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(A) Subject to the provisions of this section, it shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation, or business entity to create or assist in creating, permit, continue, or permit the continuance of any unreasonably loud, annoying, disturbing or unnecessary noise in the town, with the exception of construction work done pursuant to a federal, state, county or city contract which requires work to be performed during certain hours. Noise of such character, intensity and duration as to be detrimental to the life or health of any individual is prohibited.
(B) Definitions. For purpose of this section, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
DISTURBING. Noise which is perceived by a person of ordinary sensibilities as interrupting the normal peace and calm of the area.
UNNECESSARY. Any excessive or unusually loud sound or any sound which is of such character, intensity and duration as to disturb the peace and quiet of any neighborhood or which disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of any person, and being a type of sound which could be lessened or otherwise controlled by the maker without unduly restricting his conduct.
UNREASONABLY LOUD OR ANNOYING. Noise which is substantially incompatible with the time and location where created to the extent that it creates an actual or imminent interference with peace or good order.
(C) In determining whether a noise is unreasonably loud, annoying, disturbing or unnecessary, the following factors incident to such noise are to be considered: time of day; proximity to residential structures; whether the noise is recurrent, intermittent or constant; the volume and intensity; whether the noise has been enhanced in volume or range by any type of electronic or mechanical means; the character, nature and zoning of the area; whether the noise is related to the normal operation of a business or other activity or is the result of some use for individual purposes and whether the noise is subject to being controlled without unreasonable effort or expense to the creator thereof. A continuing or non-resetting audible burglar or fire alarm shall not be considered a violation of this section.
(D) The following acts, among others, are declared to be loud, disturbing, annoying and unnecessary noises in violation of this section, but the enumeration shall not be deemed to be exclusive, namely:
(1) The sounding of any horn, whistle or signal device on any automobile, motorcycle, bus or other vehicle while not in motion, except as a danger signal as required by law if another vehicle is approaching apparently out of control, or if in motion only as a danger signal after or as brakes are being applied and deceleration of the vehicle is intended; the creation by means of any such signal device of any unreasonably loud, disturbing, annoying or harsh sound as defined above, or the sounding of such device for an unnecessary and unreasonable period of time;
(2) The use of any gong or siren upon any vehicle, other than police, fire or other emergency vehicle;
(3) The playing of any piano, radio, television set, record player, loud speaker, stereo or other sound reproduction system, musical instrument or sound-producing or sound-amplifying device on the premises of any dwelling, hotel or motel room in such manner or with such volume, particularly, but not limited to the hours between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. as to be an unreasonably loud, annoying, disturbing or unnecessary manner as defined above. A presumption is created that the noise is unreasonably loud, annoying, disturbing and unnecessary if the sound generated is audible at a distance of 30 feet or more from the dwelling's property line, or from the unit's most outer boundary wall in the case of a hotel or motel room;
(4) The playing of any radio, cassette player, compact disc, videotape or disc or other similar device for reproducing sound located on or in any motor vehicle on a public street, highway, within any public vehicular area, within the motor vehicular area, within the motor vehicular area of any public or private parking lot or park or on the premises of a private residence in an unreasonably loud, annoying, disturbing or unnecessary manner as defined above. A presumption is created that the sound thus created is unreasonably loud, annoying, disturbing and unnecessary if the sound generated or noise vibration therefrom is audible or can be felt at a distance of 30 feet or more from the radio, cassette player, compact disc, video tape or disc or other similar device that is producing the sound;
(5) The keeping of any animal or bird which by causing frequent or loud continued noise, which shall include but not be limited to the frequent or continued barking of dogs, that shall disturb the comfort and repose of any person in the vicinity;
(6) The use of any automobile, motorcycle, "ATV" or other vehicle in such a manner as to create loud, annoying or unnecessary grating, grinding, rattling, screeching of tries or other unreasonable and unnecessary noise;
(7) The blowing of any steam whistle attached to any steam boiler except to give notice of the time to begin or stop work, or a warning of danger;
(8) The discharge into the open of the exhaust of any steam engine, stationary internal combustion engine, or motor vehicle, except through a muffler or other device which will effectively prevent unnecessary loud, annoying, disturbing or unnecessary noises therefrom;
(9) The use of any mechanical device operated by compressed air unless the noise created thereby is effectively muffled and reduced;
(10) The erection (including excavation), demolition, alteration or repair of any building in a residential or business district other than between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday - Saturday, except in the case of urgent necessity in the interest of public safety and then only with a permit from the Town Clerk, which permit may be renewed for a period of three days or less while the emergency continues;
(11) The creation of any unreasonably loud or excessive noise on any street adjacent to any school, institution of learning, or court while the same is in session, or within 150 feet of any hospital, which unreasonably interferes with the working of such institution, provided, conspicuous signs are displayed in such street indicating that the same if a school, court, or hospital street;
(12) The creation of any unreasonably loud or excessive noise on Sundays on any street adjacent to any church, provided, conspicuous signs are displayed in such street adjacent to churches indicating that the same is a church street;
(13) The creation of any unreasonably loud or excessive noise in connection with loading or unloading any vehicle, of the opening and destruction of bales, boxes, crates and containers;
(14) The continued and frequent sounding of any bell or gong, attached to any building or premises, which disturbs the quiet or repose of persons in the vicinity thereof;
(15) The shouting and crying of peddlers, barkers, hawkers and vendors which disturbs the quiet and peace of the neighborhood;
(16) The use of any drum, bell, loudspeaker, or other instrumentality for the purpose of attracting attention by creation of noise to any performance, show, sale, display or advertisement of merchandise. The use of explosives such as fireworks may also be a violation where conducted at hours which interfere with the normal peace, calm and good order of the neighborhood or when conducted without obtaining the proper permissions or permits;
(17) The use of any mechanical loud speakers or amplifiers on trucks or other moving vehicles for advertising purposes or other purposes except where specific license is received from the Board of Aldermen;
(18) The conducting, operating, or maintaining of any garage, body shop, repair facility, paint facility or filing station so as to cause unreasonably loud, annoying or offensive noises to be emitted therefrom between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.; and/or
(19) The firing or discharging of squibs, firecrackers, gunpowder or other combustible substances in the streets or elsewhere for the purpose of making loud, disturbing or annoying noises or disturbances except by permit from the Board of Aldermen.
(E) Enforcement. The town shall, through the Police Department, take the following enforcement actions for violations of this section against any responsible person, persons or business entity as stated in division (A):
(1) First offense. Issue a written warning.
(2) Second offense (within a one-year period of time). Issue a criminal citation or warrant subjecting a violator to a penalty of $100 for each offense and/or imprisonment as designated for a Class 3 misdemeanor.
(3) Subsequent offenses. All subsequent violations by the same person or business entity within one year of the second violation shall subject such person or business to a penalty of $200 for each offense and/or imprisonment as designated for a Class 3 misdemeanor.
(a) Each separate day of a continued violation shall be a separate and distinct offense and shall give rise to a separate and distinct penalty.
(b) Violators shall be prosecuted under the provisions of G.S. § 14-4 for a misdemeanor criminal offense punishable by a fine of not more than $200 and/or imprisonment as designated for a Class 3 misdemeanor.
(c) This section may also be enforced by civil action for injunction and order of abatement.
(d) This section may be enforced by any remedy authorized by G.S. § 160A-175, either severally or in conjunction with other remedies.
(F) Exceptions. In the interest of public safety and convenience, the following activities are exempted from the application of this section:
(1) Emergency work made necessary to restore property to a safe condition; emergency work required to protect persons or property from danger or potential danger; or work by private or public utilities when restoring utility services;
(2) Any street construction activity performed by, or on behalf of, a government agency on streets designated on the then current thoroughfare plan as adopted county or state; provided that all equipment is operated in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications and is equipped with all legally required noise-reducing devices in property operating condition. Blasting and pile driving on street projects are covered under this exemption only to the extent that they are carried on between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., Monday - Friday; and/or
(3) Noise arising from the premises of a bona fide farm or farming operation as defined in G.S. § 163A-340(b)(2) as a result of routine farming activities necessary for the operation of the farm.
(G) An owner of any premises subject to this section who is not a current occupant of the premises shall be responsible and subject to civil penalties, but not criminal liability, for actions by tenants, guests, or other licensees which constitute violations of this section. Absentee owners must be notified by personal service or certified mail of the first or previous violations that have occurred within the previous 12-month period before a subsequent increased civil penalty may be imposed.
(Ord. passed 7-5-05)