Article 16 Environmental Noise Control

Section 16.1: Definitions

For purposes of this article the following words or terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them: (A.) "Ansi" means American National Standards Institute or its successor bodies.

(B.) "Construction" means any site preparation, assembly, erection, repair, alteration, or similar activity.

(C.) "dBA" means abbreviation for the sound level to decibels determined by the A-Weighting Network of a sound level meter or by calculation from octave band or one-third octave band data.

(D.) "Daytime Hours" means 8:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M., local time.

(E.) "Decibel (dB)" means a unit of measure equal to ten times the logarithm to the base ten of the ratio of a particular sound pressure squared to a standard reference pressure squared. For the purpose of this Article, 20 micropascals shall be the standard reference pressure.

(F.) "Demolition" means any dismantling, destruction, or removal activities.

(G.) "Emergency" means any occurrence or set of circumstances involving actual or imminent physical trauma or property damage which demands immediate action.

(H.) "Nighttime Hours" means 10:00 P.M. to 8:00 A.M., local time.

(I.) "Noise" means the intensity, frequency, duration, and character of sound, including sound and vibration of sub-audible frequencies.

(J.) "Noise Pollution" means the presence of noise of sufficient loudness, character, and duration, which whether from a single source or multiple sources, is or may be predicted with reasonable certainty to be injurious to health or which unreasonably interferes with the proper enjoyment of property or with any lawful business or activity.

(K.) "Person" means any individual, group of individuals, firm, partnership, voluntary association or private, public, or political subdivision of the state.

(L.) "Sound Level" means, in decibels, the weighted sound pressure level measured by the use of a sound-level meter satisfying the requirements of ansi S1.4 1971 "specifications for sound level meters". Sound level and noise level are synonymous. The weighting employed shall always be specified.

(M.) "Sound Level Meter" means an instrument, meeting ANSI S1.4 1971 "specifications for sound level meters", comprising a microphone, an amplifier, an output meter, and frequency-weighting networks) that is used for the measurement of sound pressure levels in a specified manner.

(N.) "Zoning District" means the general land use category as designated and defined in subtitle 27, zoning of the Prince George's County Code of Ordinances.

Section 16.2: Noise Standards
(A) No person shall cause or permit the following noise/sound levels measured at the property line or reasonably adjacent thereto of the source of said noise above the maximum permissible levels in a designated zoning district. Levels exceeding the following permissible levels are prohibited.

  • Land Use Day/Night Level
  • Industrial Daytime Hours 75 dBA
  • Nighttime Hours 75 dBA
  • Commercial Daytime Hours 67 dBA
  • Nighttime Hours 62 dBA
  • Residential Daytime Hours 60 dBA
  • Nighttime Hours 50 dBA

B. Exceptions to the maximum permissible noise/sound levels stated in subsection A: 

(1.) Construction or demolition activities shall be permitted during daytime hours; provided such activity shall not exceed a level of 90 dBA and after issuance of a Town Permit.

(2.) Household tools and portable appliances in normal usage during daytime hours.

(3.) Lawn care and snow removal equipment (daytime only) when used and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications.

(4.) Agricultural field machinery when used and maintained in accordance with manufacturer's specifications.

(5.) Motor vehicles on public roads.

(6.) Boat motors during daytime hours.

(7.) Emergency utility operations.

(8.) Pile driving equipment during the daytime hours of 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

(9.) Sound not electronically amplified created by sporting, amusement, and entertainment events and other public gatherings operating according to terms and conditions of the appropriate local jurisdictional body. This includes but is not limited to athletic contests, amusement parks, carnivals, fairgrounds, sanctioned auto racing facilities, parades, and public celebrations.

(10.) Any activity causing noise if a variance for such activity and the noise resulting there from has been obtained from the Environ¬ment¬al Health Administration of the Mary¬land Department of Health and Mental Hygiene or is being processed pursuant to the rules and regulations of that department. This exception shall apply only to the extent of any such variance so granted or being processed.

(11.) Use of any machinery or vehicles by personnel of the State of Maryland or any political subdivision thereof.

Section 16.3: Loud and Unnecessary Noises Prohibited

It shall be unlawful for any person to make, continue or cause to be made or continued any of the following noises, which are hereby declared to be loud and unnecessary: 

A. Use of vehicle horns or signals. The sounding of any horn or signaling device on any automobile, motorcycle or other vehicle on any street, way, avenue, or alley or other public place of the town, except as a danger warning; the creation by means of any such signaling device of any unreasonably loud or harsh sound; the sounding of any such device for an unnecessary or unreasonable length of time; the use of any signaling device except one operated by hand or electricity; the use of any horn, whistle or other device operated by engine exhaust; and the use of any such signaling device when traffic is for any reason held up.

B. Use of radios, phonographs and musical instruments.

(1.) The using of, operating of or permitting to be played, used or operated any radio receiving set, musical instrument, phonograph or other machine or device for the producing or reproducing of sound in such manner as to disturb the peace, quiet and comfort of the neighboring inhabitants or at any time with louder volume than is necessary for convenient hearing for the person or persons who are in the room, vehicle or chamber in which such machine or device is operated and who are voluntary listeners thereto.

(2.) The using of, operating of or permitting to be played, used or operated any radio receiving set, musical instrument, phonograph or other machine or device for the producing or reproducing of sound between the hours of 10:00 P.M. and 8:00 A.M. In such a manner as to be plainly audible at a distance of fifty (50) feet from the building, structure or vehicle in which it is located.

C. Yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling and singing.

(1.) Yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling or singing on the public streets or from private property at any time or place so as to annoy or disturb the quiet, comfort or repose of persons in any dwelling, hotel or other type of residence or any persons in the vicinity.

(2.) Yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling or singing on the public streets or private property at any time or place in such a manner as to be plainly audible at a distance of fifty (50) feet from the building, structure or vehicle from which the noise emanates.

D. The operation of any vehicle equipped with any broadcasting, record-playing or amplification system when any music, the human voice or any other noise shall be broadcast from said vehicle.

Section 16.4: Violation a Misdemeanor

Any person violating any provision of this Article upon conviction, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine not to exceed Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) or imprisonment not to exceed 90 days, or both fine and imprisonment. A conviction for one offense shall not be a bar to a conviction for a continuation of such offense subsequent to the first or any succeeding convictions.

Section 16.5: Manner of Enforcement; Notice of Intent to Prosecute

Violations of this Ordinance shall be prosecuted in the same manner as other misdemeanor violations of the Town's code; provided, however, that in the event of A violation of this article, a written notice of intent to prosecute will be provided the alleged violator not less than five (5) calendar days prior to the issuance of a misdemeanor complaint or citation. No complaint or citation shall be issued in the event the cause of the violation is removed, the condition abated or fully corrected immediately within the five (5) day warning period. In the event the alleged violator cannot be located in order to serve the notice of intention to prosecute, the notice as required herein shall be deemed to be given upon mailing such notice by registered or certified mail to the alleged violator at his last known address or at the place where the violation occurred, in which event the five (5) day period shall commence at the date of the day following the mailing of such notice. A notice of intent to prosecute shall not be required in cases where a violation or alleged violation of this article reoccurs or is repeated by the same person within the same twelve (12) month period.