Chapter 9.05


9.05.010    Purpose and authority.

9.05.020    Definitions.

9.05.030    Measurement of sound.

9.05.040    Maximum permissible environmental noise levels.

9.05.050    Motor vehicle noise performance standards.

9.05.060    Exemptions.

9.05.070    Public nuisance noise.

9.05.080    Variances.

9.05.090    Violation – Penalty.

9.05.010 Purpose and authority.

A. The purpose of this chapter is to minimize the exposure of the citizens of the city of Shoreline to the physiological and psychological dangers of excessive noise and to protect, promote, and preserve the public health, safety, and general welfare. It is the express intent of the city council to control the level of noise in a manner which promotes commerce; the use, value and enjoyment of property; sleep and repose; and the quality of the environment.

B. In determining a violation of this chapter, the content of the sound shall not be considered.

C. This chapter is established in conformance with Chapter 70.107 RCW, Noise Control; Chapter 173-58 WAC, Sound Level Measurement Procedures; Chapter 173-60 WAC, Maximum Environmental Noise Levels; and Chapter 173-62 WAC, Motor Vehicle Noise Performance Standards, as amended from time to time.

D. Nothing herein shall be construed to limit or prohibit different or more restrictive hours for any activity authorized under a permit issued under any other chapter of this code as provided for in that chapter. [Ord. 818 § 1 (Exh. A), 2018]

9.05.020 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings set forth in this section:

A. “Construction” means any site preparation, including blasting or pile driving, assembly, erection, demolition, substantial repair, alteration or similar action on private or public property, buildings, structures, or utilities.

B. “dBA” means the sound level measured in decibels, using the A-weighted network on a sound level meter.

C. “EDNA” means environmental designation for noise abatement, which is an area or zone within which maximum permissible noise levels are established. EDNA classifications include the following zones as set forth in the city Unified Development Code, SMC Title 20, at SMC 20.40.20:

1. Class A EDNA: Residential zones and mixed-use residential zones;

2. Class B EDNA: Nonresidential zones;

3. Class C EDNA: Industrial land use zones.

D. “Emergency work” means work necessary to restore property to a safe condition following a public calamity, work required to protect persons or property from imminent exposure to danger, or work by private or public utilities to provide or restore immediately necessary utility service.

E. “Holidays” means the “legal holidays” set forth in RCW 1.15.050, as it may be amended from time to time.

F. “Motor vehicle” means any vehicle that is self-propelled, used primarily for transporting persons or property upon public highways, and required to be licensed under RCW 46.16.010. Aircraft, watercraft, and vehicles used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks are not “motor vehicles” as the term is used herein.

G. “Noise” means the intensity, duration, and character of sounds from any and all sources.

H. “Permitting authority” means the director, or designee, of the city department that issues the permit, such as the department of community and economic development, department of public works, and the department of parks, recreation, and cultural resources.

I. “Person” means any individual, corporation, firm, partnership, association, or other entity, public or private.

J. “Property boundary” means the surveyed line at ground level which separates real property.

K. “Receiving property” means real property within which sound originating from outside the property is received.

L. “Sound level meter” means an electronic instrument that measures sound pressure levels so as to establish dBA.

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

N. “Weekend” means the days of Saturday, Sunday, and any legal holiday. [Ord. 818 § 1 (Exh. A), 2018]

9.05.030 Measurement of sound.

A. Sound Level Meter. The use of a sound level meter may not be required to verify all noise violations such as public disturbance noises which may be discrete and/or intermittent and, therefore, not measurable at the time of the occurrence. If the measurement of sound is made with a sound level meter, the instrument shall be in good operating condition and shall meet the requirement for a Type I or Type II instrument, as described in the most current American National Standards Institute Specifications.

B. Location of Measurement. Unless otherwise specified in this chapter, the point of measurement shall be at the property boundary of the receiving property or anywhere within it.

C. Multiple EDNAs. When the receiving property lies within more than one EDNA, the maximum permissible environmental noise levels shall be determined by the most sensitive EDNA. [Ord. 818 § 1 (Exh. A), 2018]

9.05.040 Maximum permissible environmental noise levels.

A. Maximum Noise Levels. No person shall cause or permit sound to intrude into the real property of another person that exceeds the maximum permissible environmental noise levels established by this section. For sound sources located within the city, the maximum permissible environmental noise levels shall be as follows:

Table 1. Maximum Permissible Environmental Noise Levels

EDNA of Noise Source

EDNA of Receiving Property

Class A (dBA)

Class B (dBA)

Class C (dBA)


7 a.m.–10 p.m. Weekdays

9 a.m.–10 p.m. Weekends

10 p.m.–7 a.m. Weekdays

10 p.m.–9 a.m.


Class A





Class B





Class C





B. Deviations. The following deviations from the maximum permissible environmental noise levels set forth in Table 1 of this section are permitted:

1. At any hour of the day or night, the applicable maximum permissible noise levels may be exceeded for any receiving property by no more than:

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

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

c. Fifteen dBA for 1.5 minutes in any one-hour period. [Ord. 818 § 1 (Exh. A), 2018]

9.05.050 Motor vehicle noise performance standards.

No person shall operate any motor vehicle or any combination of such vehicle upon the public highways in violation of the standards specified in WAC 173-62-030, as amended from time to time, which is hereby adopted by reference. [Ord. 818 § 1 (Exh. A), 2018]

9.05.060 Exemptions.

Nothing in these exemptions precludes the city from requiring the installation of best available noise abatement technology consistent with economic feasibility.

A. The following sounds are exempt from the provisions of this chapter at any time:

1. Sounds generated by construction or maintenance activities in the city’s right-of-way that have been conditioned by the city to minimize the impact on adjacent property owners.

2. Sounds generated in the performance of necessary construction for emergency work.

3. Sounds generated by railroad trains engaged in interstate commerce and regulated by the Federal Railroad Administration pursuant to 49 CFR Part 210 and 49 CFR Part 222, as amended.

4. Sounds generated by the normal operation of a light rail transit system consistent with the Federal Transit Administration guidance set forth in Transit Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment (May 2006), as amended.

5. Sounds generated during routine railroad or light rail transit way maintenance activities and does not involve the use of general construction equipment consistent with federal regulations or guidance as denoted in subsections (A)(3) and (4) of this section.

6. Sounds caused by auxiliary equipment on motor vehicles used for highway maintenance.

7. Sounds caused by motor 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.

8. Sounds created by emergency equipment and vehicles, such as police and fire, necessary in the interests of law enforcement or the health, safety or welfare of the community.

9. Sounds caused by fire alarms.

10. Sounds created by surface carriers engaged in interstate commerce by railroad.

11. Sounds originating from aircraft in flight.

12. Sounds created by the removal of refuse by the city’s authorized collection company consistent with contract terms as provided in Chapter 13.14 SMC, Solid Waste Code.

13. Sound from electrical substations and existing stationary equipment used in the conveyance of water, wastewater, and natural gas by a utility.

14. Sounds created by safety and protective devices where noise suppression would defeat the intent of the device or is not economically feasible.

B. The following sounds are exempt from the provisions of this chapter between the hours designated:

1. Sounds generated by city-approved or sanctioned events at parks, including but not limited to public address systems for sporting events or concerts, festivals, parades, or outdoor movies between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m., weekdays or weekends.

2. Sounds generated between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. weekdays, and 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. weekends, for the following:

a. Sounds originating from property relating to temporary projects for the maintenance or repair of homes, grounds and appurtenances, including but not limited to sounds from lawnmowers, power hand tools, snow removal equipment and composters.

b. Sounds created by construction and emanating from construction sites.

c. Sounds created by the installation or repair of essential utility services.

d. Sounds created by warning devices, including back-up beepers, bells, chimes, and carillons, not operating continuously for more than five minutes. [Ord. 818 § 1 (Exh. A), 2018]

9.05.070 Public nuisance noise.

It is unlawful for any person knowingly to cause or make, or from any person in possession of property knowingly to allow to originate from property, sound that is a public nuisance. Public nuisance noise is any sound which unreasonably annoys, injures, interferes with, or endangers the comfort, repose or health of a person or persons. The following sources of sound are defined to be public nuisance noises, except as otherwise provided in this chapter:

A. Frequent, repetitive or continuous sounding of any horn or siren attached to a motor vehicle or watercraft, except as a warning of danger or as specifically permitted or required by law.

B. Frequent, repetitive or continuous sounds made by any domesticated animal which unreasonably disturbs or interferes with the peace of residents, except that such sounds shall be exempt when originating from a lawfully operated animal shelter, commercial kennel, or veterinary offices between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. weekdays and 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. weekends.

C. 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 Class A EDNA so as to unreasonably disturb or interfere with the peace, comfort, and repose of owners or possessors of real property.

D. Yelling, shouting, whistling, and singing, which unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort and repose of property owners or possessors, particularly during the hours of 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. weekdays and 10:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. weekends, or at any time and place so as to unreasonably disturb or interfere with peace, comfort and repose of owners or possessors of real property.

E. Creation of frequent, repetitive or continuous sounds that emanate from any building, structure, apartment or condominium, such as sounds from musical instruments, audio sound systems, band sessions or social gatherings.

F. Sound from audio equipment or motor vehicle audio sound equipment, such as radios, compact disc players, and MP3 players, that are operated at a volume so as to be audible greater than 50 feet from the source, and if not operated upon the property of the operator.

G. Sounds from motor vehicle engines and/or exhaust systems in violation of performance standards provided in WAC 173-62-030.

H. The squealing, screeching or other such 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 that are necessary to avoid danger shall be exempt from this section.

I. Sounds made by the construction activities outside the hours of 7:00 a.m. through 10:00 p.m. weekdays and 9:00 a.m. through 10:00 p.m. weekends.

J. Sounds originating from residential property relating to temporary projects for the maintenance or repair of homes, grounds and appurtenances, including but not limited to sounds from lawnmowers, power hand tools, snow removal equipment and composters between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. weekdays and 10:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. weekends. [Ord. 818 § 1 (Exh. A), 2018]

9.05.080 Variances.

A. Variances may be granted to any person from the noise level requirements of this chapter, if findings are made by the city that compliance with such requirement cannot be achieved because of special circumstances rendering compliance unreasonable in light of economic or physical factors, encroachment upon an existing noise source, or because of nonavailability of feasible technology or control methods.

B. Any such variance, or renewal thereof, shall be granted only for the minimum time period found to be necessary under the facts and circumstances.

C. If the variance is related to a permitted activity, variances shall be approved by the permitting authority. If a variance is not related to a permitted activity, variances shall be approved by the city manager, or designee. The applicant for a variance shall supply information including, but not limited to:

1. The nature and location of the noise source for which the application is made;

2. The reason for which the variance is requested, including the hardship that will result to the applicant and/or the public if variance is not granted;

3. The nature and intensity of noise that will occur during the period of the variance; and

4. A description of interim noise control measures to be taken by the applicant to minimize noise impacts.

D. In authorizing a variance, the city may attach any conditions deemed necessary to carry out the purpose of this chapter, including maximum noise levels, duration, and public notice requirements.

E. The city’s decision on a variance application may be appealed to the hearing examiner as set forth in Chapter 20.30 SMC, Subchapter 4. [Ord. 818 § 1 (Exh. A), 2018]

9.05.090 Violation – Penalty.

A. Enforcement of violations of this chapter shall be subject to enforcement by the code enforcement officer or the Shoreline police department.

B. Any person found in violation of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed to have committed a civil infraction. The penalty for each violation shall be a fine of $100.00.

C. For enforcement purposes, each day in which a violation occurs or exists shall constitute a separate violation.

D. The code enforcement officer or a police officer may issue a civil infraction in accordance with SMC 20.30.770(A) and Chapter 7.80 RCW upon the person(s) responsible for the violation.

E. Any person who receives a civil infraction may contest the determination by filing an appeal in the King County District Court – West Division (Shoreline).

F. The penalties set forth in this chapter are not exclusive. The city reserves the right to seek any other remedies provided by law to prevent or remedy any violation. [Ord. 818 § 1 (Exh. A), 2018]