is sought would produce hardship without equal or greater benefit to the public.

(v) The applicant’s previous history, if any, of compliance or noncompliance with this chapter and/or any other code provisions.

(vi) Whether the application could be reasonably conditioned to mitigate identified impacts to public health, safety, and welfare.

(vii) Any other consideration reasonably determined by the city manager to be relevant to the application.

(5) Maximum Number.

(a) Based on the location of the proposed event or activity as identified in the application under subsection (1)(a) of this section, the maximum number of noise permits that may be issued in a calendar year to an applicant and/or property is as follows:

Noise Producing Property Zone Location

Number of Permits per Year

Residential zone(s)


Commercial zone(s)


Industrial zone(s)


Public Facility (PF) District, Open Space (OS) District, Urban Area Reserve (UAR) District


(b) Notwithstanding the maximum number of noise permits that may be issued to an applicant and/or property identified in subsection (5)(a) of this section, the maximum number of noise permits that may be issued in a calendar year for a public or private park is 12.

(c) Notwithstanding anything in this chapter to the contrary, noise permits issued for events or activities during the Sisters Rodeo and/or the Sisters Folk Festival do not count towards the maximum number of permits.

(d) The city manager may reduce or suspend the number of noise permits available to an applicant and/or property as a penalty for violations of this chapter.

(6) Noise Permit Limitations and Conditions. Notwithstanding anything contained in this chapter to the contrary:

(a) Except as expressly provided otherwise in this chapter, no noise permit will authorize (or be construed to authorize) any noise otherwise prohibited under this chapter between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.

(b) No noise permit may be granted for a period exceeding seven consecutive days, except that a noise permit related to construction permits may be granted for up to 60 days.

(c) The city manager may condition a noise permit in any manner, including, without limitation, maximum noise levels and/or time of day restrictions.

(7) Grounds for Suspension or Revocation.

(a) The city manager may suspend or revoke a noise permit for any of the following reasons:

(i) Fraud, misrepresentation, and/or false statement(s) contained in the application for a noise permit and/or willful withholding of information or incomplete disclosure concerning any matter required to be furnished in connection with any such application for a noise permit;

(ii) A violation of this chapter and/or the terms and conditions imposed under the noise permit; and/or

(iii) Failure to comply with any applicable federal, state, and/or local law, rule, regulation, and/or ordinance, and/or any agreement with city.

(b) After suspension or revocation, the noise permit holder must immediately cease activities authorized under the noise permit or refrain from engaging in such activities if such activities have not yet commenced.

(8) Notice of Denial, Revocation, or Suspension. The city manager must provide to the applicant or noise permit holder notice of any noise permit denial, suspension, and/or revocation and the reasons thereof within a reasonable period of time after the city manager’s determination. All notices must be in writing and must be delivered to the applicant or noise permit holder at the address set forth in the noise permit application. Any notice will be deemed delivered upon actual receipt if delivered personally, via email or facsimile (with electronic confirmation of delivery), or an overnight delivery service, or at the end of the third business day after the date deposited in the United States mail, postage prepaid, certified, return receipt requested. The notice will inform the applicant or permit holder of its appeal rights under this chapter.

(9) Appeal. A decision to deny, suspend, and/or revoke a permit may be appealed by delivering written notice of appeal to the city manager within 10 days of the notice of denial, suspension, and/or revocation. Failure to file a complete notice of appeal within the aforementioned 10-day appeal period is deemed a waiver of all rights to object to a permit denial, suspension, and/or revocation determination. Unless the city manager elects to rescind or modify the decision, the city manager will transmit the notice of appeal together with the file of the appealed matter to the council. Upon receipt of the notice and file, the council will fix a time and place for hearing the appeal. The council will give the appellant not less than 10 days’ prior written notice of the time and place of hearing the appealed matter. The council will hear and determine the appeal on the basis of the written statement and any additional evidence the council considers appropriate or relevant, including any information provided by the city manager. At the hearing, the appellant may present testimony and oral argument, personally or through legal counsel, and any additional evidence; provided, however, the rules of evidence as used by courts of law do not apply. The decision of the council is final and conclusive.

(10) Emergency Noise Permits. Notwithstanding anything contained in this chapter to the contrary, the city manager may issue a noise permit without the requirement of filing a complete application, providing notice, and/or following otherwise required procedures, if the city manager reasonably believes the noise permit is necessary or appropriate to avoid an imminent threat to health, safety, or welfare, including, without limitation, to avoid or mitigate the threat of significant losses to real and/or personal property. [Ord. 484 § 2 (Exh. A), 2018; Ord. 443 § 1, 2014; Ord. 418 § 1, 2012; Ord. 412 § 1, 2012; Ord. 282 § 1, 1997. Code 2002 § 8.12.054. Formerly 8.16.020].

8.16.080 Enforcement.

The noise regulations contained in this chapter may be enforced by any noise enforcement officer. Nothing contained in this chapter will prevent or will be construed to prevent any noise enforcement officer from obtaining voluntary compliance by way of warning, notice, and/or education. [Ord. 484 § 2 (Exh. A), 2018].

8.16.090 Penalties.

(1) Any person violating this chapter, including, without limitation, any person who violates the terms of a noise permit granted under SMC 8.16.070, will be subject to a civil penalty not less than the sum of $100.00 and not to exceed the sum of $1,500 for each violation. Each violation of a provision of this chapter, and every day that such violation continues, constitutes a separate violation. In addition to the foregoing civil penalties, city may seek, in a court of competent jurisdiction, such other and additional relief (including all legal and equitable relief and remedies) available under applicable law. City will be entitled to collect from any person violating or otherwise failing to comply with this chapter city’s reasonable attorney fees and other fees, costs, and expenses incurred by city to enforce this chapter. The remedies provided in this section are not exclusive and will not prevent city from exercising any other rights and/or remedies available under law. It is within city’s discretion to seek cumulative remedies for a violation of this chapter.

(2) Noise and activities prohibited by this chapter may be deemed a nuisance and/or violation of and subject to the restrictions, abatement process, and/or penalties provided under Chapter 8.15 SMC and/or any other code provision. If a conflict between any provision of this chapter and any other provision of the code occurs, the two provisions will be harmonized to the extent possible. [Ord. 484 § 2 (Exh. A), 2018].