IV. Offenses Against Public Peace

Chapter 9.33
PUBLIC DISTURBANCE NOISE REGULATIONS

Sections:

9.33.010    Purpose.

9.33.015    Definitions.

9.33.020    Finding of special conditions.

9.33.030    Public disturbance noise.

9.33.035    Sound level measurement requirements.

9.33.040    Exemptions.

9.33.045    Content of sound.

9.33.050    Violation – Penalty.

9.33.060    Severability.

9.33.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to minimize the exposure of citizens to the harmful physiological and psychological 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 establishing maximum environmental noise levels applicable within designated areas or zones of the city, and to adopt appropriate exemptions to the provisions of this chapter to allow for the functioning of commercial business and the operation of construction and emergency equipment, and to declare certain noise-producing activities to be noise disturbances. [Ord. 1386 § 1, 2011.]

9.33.015 Definitions.

All terminology used in this chapter which is not defined below shall be interpreted in conformance with the most recent definitions used by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or its successor body, where applicable.

A. “dBA” means the sound pressure level in decibels measured using the “A” weighting network on a sound level meter. The sound pressure level, in decibels, of a sound is 20 times the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of pressure of the sound to a reference pressure of 20 micropascals.

B. “Noise disturbance” means any sound which annoys, disturbs, or perturbs reasonable persons with normal sensitivities, or any sound which unreasonably injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, hearing, peace, or safety of persons or animals.

C. “Person responsible for the violation” means any person who is required by the applicable regulation to comply therewith, or who commits any act or omission which is a violation or causes or permits a violation to occur or remain upon property in the city, and includes but is not limited to owner(s), lessor(s), tenant(s), or other person(s) entitled to control, use and/or occupy property where a violation occurs.

D. “Sound amplification equipment” means any machine or device for the amplification of the human voice, music or any other noise or sound.

E. “Sound level” means a weighted sound pressure level measured by the use of a sound level meter using an A-weighted network and reported as decibels, dBA.

F. “Sound level meter” means a device which measures sound pressure levels and conforms to Type I, S1A, Type II or S2A, as specified in the American National Standards Institute Specification Section 1.4 (1971) as now exists or as hereafter amended or modified.

G. “Weekday” means any day Monday through Friday which is not a legal holiday.

H. “Weekend” means Saturday, Sunday and any legal holiday. [Ord. 1386 § 1, 2011.]

9.33.020 Finding of special conditions.

The Leavenworth city council is aware of citizen complaints regarding specialized noise occurrences, such as the play of amplified music, the reproduction of amplified speech, the operation of motorized vehicles, and the running of either gas or diesel powered generators all at such volume and duration as unreasonably disturb and interfere with the peace, comfort and repose of others. Such noises constitute a public disturbance. These noise occurrences adversely affect the public health and welfare, the value of property and the quality of the environment and constitute special conditions within the city which make necessary any and all differences between this chapter and regulations adopted by the Washington State Department of Ecology. Any public disturbance noise prohibited by this chapter is hereby declared to be a public nuisance per se. [Ord. 1386 § 1, 2011.]

9.33.030 Public disturbance noise.

A. It is unlawful for any person to cause or permit any sound or noise to intrude into the property of another person which sound or noise exceeds the maximum permissible noise levels set forth below in this section. For purposes of this chapter the properties within the city of Leavenworth are as follows:

1. Residential zones – Class A.

2. Commercial zones – Class B.

3. Industrial zones – Class C.

B.1. The sound and noise limitations established herein are as set forth in the following table after any applicable adjustments provided herein are applied:

Property Sound or Noise Source

Maximum Decibel Reading

Class A

60 dBA

Class B

70 dBA

Class C

75 dBA

2. Between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the sound and noise limitations of the foregoing table shall be reduced by 10 dBA for Class A residential zones and Class B commercial zones.

3. At any hour of the day or night the applicable noise limitations in subsections (B)(1) and (2) of this section may be exceeded at the sound source by no more than:

a. Five dBA for a total of 15 minutes in any one-hour period; or

b. Ten dBA for a total of five minutes in any one-hour period; or

c. Fifteen dBA for a total of 1.5 minutes in any one-hour period.    

For purposes of this chapter, enforcement shall be undertaken by a person with city delegated authority with respect to violations. For enforcement purposes, each day, defined as the 24-hour period beginning at 12:01 a.m., in which violation of the public disturbance noise regulations in this chapter occurs, shall constitute a separate violation. [Ord. 1386 § 1, 2011.]

9.33.035 Sound level measurement requirements.

For purposes of this chapter, sound measurements shall be taken at a minimum distance of 25 feet from the sound source and shall be conducted in accordance with sound level measurement procedures provided by the State of Washington, Department of Ecology, Chapter 173-60 WAC. [Ord. 1386 § 1, 2011.]

9.33.040 Exemptions.

The following sounds are exempt from the provisions of this chapter:

A. Sounds created by fire alarms;

B. Sounds created by emergency equipment and emergency work necessary in the interests of law enforcement or of the health, safety or welfare of the community or individuals of the community, or to restore property to a safe condition following a public calamity;

C. Sounds created by yard maintenance equipment utilized for yard maintenance purposes between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.;

D. Sounds created by the installation or repair by a public entity of essential utility;

E. Sounds from the combined activities of starting, servicing, idling, revving or testing motorized vehicles unrelated to use of the vehicle for the purpose of ingress and egress as provided in subsection (F) of this section. This exemption from the provisions of this chapter only allows these activities for up to five minutes in any four-hour period between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. If there is more than one vehicle involved, the five-minute limitation applies to all of the vehicles combined;

F. The operation of motorized vehicles for the purpose of ingress and egress to the property, including idling a vehicle to warm the engine prior to departure from property. This is limited to what is customary for a reasonably prudent resident of the city of Leavenworth. However, for purposes of warm-up of a vehicle, idling is limited to 10 minutes for all vehicles except commercial diesel vehicles, which are limited to 20 minutes;

G. Sounds originating from officially sanctioned parades and other public events;

H. Sounds, including sounds created by sound amplification equipment, emanating from any event or activity for which a special use permit has been issued by the Leavenworth city council in which case the provisions of the special use permit shall control. The city council shall retain the authority to approve with conditions, or deny special use permits at its sole discretion;

I. Conditions and provisions for granting special use permit varying from the sound and noise limitations in LMC 9.33.030:

1. The special use permit is necessary; and

2. There exists a special circumstance relative to size, topography, location or surroundings of the subject property; and

3. The requesting property owner or agency has provided a plan for mitigation of noise which will be implemented on the approval of the special use permit; and

4. That the granting of the special use permit will not be materially detrimental to the comfort, health, or safety of the public; and

5. That the special use permit is limited to not more than 14 days in any 90-day period. [Ord. 1386 § 1, 2011.]

9.33.045 Content of sound.

The content of the sound will not be considered in determining a violation of this chapter. [Ord. 1386 § 1, 2011.]

9.33.050 Violation – Penalty.

A. Violations – Unlawful. The violation or failure to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter is declared to be unlawful.

B. Civil Noise Infraction. Any violation of the provisions of LMC 9.33.030 is a civil noise infraction subject to the civil remedies and civil penalties authorized in Chapter 21.13 LMC.

C. Criminal Violations. In addition to or as an alternative to any other penalty provided in this chapter or by law, any person who violates the provisions of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor. [Ord. 1386 § 1, 2011.]

9.33.060 Severability.

This chapter shall be liberally construed to carry out its broad purposes. If any provision of this chapter is held to be unconstitutional, preempted by federal or state law, or otherwise invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, the remaining provisions of this chapter shall not be invalidated. [Ord. 1386 § 1, 2011.]