Chapter 8.20
NOISE CONTROL

Sections:

8.20.010    Purpose.

8.20.020    Public disturbance noises.

8.20.030    Violation – Penalty.

8.20.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to minimize the exposure of citizens to the harmful physiological effects of excessive noise. The intent of the City Council is to control the level of noise pollution in a manner which promotes commerce, the use, value and enjoyment of property, sleep and repose and the quality of the environment by declaring certain noise producing activities to be noise disturbances. (Ord. 04-19 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 07-12 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 96-98 § 1)

8.20.020 Public disturbance noises.

(1) It is unlawful for any person to cause, or for any person in possession of property to allow to originate from the property, sound that is a public disturbance noise.

(2) The following sources of sound shall be public disturbance noises:

(a) The frequent, repetitive or continuous sounding of any horn or siren attached to a motor vehicle, except those from a police, fire or medical emergency vehicle, so as to unreasonably disturb or interfere with the peace and comfort of owners or possessors of real property;

(b) The creation of frequent, repetitive or continuous sounds in connection with the starting, operation, repair, rebuilding or testing of any motor vehicle, motorcycle, off-highway vehicle or internal combustion engine within a residential district, so as to unreasonably disturb or interfere with the peace and comfort of owners or possessors of real property;

(c) Yelling or shouting which is audible on the public streets or public grounds between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. or at any time and place so as to unreasonably disturb or interfere with the peace and comfort of owners or possessors of real property;

(d) The creation of frequent, repetitive or continuous sounds which emanate from any building, structure, apartment or condominium which unreasonably disturb or interfere with the peace and comfort of owners or possessors of real property, such as sounds from band sessions or social gatherings;

(e) The creation of sound from any motor vehicle audio sound system, such as a tape player, radio or compact disc player, operated at a volume so as to be audible at least 50 feet from the source;

(f) The creation of sound from any audio equipment, such as a tape player, radio or compact disc player, television, musical instrument, or similar device, whether portable or stationary, operated at a volume as to be audible at least 50 feet from the source;

(g) The creation of squealing, screeching or other similar sounds from motor vehicle tires in contact with the ground or other roadway surface because of rapid acceleration, braking or excessive speed around corners or because of such other reason; provided, that sounds which result from actions which are necessary to avoid danger shall be exempt from this section;

(h) The creation of sounds originating from residential real property relating to temporary projects for the maintenance or repair of grounds and appurtenances, including but not limited to sounds from lawn mowers, powered hand tools, snow removal equipment and composters, between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. on weekdays and between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. on weekends;

(i) The creation of sounds originating from any construction activity, including excavation and land clearing work, or erection, demolition, alteration, repair, or relocation of any building or structure, which uses tools such as, but not limited to, powered equipment, compressors, motorized or powered hand tools, hammers or equipment of a similar nature at any location which produces noise clearly audible from another location in a residential district or at a dwelling in any district, between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. on weekdays and 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays or Federal holidays. Prohibitions on the above listed construction activities occurring between 8:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. on weekdays and 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. on weekends or Federal holidays may be waived or modified (expanded work hours) only upon application and subject to approval by the City Manager or his/her designee by a permit applicant, or the owner of the property, with an approved building permit for work involving public utilities within the public right-of-way, or an approved Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) surface mining reclamation permit limited to the unloading of fill on site.

The application fee established in the Covington fee schedule shall be paid for review and potential issuance of an expanded work hours permit. The designated City official responsible for reviewing and issuing the permit may approve, deny, or condition the permit based on the approval criteria. Approval may only be for specific dates and times and under terms that the approving official deems appropriate under the circumstances. The City may require additional measures to control noise, vibration and light/glare, including but not limited to equipping construction vehicles with ambient-sensitive back-up alarms or muffling engine noise if the site conditions or the site’s proximity to residential zoned properties, residential uses, or critical areas warrants them. The application shall contain such information as deemed necessary by the designated City official, including:

(i) Expanded Work Hours Procedures and Approval Criteria. The applicant shall outline in writing the duration and hours of the requested nighttime work, why it is necessary, a detailed description of the activities that will be undertaken in those expanded hours, and any mitigation methods proposed to minimize or eliminate noise impacts to nearby residential dwellings and critical areas. Any proposed expanded work hours application for fill activity associated with an approved DNR surface mining reclamation permit shall demonstrate they meet the provisions of CMC 14.60.160(4).

(ii) Approval. If the request is approved, the City’s approval shall include the specific construction activities, dates and hours of operation, and any appropriate noise mitigation measures that must be met to commence such activities during the approved dates and times. Upon approval by the City, the applicant shall notify all property owners within 300 feet of the property of the approved nighttime construction hours at least three days prior to commencement of the nighttime work by a notification method approved by the City. The City Manager or his/her designee may waive or modify the three-day notification requirement to affected property owners if the City Manager or his/her designee determines that a fire or life safety emergency exists that requires the work to be commenced prior to the end of the three-day notification period.

(j) The creation of sounds from gas-powered motorized foot scooters between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. or during any “hours of darkness” as that phrase is defined in RCW 46.04.200. For purposes of this section, the times of sunset and sunrise shall be those times designated in a newspaper of local circulation including the King County Journal, the Seattle Times or the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

(3) The prohibitions set forth in this section shall not apply to a civic event or gathering approved in advance by the City Manager or his/her designee; and provided, that the City shall approve the activities and hours of operation for which the noise level shall be exempt. (Ord. 04-19 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 07-12 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 21-04 § 1; Ord. 27-01 § 1; Ord. 96-98 § 1)

8.20.030 Violation – Penalty.

(1) Any person who violates the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to a civil fine not to exceed $250.00 for the first offense. For second and subsequent offenses, the person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or 90 days in jail, or both such fine and jail.

(2) Nothing contained in this chapter shall prevent the city from taking such other lawful action as is necessary to prevent or remedy any violation. (Ord. 04-19 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 05-13 § 1; Ord. 07-12 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 96-98 § 1)