Chapter 8.32

8.32.000    Chapter Contents


8.32.010    Definitions--Undesignated.

8.32.020    Definitions--Designated.

8.32.030    Exceeding maximum permissible levels unlawful.

8.32.040    Administration and enforcement.

8.32.050    Noise control officer--Duties.

8.32.060    Compliance by city departments.

8.32.070    Motor vehicle noise levels--On public rights-of-way or public places.

8.32.080    Motor vehicle noise levels--Vehicle operation.

8.32.090    Motor vehicle noise levels--Exemptions.

8.32.100    Motor vehicle noise levels--Implementation.

8.32.110    Liability of operator or owner of vehicle.

8.32.120    Penalty for violation.

8.32.010 Definitions –Undesignated

All acoustical-scientific terminology used in this chapter, not defined in Section 8.32.020, shall be in conformance with applicable publications of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

(Ord. 4000 §2.1, 1976).

8.32.020 Definitions –Designated

The following terms as used in this chapter are defined as follows:

A.    "dBA" means the sound pressure level in decibels measured using the "A" weighting network on a sound level meter as specified in the American National Standards Institute Specifications S 1.4-1971 for sound level meters. A decibel is a unit of sound, based on a logarithmic scale, of the relation of the magnitude of a particular sound pressure to a standard reference pressure of twenty micro pascals.

B.    "Emergency vehicle" means a motor vehicle used in response to a public calamity or to protect or aid persons or property in situations of danger or injury.

C.    "Gross combination weight rating (GCWR)" means the value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a combination vehicle.

D.    "Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)" means the value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a single vehicle.

E.    "Motorcycle" means any motor vehicle having a saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, except such vehicles powered by engines not to exceed five horsepower and farm tractors.

F.    "Motor vehicle" means any vehicle which is self-propelled, used primarily for transporting persons or property upon public highways and required to be licensed under RCW 46.16.010. (Airplanes, watercraft and vehicles used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks are not motor vehicles as that term is used in this chapter.)

G.    "Muffler" means a device consisting of a series of chambers or other mechanical designs for the purpose of receiving exhaust gas from an internal combustion engine and effective in reducing noise resulting therefrom.

H.    "New motor vehicle" means a motor vehicle manufactured after December 31, 1975, whose equitable or legal title has never been transferred to a person who, in good faith, purchases the new motor vehicle for purposes other than resale.

I.    "Noise" means the intensity, duration and character of sounds, from any and all sources.

J.    "Sound level" means a weighted sound pressure level measured by use of a sound level meter using an "A" weighted network and reported as dBA.

K.    "Sound level meter" means a device which measures sound pressure levels and conforms to type one or type two as specified in the American National Standards Institute Specification S 1.4-1971.

L.    "Watercraft" means any contrivance, excluding aircraft, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation or recreation on water.

(Ord. 4000 §2.2, 1976).

8.32.030 Exceeding maximum permissible levels unlawful

It is unlawful for any person to exceed the maximum permissible noise level specified in Sections 8.32.070 through 8.32.120 within the limits of the city.

(Ord. 4000 §5.1, 1976).

8.32.040 Administration and enforcement

The noise control program required by this chapter shall be administered and enforced by the noise control officer who, for purposes of this chapter, shall be the chief of police for the city.

(Ord. 4000 §3.1, 1976).

8.32.050 Noise control officer –Duties

The responsibilities and duties of the noise control officer and his trained designees shall include:

A.    The issuance of warnings and citations for violations of this chapter or in the proper case causing the arrest of persons committing a violation of this chapter;

B.    The stopping of any motor vehicle or motorcycle operated upon a public rights-of-way or public place which he reasonably suspects of violating any provision of Sections 8.32.070 through 8.32.120 occurring in the officer’s presence and the issuing of a citation of violation, or in the proper case, effecting the arrest of any such person;

C.    Studying the existing system of truck routes within the city; determining areas with sensitivity to sound and vibration which are impacted by trucks; recommending changes or modifications to the truck routes to minimize the sound and vibration impact on sensitive areas.

(Ord. 4000 §4.1, 1976).

8.32.060 Compliance by city departments

All city departments engaged in any activities which result or may result in the emission of noise shall comply with federal and state laws and regulations, as well as the provisions of this chapter, respecting the control of noise to the same extent that any person is subject to such laws and regulations.

(Ord. 4000 §3.2, 1976).

8.32.070 Motor vehicle noise levels –On public rights-of-way or public places

No person shall operate any motor vehicle or motorcycle upon any public rights-of-way or other public place or operate any combination of such vehicles under any conditions of grade or load in any manner so as to exceed the maximum permissible sound levels set forth in this section and Section 8.32.080 for the category of vehicle, as measured with a sound level meter at a distance of fifty feet from the center of the lane of travel within the speed limits specified, under procedures established by the State Commission on Equipment.

No person shall operate any motor vehicle upon any highway within the city limits with brakes which are activated by the compression of the engine (compression brakes, e.g., "jake brake") without the proper muffling as required by WAC 173-62-030(2).



Vehicle Category

35 MPH or Less

Over 35 MPH

Motor vehicles over 10,000 pounds GVWR or GCWR

86 dBA

90 dBA




All other motor vehicles



(Ord. 5364 §1, 1993; Ord. 4000 §6.1, 1976).

8.32.080 Motor vehicle noise levels –Vehicle operation

A.    Every motor vehicle operated upon the public highways shall at all times be equipped with a muffler in good working order and in constant operation.

B.    No person shall operate a motor vehicle in such a manner as to cause or allow to be emitted squealing, screeching, or other such noise from the tires in contact with the ground because of rapid acceleration or excessive speed around corners or other such reason, except that noise resulting from emergency braking to avoid imminent danger shall be exempt from this provision.

C.    No person shall sell or offer for sale a new motor vehicle except an off-highway vehicle, which produces a maximum noise exceeding the following noise levels at a distance of fifty feet under acceleration test procedures established by the State Commission on Equipment.



Vehicle Category


Motorcycles manufactured after 1975


Any motor vehicle with GVWR or GCWR of 10,000 pounds or more manufactured after 1975 and prior to 1978


Any motor vehicle with GVWR or GCWR of less than 10,000 pounds manufactured after 1975


(Ord. 4000 §6.2, 1976).

8.32.090 Motor vehicle noise levels –Exemptions

The provisions of Sections 8.32.070 through 8.32.120 shall not apply to noise caused by auxiliary equipment on or attached to motor vehicles used for street maintenance or utility services, to garbage collection vehicles while compressing garbage during the collection process, nor to noise caused by an emergency vehicle in the performance of emergency work for the immediate safety, health or welfare of the community or of individuals of the community, or to restore property to a safe condition following a public calamity.

(Ord. 4000 §6.3, 1976).

8.32.100 Motor vehicle noise levels –Implementation schedules

A.    The noise control officer may approve and issue an implementation schedule for meeting any particular requirement of Sections 8.32.070 and 8.32.080 if he/she finds that immediate compliance with such requirements cannot be achieved because of conditions beyond the control of such person or because of special circumstances rendering immediate compliance unreasonable in light of economic or physical factors or because of the nonavailability of feasible technology or control methods.

B.    Implementation schedules shall be issued only upon application in writing to the noise control officer. Such application shall state in a concise manner the facts to show cause why such schedules should be approved. Any aggrieved person may appeal the noise control officer’s decision on an application to the city council.

(Ord. 6886 §1, 2013; Ord. 4000 §6.4, 1976).

8.32.110 Liability of operator or owner of vehicle

Whenever an act or omission is declared to be unlawful under this chapter, if the operator of the vehicle is not the owner of such vehicle, but is so operating or moving the same with the express or implied permission of the owner, the operator and/or owner shall both be subject to the provisions of this chapter with primary responsibility to be that of the owner except when the violation was caused by the manner in which the vehicle was operated.

(Ord. 4000 §6.6, 1976).

8.32.120 Penalty for violation

Violation of any motor vehicle noise standard set forth in Sections 8.32.070 through 8.32.120 shall be a misdemeanor, subjecting the offender to a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars, or a jail term not to exceed ninety days, or both such fine and imprisonment, and shall be enforced by the noise control officer or his trained designees.

(Ord. 4000 §6.5, 1976).