Noise Ordinance for the City of Mesa, Arizona
(as of 2001)

Chapter 12 - Offensive, Excessive, and Prohibited Noises



It is hereby declared to be the policy of the City to prohibit excessive or offensive noises from all sources subject to its police power. Above certain levels, excessively loud noises are detrimental to the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the City, and in the public interest such noises should be eliminated. (2034)



It shall be unlawful and a violation of this Chapter for any person to make, continue, or cause to be made or continued or to allow or permit any excessive or offensive noise as defined in Section 6-12-3 and enumerated in Section 6-12-5 or any prohibited noise enumerated in Section 6-12-6. (2034)



A-WEIGHTED SOUND LEVEL: The sound pressure level in decibels as measured on a sound level meter using the A-weighting network in accordance with the sound level measurement criteria set forth in Section 6-12-4. The level so read is designated as dB(A) or dBA. (2034)

ARTERIAL STREET: A street of a major significance to the community which is designed to carry a substantial volume of traffic. All section line roads, plus Main Street and Center, shall be designated as arterial streets. (2034)

DECIBEL (dB): A unit for measuring the volume of a sound equal to twenty (20) times the logarithm to the base ten (10) of the ratio of the pressure of the sound measured to the reference pressure, which is twenty (20) micropascals (20 micronewtons per square meter), denoted as dB. (2034)

EMERGENCY VEHICLE: Vehicles of the Fire, Police, and public service departments and legally authorized ambulances and emergency vehicles of State departments or any political subdivisions thereof and vehicles of public service corporations. (2034)

EMERGENCY WORK: Any work performed to prevent or alleviate physical trauma or property damage threatened or caused by an emergency which has or may result in a disruption of service and which is necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of persons or property. (2034)

EXCESSIVE NOISE: Any sound measured according to the criteria in Section 6-12-4 which exceeds the levels set out in Section 6-12-5. In the absence of specific maximum noise levels, a noise level is excessive if it exceeds the allowable noise level for the zoning district in which it is located by five (5) dBA or more. (2034)

GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR): The value specified by the manufacturer as the recommended maximum loaded weight of a single-motor vehicle. In cases where trailers and tractors are separable, the gross combination weight rating (GCWR), which is the value specified by the manufacturer as the recommended maximum loaded weight of the combination vehicle, shall be used. (2034)

Leq: The constant level that over a given period transmits to the receiver the same amount of acoustic energy as the actual time-elapsed sound. (2034)

LEGAL HOLIDAY: Those holidays so designated by the Mesa City Council in its Personnel Rules. (2034,2610)

LOCAL STREET: Any street not designated as an arterial street. (2034)

MOTOR VEHICLE: Every self-propelled device in, upon, or by which any person or property is, or may be, transported upon a public highway, excepting devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks and aircraft. (2034)

MUFFLER: A device for abating the sound of escaping gases from an internal combustion engine. (2034)

NOISE: The same meaning as "sound pressure level" as hereinafter defined. (2034)

OFFENSIVE NOISE: Any sound emitted across a property line or that projects more than fifty feet (50') from its source within any multi-residential, office, or commercial complex which is of sufficient volume and duration that it would cause discomfort or annoyance to a reasonable person of normal sensitivity. (2034)

SITE-SPECIFIC SOURCE OF NOISE: A source of sound which is found on a specific site or tract of land and which is confined to that site even though the specific source of the sound generation may be mobile on the site or tract. (2034)

SOUND: Temporal and spatial oscillation in pressure, particle displacement, particle velocity, or other physical parameter in a medium with internal forces that causes progressively alternative compression and rarefraction of that medium and which propagates at finite speed to distant points and can evoke an auditory sensation. (2034)

SOUND LEVEL METER: An instrument which includes a microphone, amplifier, RMS detector, integrator or time averager, output meter, and weighting networks used to measure sound pressure levels. (2034)

SOUND PRESSURE: The instantaneous difference between the actual pressure and the average or barometric pressure at a given point in space as produced by sound energy. (2034)

SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL: Twenty (20) times the logarithm to the base ten (10) of the ratio of RMS sound pressure to the reference pressure of twenty (20) micropascals (20 x 10-N/m). The sound pressure level is denoted Lp or SPL and is expressed in decibels (db). (2034)



For the purpose of enforcement of the provisions of this Chapter, noise levels shall be measured on the A-weighted scale with a sound level meter satisfying at least the applicable requirement for Type 2 sound level meters as defined in American National Standard S1.4-1971 or the most recent revisions thereof. Prior to measurement, the meter shall be set for slow response speed, except that for rapidly varying sound levels, fast response speed may be used. Prior to measurement, the meter shall be verified and calibrated according to the manufacturer’s specifications. (2034)



The following enumerated acts or conditions may produce offensive or excessive noise which violates the provisions of this Chapter. Enumeration, or the lack thereof, shall not, however, preclude other sources of noise which are offensive and/or excessive from also being in violation of the provisions of this Chapter. (2034)

(A) Land Use Noise.

1. Classification of Use Districts (Residential, Commercial, Industrial). Land use zoning district classifications shall be as set out in Title 11 of the Mesa City Code and shall for purposes of this Chapter be distinguishable as Residential, Commercial, and Agricultural/Industrial land use classifications, within which sound levels of Table 1 below shall be locally measurable and applied by the use of Leq levels as defined by Section 6-12-3 and measured in accordance with the methods set forth in Section 6-12-4 for purposes of evaluating an alleged violation of this Chapter. (2034)

2. Violations. It shall be unlawful and a violation of this Chapter for any person to operate or to permit to be operated any site-specific source of sound which, when measured at any point on the property line where the noise emission is generated or at any point on the property line of the property affected by the noise emission or any point within the property affected by the noise emission: (2034)

(a) Creates a sound level in excess of its ambient sound pressure level (Leq) limit, indicated on Table 1 below: (2034)


Zoning District Classifications Leq Limits, dBA
(Residential) R1-90, R1-43, R1-35, R1-15,

R1-9, R1-7, R1-6, R-2, R-3, R-4

60 dBA
(Commercial or Business) O-S, C-1, C-2, C-3 65 dBA
(Agricultural/Industrial)AG, M-1, M-2*, PF 70 dBA
*Uses required to be approved by Special Permit in accordance with Section 11-7-4 of the Mesa Zoning Code shall be classified as Residential, Commercial, or Agricultural/Industrial for purposes of this Chapter by the City Council at the time of such approval. (2034)

The Leq limits specified in Table 1 are Leq for a twenty-four- (24-) hour time interval. Partial Leq levels may be obtained as necessary to assure an accurate indication of the representative sound environment for the site. (2034)

(b) Sound projected from property within one (1) use district into property within another use district of a lesser sound level limit shall not exceed such lesser sound level limit. (2034)

(B) Vehicle Noise.

1. Vehicle Noise Limits. No person shall operate either a motor vehicle or combination of vehicles at any time upon any paved surface or under any condition of grade, load, acceleration, or deceleration in such a manner as to exceed the following noise limit for the category of motor vehicle, based on a distance of fifty feet (50') or fifteen (15) meters from the center of the paved surface: (2034,3770)



(Measured at 50 Feet or 15 Meters)

Vehicle Class Operated on a Local Street Operated on a Paved Surface or  Arterial Street
Motor vehicles with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or gross combination weight  rating (GCWR) of 10,000 pounds or more or any combination of vehicles towed by such motor vehicle. 86 dBA 90 dBA
Any other motor vehicle or any combination of vehicles towed by any such motor vehicle. 76 dBA 82 dBA
Motorcycles operated upon the public streets, roads, or highways. 82 dBA 86 dBA

2. Vehicle Repairs. It shall be unlawful for any person within any residential area of the City to repair, rebuild, or test any motor vehicle between the hours of ten (10:00) P.M. of one day and seven (7:00) A.M. of the next day in such a manner as to create an excessive or offensive noise. (2034)

3. Mufflers. No person shall operate or cause to operate any motor vehicle unless the exhaust system of such vehicle is: (2034)

(a) Free from defects which may affect sound level magnification; (2034)

(b) Equipped with a muffler; and (2034)

(c) Not modified in a manner which will amplify or increase the sound level emitted by the motor of such vehicle above that emitted by a muffler of the type originally installed on the vehicle as manufactured for initial sale. (2034)

(C) Construction Noise. (2034)

1. It shall be unlawful for any person within a residential zone or within a radius of five hundred feet (500') therefrom to operate construction, demolition, or excavation equipment; perform any outside construction or repair work on buildings, structures, or projects; or operate any pile driver, power shovel, pneumatic hammer, derrick, power hoist, or any other construction-type device in order to erect (including excavating), demolish, alter, or repair any building, street, or highway other than between the hours of four (4:00) A.M. and six (6:00) P.M. on weekdays, except none shall be operated on Sunday or legal holidays, during the months of May, June, July, August, or September and between the hours of six (6:00) A.M. and six (6:00) P.M. on weekdays, but not Sunday and legal holidays, during the remainder of the months of the year, except for cases of urgent necessity or emergency work which are in the interest of public health and safety, and then only with a permit from the Superintendent of Building Inspections. The permit may be granted for a period not to exceed three (3) days or less while the emergency exists and may be renewed for periods of three (3) days or less while the emergency continues. (2034)

2. If the Superintendent of Building Inspections should determine that the public health and safety will not be impaired by the erection, demolition, alteration, or repair (including excavation) of any building or the excavation of streets and highways within the hours of six (6:00) P.M. and four (4:00) A.M. during the months of May, June, July, August, and September and within the hours of six (6:00) P.M. and six (6:00) A.M. during the rest of the months of the year, and if the Superintendent of Building Inspections shall further determine that loss or inconvenience would result to any party in interest, the Superintendent of Building Inspections may grant permission for such work to be done within the above hours upon application being made at the time the permit for the work is awarded or during the progress of the work. (2034)

(D) Other Noise Sources. (2034)

1. Schools, Hospitals, and Churches. It shall be unlawful for any person to create an offensive or excessive noise on any street, sidewalk, or public place adjacent to any school, institution of learning, or church while the same is in use or adjacent to any hospital which interferes with the workings of such institution provided that conspicuous signs are displayed on such street, sidewalk, or public place indicating the presence of a school, church, or hospital. (2034)

2. Animals and Fowl. No person shall keep or maintain or permit the keeping of upon any premises owned, occupied, or controlled by such person any dog, fowl, cow, or other animal otherwise permitted to be kept which creates an offensive or excessive noise. (2034)

3. Machinery, Equipment, and Fans. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate any stationary engine or machinery, equipment, pump, blower, fan, or similar mechanical device in any manner as to exceed the noise levels established in Section 6-12-5(A). (2034)

4. Loading of Vehicles and/or Opening or Destruction of Containers. It shall be unlawful for any person to load or unload any vehicle or to open or destroy bales, boxes, crates, or other containers in such a manner as to create an excessive or offensive noise. (2034)



The following activities shall be prohibited within the corporate limits of the City: (2034)

(A) Radios, Phonographs, Televisions, Musical Instruments, and Other Similar Devices. The operation of a radio, phonograph, television, musical instrument, or other similar device between the hours of ten (10:00) P.M. of one day and seven (7:00) A.M. of the following day in such a manner so as to create an offensive or excessive noise plainly audible at a distance of fifty feet (50') from the building, structure, or property in or on which it is located. (2034,3770)

(B) Hawkers, Peddlers, and Amplification for Advertising. The use of outcry, musical instruments, recordings, amplification, or similar devices to produce or reproduce sound for the purpose of advertising or attracting the attention of the public to any building, vehicle, or person. The provisions of this Subsection shall not be construed to prohibit the selling by outcry of merchandise, food, and beverages at authorized sporting events, parades, fairs, circuses, and other similar events or to affect any person who is a participant in a school band or duly authorized parade or who has been otherwise duly authorized to engage in such conduct. (2034)

(C) Squealing of Tires. The operation of any motor vehicle in a manner which creates squealing of tires on a paved surface. Violations of this subparagraph (C) are civil traffic violations, not criminal misdemeanors. (2034,3770)

(D) Sound Amplification Systems in Vehicles; Limitations on Use. (3770)

1. For the purposes of this Section, "sound amplification system" means any device, instrument, or system, whether electrical or mechanical or otherwise, for amplifying sound or for producing or reproducing sound, including but not limited to any radio, stereo, musical instrument, phonograph, or sound or musical recorder or player. (3770)

2. Except as authorized by law, no person shall operate or permit the operation of any sound amplification system in or on a vehicle which: (3770)

(a) Can be heard outside the vehicle from fifty (50) or more feet; or (3770)

(b) Disturbs the quiet, comfort, or repose of any person in the vicinity. (3770)

3. Subsection (2) of this Section shall not apply to: (3770)

(a) An authorized emergency vehicle; (3770)

(b) A vehicle operated by a gas, electric, communications, or water utility company, or governmental entity; or (3770)

(c) A vehicle used for advertising in a parade or in a political or other special event as authorized by the City; (3770)

(d) When the sound amplification system is being operated to request assistance of an emergency nature or to warn of a hazardous situation. (3770)

4. Violations of this subparagraph (D) are civil traffic violations, not criminal misdemeanors. (3770)



The following uses and activities shall be exempt from noise level regulations: (2034)

(A) Safety signals and alarm devices, storm warning sirens or horns and the authorized testing of such equipment, emergency vehicle sirens, any electronic equipment or horns used when responding to an emergency, and emergency pressure-relief valves. (2034)

(B) Noises resulting from emergency work as defined in Section 6-12-3. (2034)

(C) Any noise created by any City of Mesa vehicles, equipment, or facilities while being operated for official business. (2034)

(D) Noises from normal operation of railroad trains. (2034)

(E) Church chimes and/or church music. (2034)

(F) Crowd noises resulting from activities such as those planned for school, governmental, or community groups or duly authorized by such groups. (2034)

(G) Organized sporting events. (2034)

(H) Noises created by any aircraft operated in conformity with or pursuant to federal law, federal air regulations, or air traffic control instructions issued pursuant to or within duly adopted federal air regulations, together with any noise created by aircraft operating under or pursuant to declaration of any emergency under federal air regulations. (2034)



As an additional remedy, the operation or maintenance of any device, instrument, vehicle, or machinery in violation of any provision of this Chapter which endangers the comfort, repose, health, or peace of residents in the area shall be deemed, and is declared to be, a public nuisance and shall be subject to abatement as such. (2034)



If any action, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or portion of this Chapter is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by the decision of any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions thereof. (749,1635,2034)



Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this Chapter or of the Mesa City Code as amended here shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500.00) or by imprisonment in the City jail for a period not exceeding six (6) months, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and each day of violation continued shall be a separate offense, punishable as hereinabove described. (1635,2034,2466)


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