Chapter 9.20


9.20.010    Purpose.

9.20.020    Scope.

9.20.030    Definitions.

9.20.040    Prohibitions.

9.20.050    Liability of person in control of property.

9.20.060    Exemptions.

9.20.070    Variances.

9.20.080    Violation – Penalty.

9.20.010 Purpose.

The city council has determined that excessive sound is a serious hazard to the public health, welfare and quality of life, and it shall be the policy of the city to prevent excessive sound which may jeopardize the health, welfare and safety of citizens or degrade the quality of life. (Ord. 299 § 1, 1988)

9.20.020 Scope.

This chapter shall apply to the regulations of all sounds originating within the city limits. (Ord. 299 § 2, 1988)

9.20.030 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter the following words shall mean:

(1) "Chainsaw" means a saw which utilizes a chain as a cutting device, whether powered by an internal combustion engine or electricity.

(2) "Construction activity" means the construction (including excavation), demolition, alteration, or repair of any building, street, sidewalk, driveway, sewer, or utility line.

(3) "Domestic power tools" means any mechanically powered saw, drill, sander, grinder, pneumatic tool, air compressor, or other similar power tool, but not including a chainsaw or a power lawn tool.

(4) "Emergency services vehicle" means any publicly owned vehicle used for police, fire fighting, or ambulance services.

(5) "Idling speed" means that speed at which an engine will run when no pressure is applied to the accelerator or accelerator linkage.

(6) "Noise disturbance" means any sound which:

(a) Injures or endangers the safety or health of a human;

(b) Annoys or disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivity; or

(c) Endangers or injures personal or real property.

(7) "Noise sensitive unit" means any residence, apartment, condominium, multifamily dwelling, or vehicle, boat or other structure adapted or used for the overnight accommodation of persons, or any school, church, temple, synagogue, nursing home, rest home, retirement home, group care home, or daycare center.

(8) "Off-road vehicle" means any self-propelled land vehicle designed or used for traversing over natural terrain, including, but not limited to, dune buggies, go-carts, motorcycles, mini-bikes, or other similar vehicles, but not including tractors or other motor vehicles when being used for commercial or agricultural purposes.

(9) "Person" means a person, persons, firm, association, partnership, joint venture, corporation, or any entity, public or private in nature.

(10) "Person in control of property" means any property owner, tenant, resident, occupant, or other person who has a current right to use property and a right to limit access to property by others.

(11) "Plainly audible" means where the listener clearly can hear the content of the sound produced by the noise source. Sounds which may be clearly audible include, but are not limited to, musical rhythms, spoken words, vocal sounds, and engine noises.

(12) "Power lawn tool" means any mechanically powered lawn mower, edger, brush cutter, leaf blower, or other similar lawn or garden power tool, whether powered by gasoline, diesel, or electricity.

(13) "Sound reproduction device" means any radio, stereo, loudspeaker, amplifier, television, tape player, or other similar machine or mechanical or electronic device intended for the reproduction or amplification of sound. (Ord. 396 § 1, 1998; Ord. 299 § 3, 1988)

9.20.040 Prohibitions.

No person shall create or assist in creating or permit the continuance of noise in the city of Veneta from the following sources, by the following acts, or in excess of the following limits:

(1) Unlicensed Off-Road Vehicles. Operation of any unlicensed off-road vehicle on public or private property within the city limits, except between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., upon property zoned "rural-residential" of five acres or more in size with the express written permission of the property owner to operate the vehicle on said property. Such use is allowed only for a total of four hours per 24-hour period on any one parcel of property;

(2) Licensed Off-Road Vehicles. Operation of any licensed off-road vehicle on public or private property within the city, except between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on public roads, parking lots open to the public, private roads, or other private property zoned "rural-residential" which is more than five acres in size. The express written permission of the property owner is necessary for such use on private roads and property, and is allowed only for a total of four hours per 24-hour period on any one parcel of property;

(3) Revving Engines. Unnecessarily revving the engine of any internal combustion engine, whether or not in a motor vehicle, within 200 feet of any noise sensitive unit, except as may be reasonably necessary to start, warm up, or mechanically repair such engine;

(4) Idling Engines on Motor Vehicles. Running the engine on any motor vehicle at idling speed for more than 15 consecutive minutes between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.;

(5) Power Lawn Tools. Operation of any power lawn tool between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.;

(6) Domestic Power Tools. Operation of any domestic power tool between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.; provided, however, that domestic power tools may be operated between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. if operated within a completely enclosed area; and provided further, that the noise produced by such tool does not create a noise disturbance;

(7) Sound Reproduction Devices. Operation of any sound reproduction device which creates sound which:

(a) Between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. creates a noise disturbance; or

(b) Between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. is plainly audible within any noise sensitive unit which is not the source of the sound or 50 feet or more from such device;

(8) Chainsaws. The operation of any chainsaw:

(a) Between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.;

(b) For a total of more than four hours in any one day;

(c) For a total of more than 24 hours in any one month;

(9) Motor Vehicle Repair and Testing. Repairing or testing a motor vehicle between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. in such a manner as to produce sound which creates a noise disturbance;

(10) Construction Activities. Engaging in construction activities between 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. if such activities produce sound which creates a noise disturbance;

(11) Heating and Cooling Devices. Operation of any heat pump, furnace, water cooler, fan, air conditioner, or other heating or cooling device which, between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., creates a noise disturbance;

(12) Miscellaneous Sounds. Producing sound by any means or through any activity other than those listed in this section or VMC 9.20.060 which:

(a) Between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. creates a noise disturbance; or

(b) Between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. is plainly audible within any noise sensitive unit which is not the source of the sound or 50 feet or more from such device. (Ord. 396 § 3, 1998; Ord. 393 § 1, 1998; Ord. 390 § 6, 1998; Ord. 299 § 5, 1988)

9.20.050 Liability of person in control of property.

(1) A person in control of property is liable and subject to penalties to the same extent as a person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter if such person:

(a) Has actual knowledge of the violation at the time it occurs;

(b) Has the actual ability and legal right to prevent the violation of this chapter by ejecting a person creating the noise from the property, removing or causing the termination of the operation of the noise-producing device or activity, or otherwise preventing the violation; and

(c) Fails, refuses, or neglects to prevent the violation.

(2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to render any person in control of property liable for violations of this chapter by trespassers or other persons using the property without the implied or express consent of the person in control of property, nor shall anything in this chapter be construed to require a person in control of property to assume a substantial risk of physical injury to prevent a violation. (Ord. 299 § 6, 1988)

9.20.060 Exemptions.

The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to:

(1) Emergency Work. Sounds caused by the performance of emergency work reasonably necessary to prevent injury to persons or property;

(2) Aircraft. Aircraft operations in compliance with applicable federal laws or regulations;

(3) Railroads. Railroad activities as defined in subpart (A), Part 201 of Title 40, CFR, of the Environmental Protection Agency's Railroad Emission Standards, incorporated herein by reference;

(4) Refuse Pickup. Sounds created by refuse pick-up operations, other than sounds caused by violations of VMC 9.20.040(6) and (7);

(5) Emergency Vehicles. Sounds caused by publicly owned emergency vehicles, sirens, or warning devices;

(6) Police and Fire Fighters. Sounds caused by police or fire fighting activities;

(7) Construction. Sounds caused by construction activities between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.;

(8) Governmental Operations. Sounds caused by motor vehicles, equipment, or other property owned by the city of Veneta, Lane County, the state of Oregon, or any other governmental entity, and sounds caused by employees of any such governmental entities in the course of such employee's official duties, and sounds caused by any contractors, subcontractors, or employees of such persons or entities while engaged in performing a public contract or providing services to any governmental entity;

(9) Alarms. Sounds made by warning devices to protect persons or property from imminent exposure to danger; provided, however, that privately owned burglar or fire alarms shall not operate continuously for more than 15 minutes;

(10) Athletic Activities. Sounds caused by organized athletic or other group activities not involving sound reproduction devices, when such activities are conducted on property generally used for such purposes;

(11) Pre-Existing Industrial or Mill Activities. Sounds caused by lawful industrial or mill activities and uses to the extent that those activities and uses existed and caused sound prior to the enactment of the ordinance codified in this chapter;

(12) Commercial Logging Activities. Sounds caused by commercial logging activities on lots of not less than two acres zoned rural-residential if such activities:

(a) Are restricted to the hours of 7:00.a.m. to 7:00 p.m.;

(b) Comply with VMC 9.20.040(5); and

(c) Are restricted to felling, bucking, trimming, splitting, or otherwise processing or hauling timber grown on the particular lot. (Ord. 393 § 2, 1998; Ord. 299 § 7, 1988)

9.20.070 Variances.

Any person who owns or controls any sound producing device or other sound source, or who is engaged in or planning any activity which violates, will violate, or may violate any provision of this chapter, or any property owner or person in control of property on which such sound source is located or such activity is planned, may apply to the city administrator for a variance.

(1) Time Duration of Variance. A variance may be either temporary, long-term, or permanent. A temporary variance shall be for a specific period of time not to exceed two weeks, and a long-term variance shall be for a specific period exceeding two weeks.

(2) Application. Applications for temporary variances shall be made to the city administrator. Applications for long-term and permanent variances shall be made to the planning commission. The application shall state the provision of this chapter from which a variance is sought, whether the variance sought is temporary, long-term or permanent, the nature and duration of the proposed sound-producing activity or device, the economic benefit of the proposed activity, the feasibility and cost of noise abatement, the period of time the variance is to apply, the reason the variance is sought, and any other supporting information which the city administrator may reasonably require.

(3) Application Fee. An application fee of $25.00 shall be submitted with any application for a long-term or permanent variance. The application fee may be waived in the discretion of the city administrator if the city administrator finds that imposition of the fee would constitute a substantial financial hardship to the applicant.

(4) Review Considerations. In considering a request for a variance, the following factors shall be considered:

(a) The potential nature and duration of the sound caused or to be caused by the device or activity;

(b) The protection of the health, safety, and welfare of citizens, and the potential effect of the sound on the sleep, peace, quiet, comfort or repose of other persons;

(c) The feasibility and cost of noise abatement and the financial ability of the owner, occupant or other person producing noise or in control of property to comply with this chapter;

(d) The loss or inconvenience which would result to any party in interest from the denial of the variance;

(e) The past, present, and future patterns of land use;

(f) Whether previous variances have been granted and the applicant's record of compliance with the terms and restrictions of any previous variances;

(g) In the case of a person requesting a variance for a heating or cooling device, any special medical requirements for continued use of the device shall be considered.

(5) Notification and Public Hearing. Notice and public hearing on applications for variance shall be provided as follows:

(a) No notice or hearing is required for the grant or denial of a temporary variance.

(b) Public notice shall be given of an application for a long-term or permanent variance at least 10 days prior to the hearing on such application by:

(i) Publication in a newspaper of general circulation within the county; and

(ii) Mailing such notice to occupants and owners of noise sensitive units located within 200 feet of the property line of the property for which the variance is sought. Notice given under this section shall be complete upon mailing, and shall be sufficient if given to the last-known owner and occupant as shown by city records.

(c) Notice of the variance application shall include:

(i) A description of the location of the property for which the variance is sought by street address or, if there is no street address, by legal description or other description reasonably calculated to apprise persons receiving the notice of the location of the property;

(ii) A general description of the variance requested and the type of sound-producing activity or device which is proposed; and

(iii) The date, time, and place of the hearing.

(6) Approval or Denial. The planning commission shall, within 10 days after the hearing, deny the variance, approve it, or approve it subject to restrictions or conditions.

(7) Conditions and Restrictions. If a variance is approved, the city administrator, planning commission, or city council may impose such conditions or restrictions as are deemed reasonably necessary to ensure the peace, quiet, repose, health, welfare, and safety of the citizens of Veneta and to effectuate the purposes of this chapter.

(8) Appeal. The decision of the city administrator or planning commission may be appealed to the city council. Notice of appeal shall be delivered to City Hall. The council shall review the application and shall have the discretion whether or not to hold a further hearing. If a hearing is held, notice shall be given in accordance with this section.

(9) At any time before or during the operation of any variance, the city administrator, planning commission, or city council may revoke the variance for good cause. (Ord. 299 § 8, 1988)

9.20.080 Violation – Penalty.

Violation of any provision of this chapter is punishable by a fine not to exceed $3,000. Each day that a violation of this chapter continues shall be considered a separate violation. (Ord. 299 § 9, 1988)