Sample Noise Ordinances

Sample Noise Ordinances—Pennsylvania

Model ordinances demonstrate samples of language available to address community issues at the municipal level in Pennsylvania. All model ordinances should be carefully reviewed and tailored by your own legal counsel before implementation or adoption.

Noise—Model Noise Ordinances for Pennsylvania

A Model Noise Ordinance for Pennsylvania addresses noise and vibration problems in communities. A solid noise ordinance maintains community peace; encourages neighbor cooperation; protects health; and may limit municipal liability for failing to address noise problems in the community. The focus in a noise ordinance is constitutional integrity, ease in application, and overall effectiveness.

The Model Noise Ordinances recognize the fundamental constitutional rights of property owners to the quiet enjoyment of real property and recognizes the corresponding fundamental constitutional duty imposed on all persons to use their property in a way so as not to interfere with the quiet enjoyment of others. E.g.,  Robinson Tp., Washington County v. Com., 83 A.3d 901, 1001, 623 Pa. 564, 729 (Pa., 2013); Chase v. Eldred Borough, 902 A.2d 992, 1001 (Pa.Cmwlth. 2006); In re Realen Valley Forge Greenes Associates, 838 A.2d 718, 728, 576 Pa. 115, 132 (Pa., 2003). Also, e.g., Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council, 505 U.S. 1003, 1031–32 (1992); Keystone Bituminous Coal Ass’n v. DeBenedictis, 480 U.S. 470, 490 n. 20 (1987); Vill. of Euclid, Ohio v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365, 387 (1926); Baltimore & P. R. Co. v. Fifth Baptist Church, 108 U.S. 317, 331–32 (1883); Munn v. People of State of Illinois, 94 U.S. 113, 145 (1876).

Two Model Noise Ordinances are available—

  1. (PREFERRED) Simple, Plainly-Audible Standard
    Simple enforcement by listening at a property line.
  2. (Alternate) Hybrid Plainly-Audible and Decibel Level Standard
    Enforcement by listening or by decibel-level measures.

Supporting Information—Pennsylvania Noise Ordinances Explained, Constitutional Factors, Plainly Audible Standards, Decibel Problems, and Distinguishing Noise Ordinances from Nuisance Ordinances

For additional supporting information and analysis about true noise ordinances distinguished from “nuisance” ordinances, see  the 2018 PowerPoint slides  2018-09-19-Noise-Ordinances-Presentation-Shannon-Brown-228.pdf (shannonbrownlaw.com).

Noise—Downloadable Model Noise Ordinance Templates for Pennsylvania in PDF and Word Formats

Simple Plainly-Audible Standard

Hybrid Plainly-Audible and Decibel Level Standard

If you municipality uses a model ordinance (or part of a model ordinance), I would be interested in knowing about how the ordinance was adapted and applied to improve the models and for research.