Cities Are Adding Noise Ordinances

City Noise Ordinances?

The ear has the remarkable ability to handle an enormous range of sound levels. In order to express levels of sound meaningfully in numbers that are more manageable, a logarithmic scale is used, rather than a linear one. This scale is the decibel scale. What is a decibel? Zero decibels (0 dB) is the quietest sound audible to a healthy human ear. From there, every increase of 3 dB represents a doubling of sound intensity, or acoustic power.

Most of us perceive one sound to be twice as loud as another one when they are about 10 dB apart; for instance, a 60-dB air conditioner will sound twice as loud as a 50-dB refrigerator. Yet that 10-dB difference represents a tenfold increase in intensity.

Noise ordinances are laws which limit the allowable noise level(s) at different times of day for different zoned areas (i.e. residential/commercial/industrial). The allowable noise levels are typically higher during daytime hours and lower during nighttime hours. Some noise ordinances can be open for interpretation with specific sound levels noted while others are very specific and call out specific sound levels and day times. Many small or rural communities will not have a noise ordinance in place, but in more densely populated areas such as big cities, noise ordinances are an extremely important part of the community’s health.

California, Florida and Texas Colorado cities are adopting new and stronger guidelines for noise ordinances and nuisances ordinances. .

These are areas just to name a few with guidelines of enforcement for both the homeowner or a complaining neighbor.

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