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"Good Neighbors Keep Their Noise to Themselves"

York, ME Noise Ordinance
(NPC posted this April 2004)



An Ordinance providing for the reduction and elimination of noise by establishing maximum noise levels upon and between premises, prohibiting certain noise activities, and providing for inspection, offenses and penalties in the Town of York, Maine.

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE: "The Town of York Noise Control Ordinance".

SECTION 2. PURPOSE: It is recognized that the Town of York has a compelling interest in ensuring for its residents an environment free from excessive noise that may jeopardize their health or welfare or degrade the quality of life. This ordinance is enacted to protect, preserve and promote the health, safety, welfare and quality of life for the citizens of York through the reduction, control and prevention of loud and unreasonable noise. The Town has conducted studies of decibel levels found in York: and this ordinance is referenced to the scientific facts resulting from these studies: Ad Hoc Noise Control Ordinance Committee findings, with Planning Board review, Septenber 10, 1984 and (report from a recognized Scientific Noise Measurement agency).


3.1 It shall be unlawful for any person to emit or cause to be emitted any noise beyond the boundaries of his/her premises in excess of the noise levels established in these regulations.
Sound from any source controlled by this ordinance shall not exceed the following limits at the lot line of the "receiving" property:

(Decibel levels (dB) measured in the A scale).

Zoning Districts Sunday through Thursday Friday and Saturday
day night day night
Route 1 Ind./Comm.
H-1, H-2, H-3
7 am - 11 pm*
11 pm - 7 am
7 am - 11 pm*
11 pm - 7 am
Village B and Harbor B-2
8 am - 10 pm
10 pm - 8 am
8 am - 11 pm
11 pm - 8 am
Beach Mixed Use
R1, R1A, R1B, RES 5
8 am - 10 pm
10 pm - 8 am
8 am - 11 pm
11 pm - 8 am
Resort Commercial**
8 am - 11 pm
11 pm - 8 am
8 am - 11 pm
11 pm - 8 am
Residential & General
Vill: A, B-1, B-2, B-3, C-1, C-2, D-1, D-2
Harbor: A, B-1
8 am - 9 pm
9 pm - 8 am
8 am - 11 pm
11 pm - 8 am

* The time 7 am to 11 pm corresponds to the two daytime shifts of the 3-shift industrial workday: 7 am - 3 pm, 3 pm 11 pm, 11 pm - 7 am.
** For the purpose of this ordinance, the amusement park portion of York's Wild Kingdom shall be regarded as occupying the Resort Commercial Zone: this does not supersede existing Town zoning or any other new zoning districts that may be formed from time to time.

a. Because the Decibel A Scale (dB(A)Scale) responds most closely to the range of sounds audible to the human ear, the dB(A) Scale shall be used for all sound pressure measurements; and a violation of the standards of Section 3.2 shall be deemed to constitute a violation of this Ordinance.
b. Where the emitting and receiving premises are in different zones, the limits governing the stricter zone shall apply to any regulated noise entering that zone.
3.3 Resort Commercial Buffer Zone
a. Because the intensity of inimpeded sound naturally decreases proportionally to the inverse square of the distance away from its source, it is deemed reasonable to allow for a buffer strip between the naturally more noisy Resort Commercial (RC) Zone and the naturally less noisy mixed residential zones which surround the RC Zone. The purpose of said buffer zone is to provide sufficient space within which to construct sound barriers, including but not limited to, walls or earth berms to effect a reduction where needed, of sounds emanating from the Resort Commercial and traveling into said surrounding mixed residential zones.
b. The Buffer Zone shall extend 10 feet within the Resort Commercial Zone and 10 feet into the abutting zones. The decibel level at the Buffer Zone boundary within the Resort Commercial Zone shall be 74 dB(A) or less from 8 A.M. to 11 P.M.: 57 dB(A) or less from 11 P.M. to 8 A.M. Within the Buffer Zone at the boundary of the Resort Commercial Zone, the noise limit shall be 69 dB(A) or less from 8 A.M. to 11 P.M.: 54 dB(A) from 11 P.M. to 8 A.M. At the outer edge of the Buffer Zone within the abutting zone, the noise level shall be less than 65 dB(A) from 8 A.M. to 11 P.M.: 50 dB(A) from 11 P.M. to 8 A.M.
3.4 Temporary Exceedance of Sound Pressure Limits
The levels specified in Section 3.2 may be exceeded by 10 dB(A) for a single period, no longer than 15 minutes, in any consecutive 24 hour period.
These levels shall not apply to noise emitted by or related to:
a. Natural phenomena.
b. Church bells rung as part of any official church ceremony or service, and tower clock bells ringing the hour during daytime hours.
c. Any siren, whistle or bell lawfully used by emergency vehicles or any other alarm systems used in any emergency situation, provided, however, that burglar alarms not terminated within thirty (30) minutes after being activated shall be unlawful.
d. Warning devices required by OSHA or other State or Federal regulations.
e. Lawful emergency maintenance or construction such as, but not limited to, repair of a broken water main or replacement of overhead power lines.
f. Noise created by any recreational activities which are permitted by law and for which any temporary license or permit required by the Town has been granted, including, but not limited to, parades, special sporting events, occasional public concerts and fire works displays.


4.1 The following acts are declared to be loud, disturbing and unnecessary noises in violation of this ordinance:
a. Owning, possessing or harboring any animal or bird which frequently or for continued duration, makes loud and unreasonable sounds which create a noise disturbance across a real property boundary. For the purpose of this ordinance, a barking dog shall mean a dog that barks, bays, cries, howls or makes any other noise continuously and/or incessantly for a period of ten minutes or barks intermittently for one-half hour or more to the disturbance of any person at any time of day or night, regardless of whether the dog is physically situated in or upon private property; provided, however, that a dog shall not be deemed a "barking dog" for the purposee of this Article, if, at the time the dog is barking or making any other noise, a person is trespassing or threatening to trespass upon private property in or upon which the dog is situated or for any other legitimate cause which teased or provoked the dog.
b. Using, operating or permitting to be played in a loud and unreasonable manner any radio receiving set, musical instrument, phonograph, loud speaker, sound amplifier, or other machine or device for the producing or reproducing of sound which is cast upon the public streets for the purpose of commercial advertising or attracting the attention of the public to any premise or structure without proper licensing.
c. The loud and unreasonable shouting and crying of peddlers, hawkers and vendors which disturbs the peace and quiet of the neighborhood.


Administration of this Ordinance concerning noise originating from any waterway in the Town of York under the jurisdiction of the York Harbor Master shall likewise be under the jurisdiction of the York Harbor Master. In the lawful pursuit of his authority under this Ordinance, the Harbor Master may call upon any Town of York Noise Control Officer or trained State personnel for assistance.
5.1 All watercraft on the waters of the Town of York under the jurisdiction of the York Harbor Master shall use an engine muffler in compliance with the Maine Boat Law, Article 15, as it may be amended from time to time.
5.2 Watercraft on waters under the jurisdiction of the York Harbor Master shall be pro hibited from creating excessive noise as a result of being operated at greater than reasonable and prudent speed, as defined in the Maine Boat Law, Article 11, as amended from time to time. Excessive boat noise shall be 65 dB level, A Scale, or greater, measured frequently over a 5 minute period on the boundary of private property abutting the shoreline.


For the purpose of determining noise levels as set forth in this Ordinance, the following guidelines shall be applicable.
6.1 All personnel conducting sound measurements shall be trained in the current techniques and principles of sound measuring equipment and instrumentation according to A.N.S.I. I or II Metering Techniques.
6.2 Instruments used to determine sound level measurements shall conform to Standards of A.N.S.I. Type I or Type II meters.


7.1 For the purpose of determining compliance with the provisions of this Ordinance, the Noise Control Officer is authorized to make inspections of all noise sources and to take measurements and make tests whenever necessary to determine the quantity and character of noise. He may enter any property with the consent of the owner or his agent. If consent is not granted, the Officer may seek an administrative warrant from District Court.


8.1 The Noise Control Officer is directed to enforce the provisions of this Ordinance, to issue a summons to any person who violates a law or ordinance which the official is empowered to enforce; and
8.2 When specifically authorized by the municipal officers, to represent the municipality in District Court in the prosecution of alleged violations of ordinances or laws which the official is empowered to enforce.
8.3 No person shall interfere with, oppose or resist an authorized person charged with the enforcement of this Ordinance while such person is engaged in the performance of his duty.
8.4 Violations of this Ordinance shall be prosecuted in the same manner as other civil violations, provided, however, that in the event of an initial violation of the provisions of this Ordinance, a written notice shall be given to the alleged violator which specifies the time by which the condition shall be corrected. No complaint or further action shall be taken in the event the cause of the violation has been removed, the condition abated or fully corrected within the same period specified in the written notice. The notice shall state that unless corrections are made within the allotted time, the violator is subject to prosecution pursuant to provisions of this ordinance.
8.5 In the event the alleged violator cannot be located in order to serve the notice of the intent to prosecute, the notice as required herein shall be deemed to be given upon mailing of notice by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to the alleged violator at his last known address or at the place where the violation occurred, in which event the specified time period for abating the violation or applying for a variance shall commence at the date of the day following the mailing of such notice. Subsequent violations of the same offense shall result in the immediate filing of a criminal complaint.


The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this Ordinance:
Ambient Noise. Ambient noise is the all-encompassing noise associated with a given environment, being a composite of sounds from many sources near and far.
Compliance Report. The source document prepared by the law enforcement officer after receiving a complaint from a complainant detailing an incident. The report, when duly signed by the officer, shall become a matter of record. The report shall remain on file until its use requires destruction or retirement. Each complaint shall be investigated by the responding officer and attested to as to the validity of said complaint.
Decibel. Decibel shall mean the practical unit of measurement for sound pressure level the number of decibels of a measured sound is equal to 20 times the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of the sound pressure of the measured sound to the sound pressure of a standard sound (20 micropascals) , abbreviated dB. The abbreviation dB(A) shall refer to readings taken on the A-weighted scale.
Emergency. Shall mean any occurrence or set of circumstances involving actual or imminent physical trauma or property damage which demands immediate action.
Emergency Vehicle. Shall mean any private, Town, State or Federal motor vehicle authorized to have sound warning devices such as sirens and bells which can lawfully be used when responding to an emergency.
Emergency Work. Shall mean work made necessary to restore property to a safe condition following an emergency, or work required to protect persons or property from exposure to inminent danger.
Motor Vehicle. Shall mean any vehicle which is propelled or drawn on land or water by a motor, such as, but not limited to, passenger cars, trucks, truck-trailers, semi-trailers, campers, go-carts, snowmobiles, amphibious craft on land, dune buggies, racing vehicles, motorcycles, trail bikes or mini-bikes and watercraft. Seaplanes, for the purpose of this Ordinance, shall not be defined as watercraft.
Muffler. Shall mean a device for abating sounds such as escaping gases from an internal combustion engine.
Municipal Officers. Duly elected officials of the Town, commonly known as Selectmen.
Noise Control Officers. Shall mean a municipal employee trained in the use of sound level meters. This Ordinance shall normally be enforced by a police officer, but also may be enforced by the Code Enforcement Officer during normal working hours, or the Harbor Master.
Person. Shall mean any individual, firm, partnership, association, syndicate, company, trust, corporation, municipality, agency or political or administrative subdivision of the State or other legal entity of any kind.
Premises. Shall mean any building, structure, land or portion thereof, including all appurtenances, and shall include yards, lots, courts, inner yards, and real properties without buildings or improvements, owned or controlled by a person.
Property Line. Shall mean that real or imaginary line along the ground surface and its vertical extension which (a) separates real property owned or controlled by any person from contiguous real property owned or controlled by another person, and (b) separates real property from the public right-of-way.
Sound Level Meter. Shall mean an instrument for the measurement of sound levels conforming to A.N.S.I. Type 1 and Type II Standards.
Summons. An order to comply or appear.
9.1 Words Not Specifically Defined in this Ordinance.
Any words or phrases in this Ordinance not covered under "definition" shall assume their common dictionary definition.


10.1 Any person or persons, firm or corporation who violates any of the provisions of this Ordinance, or who fails to conform to any of the provisions thereof, or who fails to obey any lawful order of any officer charged with the enforcement of the provisions of this Ordinance, or other persons who shall assist in the violation of this Ordinance. shall be guilty of a civil violation and upon conviction thereof shall be fined not less than One Hundred ($100.00) Dollars, but not more than Five Hundred ($500.00) Dollars. Each violation or failure to comply constitutes a separate offense. The municipality may be awarded reasonable attorneys' fees and costs incurred in enforcing this Ordinance.


Any provisions of the Zoning Ordinance of the Town of York which are more stringent than those set forth herein shall remain in force. It, for any reason, any word, clause, paragraph or section of this Ordinance shall be held to make the same unconstitutional, the ordinance shall not hereby be invalidated and the remainder of this ordinance shall continue in effect.


This ordinance shall become effective upon adoption by Town Meeting.


This ordinance may be amended by majority vote of any Town Meeting.

Adopted at STM 3/30/85

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