City of Philadelphia v. Cohen, 479 A.2d 32, 84 Pa.Cmwlth. 200 (1984)
IMPORTANT CASE: Noise ordinances not over-breadth or vague especially when applied to regulated businesses. “The criteria employed in evaluating regulatory language for vagueness, embrace ‘flexibility and reasonable breadth’ rather than ‘meticulous specificity’ or ‘mathematical certainty.’  “[T]he Code defines ‘noise’ as ‘the presence of a sound or sounds of such intensity, duration, frequency or character which annoy, disturb, or cause or to tend to cause adverse psychological and physiological effects on persons.'”  Such language does not implicate vagueness especially when applied to businesses because vagueness standards are relaxed in regulated businesses.  Also, “the phrase ‘beyond the property boundary’ is not invalid for indefiniteness because it fails to specify the distance from the property boundary from which sound measurements are made.”  Petitioner also challenged +3dB standard, which the Court held made the ordinance less susceptible to challenge, not more. [206-207].
DECIBEL NOTE: Petitioner business challenged the ordinance, which in this application limited amplified sound to less than +3dB above ambient sound, by claiming that sound levels might already be so low as to not be objectionable, according to the business, even at +3dB. This claim fundamentally misunderstands decibel scales. [See 203, noting that +3dB is about 50% “louder” (sic) than ambient sound levels, not a little bit “louder” as petitioner implies]. Petitioner never explains the source for petitioner’s bald claim that petitioner-business enjoys some unilateral “right” to increase sound levels even by 50% and why that is not infringing on the rights of others.