Chapter 8.14


8.14.010    Purpose.

8.14.020    Scope.

8.14.030    Definitions.

8.14.040    State enabling legislation.

8.14.050    Maximum permissible noise levels.

8.14.060    Environmental designation for noise abatement.

8.14.070    Zoning classification for EDNA.

8.14.080    Deviations.

8.14.090    Exemptions.

8.14.100    Public nuisance noise or public disturbance noise not exempt.

8.14.110    Public nuisance noise prohibited.

8.14.120    Variances.

8.14.130    Violations – Unlawful.

8.14.010 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 permissible noise levels applicable within designated areas or zones of the city; 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. 2263 § 1 (part), 2008)

8.14.020 Scope.

Except as provided in chapter 9.32 SMC, Disorderly Conduct, and chapter 8.16 SMC, Nuisances, this chapter shall apply to the control of all sound originating from sources located within the limits of the city, including but not limited to commercial and industrial noise. All noise level disturbances not addressed in this chapter are subject to any applicable noise regulation as stated per the Washington Administrative Code. (Ord. 2263 § 1 (part), 2008)

8.14.030 Definitions.

A. “Background sound level” means the level of all sounds in a given environment, independent of the specific source being measured (WAC 173-60-020(1)).

B. “Blasting” means the construction activity regulated by certified city employees or other persons operating with an approved permit.

C. “Code enforcement officer” means the building official or other delegated person in accordance with SMC 15.06.030(B).

D. “Commercial vehicle” means any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway when the vehicle:

1. Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more, whichever is greater; or

2. Is used in transporting material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and transported in a quantity requiring placarding under regulations prescribed by the Secretary under 49 CFR, subtitle B, chapter I, subchapter C (WAC 480-70-196).

E. “Decibel (dBA)” means a unit for measuring the volume of sound. The sound pressure level in decibels is measured using the “A” weighting network on a sound level meter (WAC 173-60-020(2)).

F. “EDNA” means the environmental designation for noise abatement, being an area or zone within which maximum permissible noise levels are established by the Washington State Department of Ecology and this code.

G. “Emergency machinery and work” means machinery and work necessary to restore property to a safe condition following a public calamity, or machinery and work required to protect persons or property from an imminent exposure to danger.

H. “Generator, portable” means an electricity-generating device that is not permanently mounted and uses temporary wiring to supply electrical service.

I. “Generator, stationary” means an electricity-generating device with noise attenuation that is permanently mounted and uses permanent wiring to supply electrical service.

J. “Heavy machinery” means backhoes, concrete mixing and pumping trucks, compactors/rollers, cranes, dozers, dump trucks, excavators, forklifts, graders, jackhammers, loaders, pavement breakers, pile drivers, portable crushers, tractors, trailer-mounted wood chippers, trenchers, or other pieces of equipment that generate similar levels of noise.

K. “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 farm tractors and such vehicles powered by engines of less than five horsepower.

L. “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.

M. “Noise” means the intensity, duration and character of sounds, from any and all sources (WAC 173-60-020(9)).

N. “Noise-receiving property” means the real property within which the maximum permissible noise levels specified herein shall not be exceeded from sources outside such property (WAC 173-60-020(13)). Where a receiving property lies within more than one district, the maximum permissible sound level shall be determined by the district within which the measurement is made.

O. “Person” means any individual, corporation, partnership, association, governmental body, state agency or other entity whatsoever.

P. “Property boundary” means the surveyed line at ground surface which separates the real property owned, rented, or leased by one or more persons, from that owned, rented, or leased by one or more other persons, and its vertical extension (WAC 173-60-020(11)).

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

R. “Safety and protective devices” means all sounds made by emergency vehicles that are in emergency mode, all sounds made by vehicles, such as the use of back-up horns, used for the safety and protection of individuals during activity.

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

T. “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.

U. “Sound level meter” means the device which measures sound pressure levels and conforms to Type 1 or Type 2 as specified in the American National Standards Institute Specification S1.4-1971 (WAC 173-60-020(14)).

V. “Warning device” means any device intended to provide public warning of potentially hazardous, emergency or illegal activities, including but not limited to a burglar alarm. (Ord. 2263 § 1 (part), 2008)

8.14.040 State enabling legislation.

This chapter is in conformance with chapter 70.107 RCW, Noise Control, and chapter 173-58 WAC, Sound Level Measurement Procedures. (Ord. 2263 § 1 (part), 2008)

8.14.050 Maximum permissible noise levels.

No person shall cause or permit noise to intrude into the property of another person, which noise exceeds the maximum permissible noise levels set forth below in this section, WAC 173-60-040(1) with the point of measurement being at any point within the receiving property.

The noise limitations established are as set forth in the following table after any applicable adjustments provided for in this chapter are applied:

WAC 173-60-040(2)(a)

TABLE I – Maximum Permissible Environmental Noise Levels

EDNA of noise source

EDNA of receiving property

Class A

Class B

Class C

Class A

55 dBA

57 dBA

60 dBA

Class B

57 dBA

60 dBA

65 dBA

Class C

60 dBA

65 dBA

70 dBA

(Ord. 2263 § 1 (part), 2008)

8.14.060 Environmental designation for noise abatement.

A. Environmental designations for noise abatement (EDNA) are declared. They are based primarily on the zoning code, but also take into consideration the past, present, and future usage, as well as the usage of adjacent and other lands in the vicinity. Designation of such EDNA is based on the following typical uses:

1. Class A EDNA are lands where human beings reside and sleep. Typically, class A EDNA will be the following types of property used for human habitation:

a. Residential, including residential dwellings within mixed-use facilities;

b. Multifamily living accommodations;

c. Recreation and entertainment (e.g., camps, parks, camping facilities, and resorts);

d. Community service (e.g., orphanages, homes for the aged, hospitals, health and correctional facilities).

2. Class B EDNA are lands involving uses requiring protection against noise interference with speech. Typically, class B EDNA will be the following types of property:

a. Commercial living accommodations, such as hotels;

b. Commercial dining establishments;

c. Motor vehicle services;

d. Retail services;

e. Banks and office buildings;

f. Miscellaneous commercial services, property not used for human habitation;

g. Recreation and entertainment, property not used for human habitation (e.g., theaters, stadiums, fairgrounds and amusement parks);

h. Community services (e.g., education, religious, governmental, cultural and recreational facilities).

3. Class C EDNA are lands involving economic activities of such a nature that higher noise levels than experienced in other areas is normally to be anticipated. Typically class C EDNA will be the following types of property:

a. Storage, warehouse, and distribution facilities;

b. Industrial property used for the production and fabrication of durable and nondurable manmade goods;

c. Agricultural and silvicultural property used for the production of crops, wood products or livestock.

B. Exterior Mechanical Devices. It is unlawful for any person to cause, or for any person in possession of property to allow to originate from said property noise associated with exterior mechanical devices that exceed the maximum permissible noise levels set forth in Table 1. Noise measurement shall be measured in dBA with a sound level meter with the point of measurement being at any point within the receiving property.

C. Enforcement. Noise measurement for the purposes of enforcing the provisions of WAC 173-60-040 shall be measured in dBA with a sound level meter with the point of measurement being at any point within the receiving property boundary line. Such enforcement shall be undertaken only upon receipt of a complaint made by a person who resides, owns property, or is employed in the area affected by the noise complained of, except for parks, recreational areas, libraries, trails, and wildlife sanctuaries. For enforcement purposes pursuant to which violation of the noise control regulations (chapter 173-60 WAC) occurs, each day of violation occurs shall constitute a separate violation. (Ord. 2263 § 1 (part), 2008)

8.14.070 Zoning classification for EDNA.

A. The following land use zoning classifications as found in the zoning code are assigned the EDNA classification below:



LDR-4; LDR-6; LDR-7.2; LDR 8.5; LDR-12; MDR; HDR; RP; MUD

Class A


Class B

M-1; M-2; AG

Class C

The EDNA Class A, B, or C assigned to each zoning district shall be used to determine receiving property maximum permissible noise levels.

B. Those properties located within environmental buffers as allowed per the city of Sumner shoreline master program as currently adopted shall not emit sounds that exceed a Class A noise level.

C. Planned mixed use developments, as allowed per chapter 18.26 SMC, shall not emit sounds that exceed a Class B noise level.

D. Home occupations as allowed in SMC Title 18, Zoning, shall not emit sounds that exceed a Class A noise level. (Ord. 2263 § 1 (part), 2008)

8.14.080 Deviations.

The following deviations from the maximum permissible noise levels are permitted:

A. Between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., the noise limitations of Table I shall be reduced by 10 dBA for receiving property within class A EDNA (WAC 173-60-040(b)).

B. At any hour of the day the applicable noise limitations in Table I and in subsection (A) of this section may be exceeded for any receiving property by no more than:

1. Five dBA for a total of 15 minutes in any 24-hour period;

2. Ten dBA for a total of five minutes in any 24-hour period;

3. Fifteen dBA for a total of one and one-half minutes in any 24-hour period (WAC 173-60-040(c)).

C. Construction activity subject to SMC 15.34.010 shall be allowed to operate at the noise level necessary to complete construction during construction hours. (Ord. 2563 § 1, 2016: Ord. 2263 § 1 (part), 2008)

8.14.090 Exemptions.

A. The following shall be exempt from the provisions of SMC 8.14.050 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.:

1. Sound originating from residential property relating to temporary projects for the maintenance or repair of homes, grounds and appurtenances, such as lawn mowers and leaf blowers, but not including construction activity subject to SMC 15.34.010 or any use of heavy machinery as defined in the zoning definitions;

2. Sounds created by the discharge of firearms on authorized shooting ranges;

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

4. Sounds created by blasting.

B. The following shall be exempt from all provisions of SMC 8.14.050 at all hours:

1. Sound created by the normal operation of motor vehicles upon a public right-of-way. This does not include excessive noise made from lack of an adequate muffler device as stated in SMC 10.59.050 or sounds from motor vehicle sound system per SMC 9.36.010;

2. Sound originating from aircraft in flight and sounds that originate at airports which are directly related to flight operations;

3. Sounds created by safety and protective devices for trucks and other motor vehicles, where noise suppression would defeat the intent of the device, as per the minimum necessary to satisfy Washington State and/or federal law;

4. Sounds originating from officially sanctioned parades and other public events, and/or rehearsal of these events;

5. Sounds caused by natural phenomena or wildlife. Unamplified human voices shall not be exempt if they constitute a public nuisance as per SMC 8.16.030(32);

6. Sounds created by domestic animals unless such sounds constitute a public nuisance as per SMC 8.16.030(11);

7. Noise from electrical substations and existing, stationary equipment used in the conveyance of water by a utility;

8. Noise caused in the performance of emergency work for the immediate safety, health, or welfare of the community or individuals of the community to restore property to a safe condition following a public calamity shall not be subject to the provisions of this chapter. Sounds created by emergency equipment, such as generators, and work necessary in the interests of law enforcement or for health, safety, or welfare of the community;

9. Noise created by sirens and other warning devices either on emergency vehicles operated by agencies such as fire departments, police departments, and/or ambulance services, or stationary devices for warning the general public of threats such as those from natural occurrences such as lahars, and similar warning devices necessary in the interests of law enforcement or for the health, safety, or welfare of the community. (Ord. 2263 § 1 (part), 2008)

8.14.100 Public nuisance noise or public disturbance noise not exempt.

No sound source specifically exempted from a maximum permissible sound level or permitted under this chapter shall be a public nuisance noise, insofar as the particular source is exempted. (Ord. 2263 § 1 (part), 2008)

8.14.110 Public nuisance noise prohibited.

A. The code enforcement officer, or an officer of the Sumner police department, may determine that a sound constitutes a public nuisance noise as defined in this chapter. It is unlawful for any person to cause, or for any person in possession of property to allow to originate from the property, any sound which has been determined a public nuisance noise in accordance with chapter 8.16 SMC.

B. In addition to the public nuisances listed elsewhere in the Sumner Municipal Code, the following shall also be considered prohibited public nuisances:

1. The creation of frequent, repetitive or continuous noise in connection with the starting, operation, repair, rebuilding, or testing of any motor vehicle, motorcycle, off-highway vehicle, or internal combustion engine within class A EDNA, so as to unreasonably disturb or interfere with the peace, comfort and repose of owners or possessors of real property;

2. The creation of any sound by use of a musical instrument, whistle, sound amplifier, stereo, jukebox, radio, television, or other device capable of reproducing loud and raucous noises which emanate frequently, repetitively or continuously from any building, structure or property, such as sound originating from a band session, tavern operation, or social gathering so as to unreasonably disturb or interfere with the peace, comfort and repose of owners or possessors of real property. The content of the sound will not be considered in determining a violation. The following acts are considered to be noise disturbances, if the noise is clearly audible across a real property boundary, or at least 75 feet from the source:

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

b. Sound from motor vehicle sound systems, such as tape players, radios, and compact disc players, operated at a volume so as to be audible greater than 50 feet from the vehicle itself;

c. Creating loud and raucous, and frequent, repetitive, or continuous sounds with the human voice;

d. Intentional sounding or permitting the sounding outdoors of any emergency warning device where an actual emergency does not exist; provided, that sounds created during maintenance or testing of such emergency warning devices does not constitute a noise disturbance;

3. The operation of any commercial motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,001 pounds or more, or operation of any auxiliary equipment attached to such a vehicle, for a period longer than 10 minutes while the vehicle is stationary, for reasons other than traffic congestion, within 150 feet of a residential use.

C. The foregoing enumeration of acts shall not be construed as excluding other acts which may constitute noise disturbances.

D. Sounds which do not exceed the maximum environmental noise levels set forth in this chapter may constitute noise disturbances. (Ord. 2563 § 2, 2016: Ord. 2263 § 1 (part), 2008)

8.14.120 Variances.

Variances will be granted in accordance with all procedures set forth in chapter 18.56 SMC. A noise variance shall be a Type IVB permit. (Ord. 2263 § 1 (part), 2008)

8.14.130 Violations – Unlawful.

A. 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 SMC 8.14.110 is a civil noise infraction as provided for in chapter 7.80 RCW. If a person violates the provisions of SMC 8.14.110, a citation may be issued assessing a monetary penalty in the amount of $250.00.

C. Civil Violations. A violation of the provisions of SMC 8.14.050 is a civil violation as provided for in chapter 15.06 SMC. A person responsible for the violation of the provisions thereof may be assessed a monetary penalty and required to perform abatement as provided for in chapter 15.06 SMC.

D. 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, except for those violations listed in SMC 8.14.110. (Ord. 2263 § 1 (part), 2008)