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Princeton Heath Department Seeks Input on Noise Ordinance

Noise from a construction project. Noise from a lawnmower. Noise from a barking dog. Noise from loud speakers.

These are just some of the noises that could be regulated under a state model noise code developed by the Department of Environmental Protection that is being reviewed by the Princeton Regional Health Commission.

The health commission wants your input on the model  noise code. Comments are welcomed during the beginning of the regularly scheduled meeting of the Princeton Health Commission meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m.. The meeting will be held in the East Conference Room at Borough Hall.

Comments gathered from the meeting will be shared with the governing bodies of Princeton Borough and Princeton Township for consideration and passage, Princeton Health Department  Officer Dave Henry said.

The model noise ordinance ordinance developed by the state sets limits on noise levels for commercial, residential and public properties, with difference volume guidelines during the day and at night. A noise enforcement officer can enforce the regulations.

Optional items that could be added to the ordinance include restricting:

– The use of power tools, home maintenance tools, landscaping and/or yard maintenance equipment by a residential property owner or tenant between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8  a.m. Commercial operators and public employees could be restricted from using such equipment between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. on weekdays, or between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. on weekends or federal holidays.

– Construction and demolition activity, excluding emergency work, between the hours of 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. on weekdays, or between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. on weekends and federal holidays.

– Motorized snow removal equipment, which could be required to be operated with a muffler and/or a sound reduction device when being used for snow removal.

– All interior and exterior burglar alarms of a building or motor vehicle could be required to be activated so  that the burglar alarm stops within five minutes for continuous sound and 15 minutes for intermittent sound.

– Sound production devices like amplifiers, which could be limited in the public right-of-way in such a manner as to be plainly audible at a distance of 50 feet in any direction from the operator between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m., sound, operated on a public space or public right-of-way, from such equipment should not be plainly audible at a distance of 25 feet in any direction from the operator.

– Domesticated or caged animals, which could be banned from creating a sound across a real property line which unreasonably disturbs or interferes with the peace, comfort, and repose of any resident, including howling, yelping, barking, and squawking for five minutes without interruption, defined as an average of four or more sounds per minute in that period; or, making noises for twenty minutes intermittently.

Model noise ordinances can also limit people from altering their vehicles to remove mufflers or use vehicles that do not have mufflers. The use of car stereos could also be required to meet noise limits.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • Health officer David Henry can be reached via email at dhenry@princetonboro.org. When the issue is scheduled to come before the governing bodies we will also try to give advance notice. Thanks for your interest.

  • Will find out from the health officer what the best way for residents to send in feedback would be.

  • harborsparrow

    Is there an alternate way, besides attending a meeting, to provide input to the commission? I live right in town and have had a number of noise issues and would like to describe them, but I don’t think I can make the meeting tonight on such short notice.

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