PLATTSBURGH — The City of Plattsburgh has adopted a new noise ordinance.
The Noise Control Law was introduced by Councilor Jeff Moore (D-Ward 6) on Feb. 28 to replace the city's former law on noise.
Moore drafted the local law after doing some research that included examining the pre-existing noise ordinances of other municipalities.
City councilors unanimously approved his updated version following a recent public hearing.
That new law had been discussed in terms of the city's cryptocurrency-mining operations but includes guidelines for industrial, commercial and residential properties city-wide.
The Noise Control Law saw updates after a rapid increase in unreasonably loud, disturbing and unnecessary noises in the City of Plattsburgh, it says, "of such character, intensity, duration or repetition as to be detrimental to the life, health or safety of any individual or of the public.
"The City of Plattsburgh, to preserve, protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare, has enacted a Noise Control Local Law which, pursuant to the standards hereinafter set forth, shall delineate permitted noise levels within the (city)."
Unreasonable noise, as defined by the law, includes "any excessive, unreasonable or unusually loud sound or any sound which either annoys, disturbs or injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health peace or safety of a person or which causes injury to animal life or damages to property or business."
MAKING A RACKET
Several factors are now used to determine an "unreasonable noise," including the sound's intensity, nature, origin, volume, proximity, duration and time of day.
The law prohibits these acts if they create unreasonable noise:
• Operation of a radio, television set, musical instrument or sound amplifier.
• Projection of sound by a device directly onto the public way.
• Operation of any tool or equipment used in construction, drilling or demolition work between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. except in the case of an emergency.
• Operation of any appliance, including pump, fan, exhaust fan and air conditioner, between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.
• Loading or unloading of any vehicle or the opening/destruction of bales, boxes, crates and containers.
• Operation, acceleration, grating, grinding, rattling or other noise of any automobile, motorcycle, truck, recreational vehicle or other vehicle.
• Use or operation of any sound-producing device in any public place.
• Harboring of any animal.
The Noise Control Law outlines sound-level allowances for daytime versus nighttime that vary based on a property's zoning district, either industrial, commercial or residential.
Under the law, "daytime" is defined as 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Within that time frame, the maximum permitted sound level — as measured at the property line — arising by human activity within the industrial district cannot exceed 80 decibels.
For commercial, the sound level cannot exceed 70 decibels, and for residential, 60 decibels is the limit.
These districts are also measured at the property line, unless there are multiple residences or businesses, in which case the measurements would be taken at the adjoining or adjacent apartment/business.
The new noise ordinance defines "nighttime" as the hours between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.
During that time, the industrial-zoned properties can't exceed 75 decibels, the commercial properties can't exceed 65 decibels and the residential properties can't exceed 55 decibels.
The new noise law also addresses sounds on city streets, with trucks, motorcycles and cars subject to it.
During daytime hours, trucks cannot exceed 90 decibels, motorcycles can't go higher than 85 decibels, and it's 80 for cars.
At night, trucks are limited to 85 decibels, motorcycles to 80 and cars to 75.
The ordinance does have some exceptions to the maximum permitted sound levels.
"The permitted sound level may be exceeded by 5 decibels for a cumulative period of not more than 30 minutes of a given hour during daytime hours," the law says.
"The permitted sound level may be exceeded by 10 decibels for more than 15 minutes of a given hour during daytime hours."
The adopted law also incorporates some overall exemptions, including sounds created via:
• Church bells or chimes.
• Government agencies for public warning.
• Public utilities carrying out franchise operations.
• Sporting events or Common Council-authorized carnivals, fairs, exhibitions or parades.
• Crop cultivation, production and harvesting.
• Safety and protective devices.
• Snow-removal equipment.
Non-commercial public-speaking and public-assembly activities in a public place.
Those found in violation of the City of Plattsburgh Noise Control Law are subject to a fine of no less than $250.
"Persons committing a second offense within 12 months of the date prior to conviction shall be subject to a fine of $500," the law says.
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