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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
Environmental Quality
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CHAPTER 5 Noise Control

1. § 11-5-1 Title.

§ 11-5-2 Definitions.

§ 11-5-3 Tests for unlawful noise.

§ 11-5-4 Noises prohibited--enumeration.

§ 11-5-4.1 Same--central business district.

§ 11-5-5 Same--decibel provisions.

§ 11-5-6 Exemptions.

§ 11-5-7 Application for special permit.

§ 11-5-8 Administration.

§ 11-5-9 Inspections.

§ 11-5-10 Enforcement procedure.

§ 11-5-11 Emergency procedure.

§ 11-4-12 Penalties.

§ 11-5-13 Additional remedy; injunction.

§ 11-5-14 Confidentiality of records.

§ 11-5-15 Application of chapter.

§ 11-5-16 Judicial review.

Sec. 11-5-1 Title.

This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the noise control code of the city. (Code 1963, Sec. 22A-1)

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Sec. 11-5-2 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:

(1) Aircraft. Any device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air, engaged in carrying persons or property.

(2) Acoustics. The science of sound including its generation, propagation, measurement and physiological and psychological effects.

(3) Ambient noise. The all encompassing noise associated with a given environment, being usually a composite of sounds from many sources, near and far.

(4) A-weighted sound level [dB(A)]. A quantity, in decibels read from a sound level meter, that is switched to the weighting network labeled "A." The A-weighted network shall be as specified under the most recent specifications of the American National Standards Institute, Inc., New York, N.Y. (ANSI).

(5) Center frequency. For acoustic measurement, the center frequency of an octave band which is the geometric mean of the upper and lower frequency limits of the band.

(6) Commercial use area. The area within 200 feet of all boundaries of any property producing noise or, where such property is a railroad, the area within 200 feet perpendicular to the centerline of the railroad track at the source of the noise, when the predominant use of the properties in that area is for commercial purposes.

(7) Construction. Any or all activity necessary or incidental to the erection, demolition, assembling, altering, installing or equipping of buildings, public or private highways, roads, railroads, premises, parks, utility lines including any lines in already constructed tunnels, or other property, including land clearing, grading, excavating and filling.

(8) Construction device. Any device designed and intended for use in construction including, but not limited to any air compressors, backhoes, concrete vibrators, cranes (derrick), cranes (mobile), dozers (track and wheel), generators, graders, loaders (track and wheel), mixers, pavement breakers, pavers, pile drivers, power hoists, rock drills, rock crushers, rollers, scrapers, and shovels.

(9) Continuous noise. Noise whose level remains essentially constant without interruption or break.

(10) Decibel (dB). A unit of sound magnitude equal to 20 times the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of the sound pressure being measured to a reference sound pressure of 20 micronewtons per square meter or 0.0002 microbars, abbreviated "dB."

(11) Director. The director of the department transportation and environmental services of the City of Alexandria or his duly authorized representative.

(12) Emergency signal device. Any gong, bell, siren, whistle or any horn or any similar device the use of which is permitted on authorized vehicles or which are mounted on poles, buildings, towers or other supports.

(13) Emergency work. Work made necessary to restore property to a safe and working condition following a public calamity, or work required to protect persons or property from imminent danger.

(14) Engineer. The noise pollution specialist designated or appointed by the director.

(15) Exhaust system. A system which removes and transports air or gas from a device.

(16) Hertz. A unit of measurement of frequency numerically equal to cycles per second.

(17) Impulsive noise. A short burst of acoustical energy such as, but not limited to, that produced by weapon fire, punch press or drop hammer. A pressure time history of a single impulse includes a rapid rise to a maximum peak pressure followed by a somewhat slower decay, both occurring within one second.

(18) Industrial use area. The area within 200 feet of all boundaries of any property producing noise or, where such property is a railroad, the area within 200 feet perpendicular to the centerline of the railroad track at the source of the noise, when the predominant use of properties in that area is for industrial purposes.

(19) Internal combustion engine. A device for the production of energy by means of combustion under pressure.

(20) Microbar. Unit of pressure commonly used in acoustics and equal to one dyne per square centimeter or one-tenth (0.1) Newtons per square meter.

(21) Motorcycle. Every motor vehicle designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground and any four wheeled vehicle weighing less than 500 pounds and equipped with an engine of less than six horsepower.

(22) Motorized construction device. Any construction device which is a motor vehicle.

(23) Motor vehicle. Every device in, upon or by which any person or thing is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway which is self-propelled or designed for self-propulsion, except devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.

(24) Muffler. An apparatus generally consisting of but not limited to a series of chambers or baffles for the purpose of transmitting gases while reducing sound level.

(25) Newton. A unit of pressure. The force required to accelerate one kilogram of mass at one meter per second squared.

(26) Noise. A steady-state or impulsive sound or sounds occurring on either a continuous or intermittent basis or any sound which annoys or disturbs humans or which causes or tends to cause an adverse psychological or physiological effect on humans.

(27) Noise level. See sound pressure level.

(28) Octave band. An interval in the audible range of sound that has an upper frequency numerically exactly twice that of its lower frequency.

(29) Owner. Owner shall have no connotations other than that customarily assigned to the term "person," but shall include bodies politic and corporate, associations, partnerships, personal representatives, trustees and committees, as well as individuals.

(30) Person. Any individual, corporation, cooperative, partnership, firm, association, trust, estate, public or private institution, group, agency, political subdivision of this state or any legal successor, representative, agent or agency of the foregoing.

(31) Power equipment. Motorized or engine driven equipment such as, but not limited to, powered saws or chain saws and powered hand tools including hydraulic and pneumatic hand tools. Does not include air or surface transportation vehicles, construction devices, sound signaling devices or power lawn and garden equipment.

(32) Power lawn and garden equipment. Powered devices for care and maintenance of lawns and gardens, including but not limited to, edgers, garden tractors, hedge clippers, home tractors, lawn mowers, snow and leaf blowers, tillers, and trimmers.

(33) Property. The smallest area owned or leased by the same person or persons.

(34) Rail rapid transit system. A railroad used exclusively for local service in the transportation of passengers as a common carrier for hire together with the appurtenances, facilities and equipment thereof.

(35) Railroad. All the rights-of-way of any common carrier operating a railroad, whether owned or operated under contract, agreement or lease.

(36) Residential use area. The area within 200 feet of all boundaries of any property producing noise or, where such property is a railroad, the area within 200 feet perpendicular to the centerline of the railroad track at the source of noise, when the predominant use of properties in that area is for residential purposes.

(37) Slow meter response. The dynamic response of a sound level meter, as specified under the most recent specification of the American National Standards Institute, Inc., New York, N.Y. (ANSI) for sound level meters.

(38) Sound. An auditory sensation evoked by alternating compression and expansion of air, or other medium, accompanied by changes in pressure, particle velocity or displacement.

(39) Sound level. The weighted sound pressure level in decibels obtained by use of a sound level meter with a metering response (fast or slow) and A, B or C weighting networks as specified by the American National Standards Institute, Inc., New York, N.Y. (ANSI).

(40) Sound level meter. An instrument comprising a microphone, amplifier, and output meter, and frequency weighting networks, that is used for the measurement of sound levels in a manner specified by the American National Standards Institute, Inc., New York, N.Y. (ANSI), in its standards 1.4-1971 or latest revision.

(41) Sound pressure. The difference between the barometric or average pressure and the instantaneous pressure created at a given point by a source of sound: measured in Newtons per square meter.

(42) Sound pressure level (in decibels). 20 times the logarithm to the base of 10 of the ratio of the pressure of the sound being measured to a reference sound pressure of 20 micronewtons/m2(0.0002 microbars).

(43) Sound reproduction device. A device intended primarily for the production or reproduction of sound including, but not limited to, any musical instrument, radio receiver, television, receiver, tape recorder, phonograph and sound amplifying system.

(44) Sound signal device. A device designed to produce a sound signal when operated, including but not limited to, any klaxon, air horn, whistle, bell, gong, siren, but not an emergency signal device.

(45) Warning device. Sound signal devices used to alert and warn people. The members of the environmental policy commission in office as of the effective date of this ordinance shall continue to serve the unexpired portion of their term of office. (Ord. No. 4152, 9/16/00, Sec. 3)

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Sec. 11-5-3 Tests for unlawful noise.

The standards which shall be considered in determining whether a violation of this chapter exists may include, but shall not be limited to the following:

(1) level of noise;

(2) whether the nature of the noise is usual or unusual;

(3) whether the origin of the noise is natural or unnatural;

(4) proximity of noise to residential sleeping facilities;

(5) nature and zoning of the area within which the noise emanates;

(6) density of inhabitation of the area within which the noise emanates;

(7) time of day or night the noise occurs;

(8) duration of the noise;

(9) whether the noise is recurrent, intermittent or constant; and

(10) whether the noise is produced by a commercial or noncommercial activity.

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Sec. 11-5-4 Noises prohibited--enumeration.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to make, continue, or cause to be made or continued any excessive, unnecessary or unusually loud noise or any noise which unreasonably annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, health, safety, welfare, or environment of others, within the limits of the city.

(b) The following acts, among others, are declared to be unlawful, but this enumeration shall not be deemed to be exclusive, namely:

(1) Sound signaling device. The sounding of any sound signal device on any automobile, motorcycle or other vehicle on any street or public place of the city, except as a warning of danger or as provided in subsection 11-5-6(b), so as to create any unreasonably loud or harsh sound, for any unnecessary and unreasonable period of time or when traffic is for any reason held up. The sounding of any sound signal device attached to a motor vehicle, wagon or manually propelled cart, from which food or any other items are sold, more frequently than once every two minutes in any one city block and with a duration of more than 10 seconds for any single emission.

(2) Sound reproduction device. The using or operating of any radio receiving set, musical instrument, phonograph, or other machine or device for the producing or reproducing of sound, or permitting the same to be played, used or operated in such manner as to disturb unreasonably the comfort, health, peace, safety, or welfare and environment of the neighboring inhabitants. The operation of any set, instrument, phonograph, machine or device between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. in such manner as to be plainly audible across property boundaries at a distance of 50 feet from the building, structure or vehicle in which it is located shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this section, except such operation by a public service company or the city to restore and maintain services provided by it.

(3) Sound reproduction device for advertising. The using or operating of any radio receiving set, musical instrument, phonograph or other machine or device for the producing or reproducing of sound, or permitting the same to be played, used or operated upon the public streets for the purpose of commercial advertising or attracting the attention of the public to any building, structure, or commercial event.

(4) Noise in public places. The making by any person of unreasonably loud or unnecessary noise, including but not limited to that made by the human voice in public places, particularly between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. so as to annoy or disturb unreasonably the comfort, health, welfare, and environment, peace or safety of persons in any office, or in any dwelling, hotel or other type of residence, or of any person in the vicinity.

(5) Animals, birds, etc. The keeping of any animal or bird which by causing frequent or long continued noise disturbs the health, comfort, safety, welfare or peace and environment of any person in the vicinity.

(6) Steam whistles. The blowing of any locomotive steam whistle or steam whistle attached to any stationary boiler except to give notice of the time to begin or stop work or as a warning of fire or danger, or upon request of proper city authorities.

(7) Exhausts. The discharge into the open air of the exhaust of any steam engine, stationary internal combustion engine, motor boat, or motor vehicle except through a muffler or other device which will effectively prevent loud or explosive noises therefrom.

(8) Defect in vehicle or load. The use of any automobile, motorcycle, or vehicle so out of repair, so loaded or in such manner as to create loud and unnecessary grating, grinding, rattling, backfiring or other noise.

(9) Loading, unloading, opening boxes. The creation of an unreasonably loud and excessive noise in connection with loading or unloading any vehicle or the opening and destruction of bales, boxes, crates, and containers, except as provided by section 11-5-7 of this chapter.

(10) Construction or repairing of buildings, streets, walks, railways, sewers, utility lines, etc. The erection (including excavation), demolition, alteration or repair, and any and all activity necessary or incidental thereto, of any building, except a dwelling house when the activity is being conducted by an owner or occupant or agent thereof and not for profit, any street, walk, railway, sewer, utility line or other construction other than between the hours listed in Table I except in case of urgent necessity in the interest of public health and safety or to restore and maintain public service and then only with a permit from the city manager, which permit may be granted for a period not to exceed six days while the necessity continues and which permit may be renewed for periods of six days while the necessity continues. If the city manager should determine that the public health and safety will not be impaired by any erection, demolition, alteration or repair and if he shall further determine that failure to permit erection, demolition, alteration or repair during such hours would result in loss or inconvenience to any party in interest, he may after consultation with the director grant permission for the work to be done within the hours prohibited in Table I, upon application being made at the time the permit for the work is awarded or during the progress of the work.

(11) Schools, courts, churches, hospitals, nursing homes, public libraries. The creation of any excessive noise on any street adjacent to any school, institution of learning, church, public library or court while the same are in use, or adjacent to any hospital or nursing home which unreasonably interferes with the working of such institution or which disturbs or unduly annoys patients in the hospital or nursing home, provided conspicuous signs are displayed in such streets indicating that the same is a school, court, church, hospital, nursing home or public library.

(12) Hawkers, peddlers. The shouting and crying of peddlers, hawkers and vendors which disturb the peace and quiet of the neighborhood.

(13) Model aircraft. The using, running, operating or flying or the permitting to be used, run, operated or flown of any model aircraft or similar contrivance now known or hereinafter invented, used or designed for flight in the air, in such a manner that there is produced loud, harsh, intense or continuous noise which disturbs the peace, quiet, comfort or repose of any person, except in areas and at times designated by the director of recreation who is hereby authorized to designate areas and times where and when the model aircraft may be run or flown without annoyance to the persons in the vicinity.

(14) Metal rails, pillars and columns, transportation thereof. The transportation of rails, pillars or columns of iron, steel or other materials, over and along streets and other public places upon carts, drays, cars, trucks or in any other manner so loaded as to cause unreasonably loud noises or as unreasonably to disturb the peace and quiet of such streets or other public places.

(15) Construction devices and power equipment. The operation or permitting the operation during the hours prohibited in Table I of any construction device or power equipment which is attended by loud or unusual noise as determined by the director, unless permitted in accordance with section 11-5-7 of this chapter.


__________

TABLE I


Prohibited Hours

Day

Before

After

__________

Monday through Friday

7:00 a.m.

6:00 p.m.

Saturday

9:00 a.m.

6:00 p.m.

Sunday

All Hours

Holidays in Sec. 11-5-5(a)(5)a.

__________

(16) Power lawn and garden equipment. The operation or permitting the operation during the times listed in Table II of any power lawn or garden equipment.

(17) Ventilation and air conditioning. The operation or permitting the operation of ventilation systems and air conditioning systems whose components, air ducts and vent opening may be installed on the roof or ground, in windows or walls the use of which exceeds the noise levels in Table III.


__________

TABLE II


Prohibited Hours

Day

Before

After

__________

Monday through Friday

7:00 a.m.

9:00 p.m.

Saturday, Sunday, Holidays as listed in Sec. 11-5-5 (a)(5)a.

9:00 a.m.

9:00 p.m.

__________

(18) Trash collection. No person shall operate or permit the operation of any refuse collection motor vehicle for collection of solid waste except as permitted by title 5, chapter 1 of the city code.

(19) Pile driving. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of this chapter, no person shall operate, and no person shall permit the operation by any employee, independent contractor or other person of, any pile driving equipment, except between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday. The city manager is authorized, in his discretion, to grant relief from the provisions of this section, under the procedures set forth in section 11-5-7. In deciding whether to grant such relief, the city manager shall consider (i) the location at which pile driving is proposed to be conducted, (ii) its proximity to residential areas, business districts, public parks, recreation facilities, historic areas and tourist destinations, (iii) the availability and cost of alternative methods of construction, (iv) the mitigation measures available or proposed, (v) the impact upon the construction project, and upon the public, and (vi) such additional factors as the manager determines may be relevant to avoid undue annoyance, disturbance, injury, or danger to the welfare of residents, business employees and patrons, park patrons, students, tourists and other visitors to the city. For purposes of this subsubsection, pile driving shall mean the driving of piles into the earth through the use of a gravity- or pneumatic-driven hammer or similar device or mechanism, and person shall include any state, or agency, instrumentality or contractor of a state, in addition to the meaning defined in section 11-5-2(30). (Ord. No. 4116, 3/28/00, Sec. 1)

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Sec. 11-5-4.1 Same--central business district.

(a) Notwithstanding any conflicting provision of this chapter or other law, it shall be unlawful for any person to engage in, or to suffer or permit on or with property under such person's control, any sound generation, as defined in this section, in or on any public or private street, sidewalk or alley, any public park, marina or open space, or any private outdoor property that is open to the public for commercial or recreational purposes, within the central business district established by section 8-300(A) of the City of Alexandria Zoning Ordinance, except as is permitted by this section.

(b) "Sound generation" shall mean any conduct, activity or operation, whether human, mechanical, electronic or other, and whether continuous, intermittent or sporadic, and whether stationary, ambulatory or from a vehicle, which produces or generates sound in excess of the volume levels, and for a duration of time greater than the duration, specified in this section.

(c) Between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m., Monday through Sunday, no sound generation shall result in sound having a volume of 75 db(A) or more, at a distance greater than 10 feet from the place at which the sound is being generated or produced, for an aggregate duration of time greater than 60 seconds in any one hour period. Any sound that is plainly audible above the background noise level to a person of normal hearing acuity at a distance greater than 50 feet from the place at which the sound is being generated or produced shall be presumed to exceed 75 db(A) at 10 feet of distance and thus violate this subsection, and the burden shall be on the person responsible for such sound generation to prove otherwise.

(d) Between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., no sound generation shall exceed a volume of 65 db(A) at a distance greater than 10 feet from the place at which the sound is being generated or produced, for an aggregate duration of 60 seconds between such hours. Any sound that is plainly audible above the background noise level to a person of normal hearing acuity at a distance greater than 50 feet from the place at which the sound is being generated or produced shall be presumed to exceed 65 db(A) at 10 feet of distance and thus violate this subsection, and the burden shall be on the person responsible for such sound generation to prove otherwise.

(e) This section shall not apply to any sound generation which occurs:

(1) as part of a city-sponsored festival or event;

(2) at a designated performance area within a public park, marina or open space in conformity with regulations promulgated by the city manager or the director of parks, recreation and cultural activities;

(3) in conformity with regulations promulgated by the city manager for the use of market square;

(4) under a special permit, displayed at the place of sound generation, issued by the city manager pursuant to section 11-5-7; or

(5) on private property pursuant to a special use permit, displayed at the place of sound generation, approved by the city council under section 11-500 of the City of Alexandria Zoning Ordinance.

(g) This section shall be enforced by the director, the chief of police, the director of citizen assistance, the director of parks, recreation and cultural activities within any public park, marina or open space, and the director of general services within market square, and by their respective designees.

(h) As used in this section, "background noise level" means all sound sources impacting at the place of measurement, excluding the specific source that is suspected of violating this section.

(i) A violation under the section may be proved by either or both:

(1) Testimony or other evidence that the sound generation was plainly audible above the background noise level at the distance from the source, and for the duration of time, specified in subsections (c) or (d); or

(2) Testimony or other evidence that the sound generation equalled or exceeded the sound level, at the distance from the source, and for the duration of time, specified in subsections (c) or (d), as measured with a sound level meter, maintained in good working order, and having an accuracy specification of ± 2 dB at 114 dBSPL (sound pressure level) or better, and using the A weighting network of such meter. The measurement of sound level under this section, made with such meter, need not comply with the provisions of section 11-5-5. (Ord. No. 3726, 6/14/94, Sec. 1)

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Sec. 11-5-5 Same--decibel provisions.

(a) Classification of use areas: residential, commercial, and industrial.

(1) Except as otherwise provided by this chapter, on or after July 1, 1977, it shall be unlawful to project a sound or noise beyond the boundaries of the property from which such noise emanates which exceeds any of the limiting noise spectra set forth in Table III of this subsection which are applicable to that property. For the purposes of this section, the limiting noise spectra set forth in Table III of this subsection for industrial use areas shall be deemed to be the limiting noise spectra applicable to any property which is not located in a residential, commercial or industrial use area.

(2) The measurement of sound or noise pursuant to this subsection shall be as follows:

a. The measurement of sound or noise shall be made with sound level meters type 1 or type 2 and meeting the standards prescribed by the American National Standards Institute, Inc., New York, New York. The instrument shall be maintained in calibration and good working order. Octave band corrections may be employed in meeting the response specification. A calibration shall be made of the system before and after the noise measurements. Measurements recorded shall be taken so as to provide a proper representation of the noise source. The microphone during measurement shall be positioned so as not to create any unnatural enhancement or diminution of the measured noise. A windscreen for the microphone shall be used when required. Other than for instantaneous sound levels or for stated lengths of time, such as eight-hour or 24-hour averages, the following procedure will be used. With a continuous noise source in operation, a minimum of nine sound level readings will be taken at least 20 seconds apart excluding any readings taken it there is significant noise from extraneous sources. If the noise source is periodic or cyclical in nature, nine readings at least 20 seconds apart will be made only during those parts of the cycle when the source is operating, No readings will be made during the parts of the cycle when the source is not operating. The median of the valid readings will be used as the average sound level.

b. The slow meter response of the sound level meter shall be used to determine that the maximum permissible dB(A) readings or the octave band levels set forth in Table III below have not been exceeded.

c. Unless otherwise specified the measurement shall be made at the boundary of the property on which such noise is generated, or perceived, as appropriate not less than three and one-half (3 1/2) feet above ground.

d. Compliance with the noise limits is to be maintained at any elevation at the boundary.

(3) The limits hereinabove referred to shall be in accordance with the following table:

(4) The maximum permissible sound levels established in Table III for application to the boundaries of a property shall not applied to construction sites. Construction site noise shall be regulated by section 11-5-4(b)(10) and 11-5-4(b)(15) and other appropriate sections of this chapter.


__________

TABLE III

MAXIMUM PERMISSIBLE SOUND LEVELS



Octave Band

Use Areas

Maximum
dB(A)

Center Frequency
Hertz-(HZ)

Levels
dB

__________

Residential

55

31.5

70



63

69



125

64



250

59



500

53



1,000

47



2,000

42



4,000

38



8,000

35

Commercial

60

31.5

75



63

74



125

69



250

64



500

58



1,000

52



2,000

47



4,000

43



8,000

40

Industrial

70

31.5

85



63

84



125

79



250

74



500

68



1,000

62



2,000

57



4,000

53



8,000

50

__________

(5) a. Days which shall have the same restrictions as Sundays are New Year's Day (the first day of January), Memorial Day (the last Monday in May). Independence Day (July 4), Labor Day (the first Monday in September). Thanksgiving Day (the fourth Thursday in November), and Christmas Day (December 25).

b. The provisions of section 11-5-5(a)(5)a. of this chapter shall not be applicable to any noise which is emitted without interruption for 24 hours every day for at least seven consecutive days, when the noise varies in intensity by less than three decibels in a 24-hour period; provided, that a permit for the emission of such noise has been issued by the city manager. Any permit shall be issued pursuant to section 11-5-7 of this chapter. Any permit issued by the city manager pursuant to this section, shall be valid until such time as the city manager, after giving notice in writing, to the applicants for the permit at least 30 days in advance, shall modify or revoke the permit.

(b) Power equipment and power lawn and garden equipment. It shall be unlawful to operate in the city any equipment which creates a noise or sound that exceeds the noise level limits set out in Table IV below. This equipment shall not be used during hours prohibited by either section 11-5-4(b)(15) or section 11-5-4(b)(16), as applicable.

__________


__________

TABLE IV

LIMITING NOISE LEVELS FOR POWER LAWN OR GARDEN EQUIPMENT AND POWER EQUIPMENT

__________

Maximum Permissible Noise Level

75 dB(A)

Location of Measurements

Property Line of Noise Source

Measurement Procedure

As stated in sec. 11-5-5(a)(2)a.

(c) Motorized vehicles and equipment. It shall be unlawful to operate a motor vehicle within the city which creates a noise or sound which exceeds the noise level limits set out in Table V below. The measurement of sound or noise shall be made with standards prescribed by the American National Standards Institute, Inc., New York, New York. A calibration shall be made of the sound level meter before and after any noise measurement. The slow meter response of the sound level meter shall be used. Measurement shall be approximately three and one-half feet above ground and a windscreen for the microphone shall be used when required.

__________

TABLE V
LIMITING NOISE LEVELS FOR MOTOR VEHICLES
__________

(a) Passenger cars: (Reserved for future use)

(b) Motorcycles, and motor-bicycles: (Reserved for future use)

(c) Motorized construction device:

90 dB(A) measured at 50 feet . . . Maximum allowable limit for equipment purchased prior to July 1, 1977.

85 dB(A) measured at 50 feet . . . Maximum allowable limit for equipment purchased after July 1, 1977.

(d) Refuse collection vehicle:

Arithmetic average of readings on four sides at a distance of seven meters at maximum engine speed for compacting with vehicle stationary shall not exceed 79 dB(A) after October 1, 1980, and 76 dB(A) after July 1, 1982.

(d) Places of entertainment. Noise levels and conditions of operation shall conform to title 9, chapter 7 of the city code.

(e) Noises--rail rapid transit systems.

(1) It shall be unlawful to operate or permit to be operated a rail rapid transit system including but not limited to its rolling stock, track and track beds, passenger stations, tunnels, elevated structures, yards, depots and garages in violation of any of the provisions of this subsection.

(2) It shall be unlawful to operate or permit to be operated in the city a rail rapid transit system train which emits maximum transient noise levels in excess of those set forth in Table VI, below. The measurement of sound or noise shall be made with sound level meters, type 1 or type 2 meeting the standards prescribed by the American National Standards Institute, Inc., New York, New York. A calibration shall be made of the sound level meter before and after any noise measurement. The slow meter response of the sound level meter shall be used. Measurement shall be not less than three and one-half feet above ground and a windscreen for the microphone shall be used when required. For purposes of this subsection, the limiting noise level set forth in part(c) of Table VI below shall be deemed to be the noise level applicable to transient noise which is emitted in an area that is not a residential, commercial or industrial use area.

TABLE VI
LIMITING NOISE LEVELS*
(Above ground trains)


(a) Residential

75 dB(A)

(b) Commercial

80 dB(A)

(c) Industrial

90 dB(A)

*At a point 100 feet from track center line, or the nearest nonindustrial property line, whichever is the greater distance from the track center line.

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Sec. 11-5-6 Exemptions.

The following uses and activities shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter:

(1) Noises of safety signals, warning devices, and emergency pressure relief valves.

(2) Noises resulting from any authorized police, fire or emergency vehicle, when responding to an emergency call or acting in time of emergency.

(3) Noises resulting from emergency work as defined in section 11-5-2.

(4) Any other noise resulting from activities of a temporary duration permitted by law and for which a license or permit therefor has been granted by the city in accordance with section 11-5-7.

(5) Any aircraft operated in conformity with, or pursuant to federal law, federal air regulations, and air traffic control instruction used pursuant to and within the duly adopted federal air regulations. Any aircraft operating under technical difficulties, in any kind of distress, under emergency orders of air traffic control or being operated pursuant to and subsequent to the declaration of an emergency under federal air regulations.

(6) Any railroad operated in conformity with, or pursuant to federal law or regulations.

(7) Work necessary to restore and maintain services provided by public service companies, the rail rapid transit system and the city.

(8) Noises resulting from the operation of rail rapid transit systems, provided the noise does not exceed the noise level set forth in subsection 11-5-5(e) of this chapter applicable on July 1, 1977 at the point at which the noise occurs.

(9) Interstate motor carriers, and medium and heavy trucks manufactured and operated in accordance with federal noise standards. Such vehicles may not be operated with a defective muffler or with tampered or missing noise control devices.


Sec. 11-5-7 Application for special permit.

(a) Applications for a permit for relief on the basis of undue hardship from a noise level or time limits designated in this chapter may be made to the city manager or his duly authorized representative. Any permit granted by the city manager hereunder shall contain all conditions upon which the permit has been granted and shall specify a reasonable time that the permit shall be effective. The city manager, or his duly authorized representative, shall grant the relief as applied for if he finds:

(1) that additional time is necessary for the applicant to alter or modify his activity or operation to comply with this chapter; or

(2) the activity, operation or noise source will be of temporary duration, or cannot be done in a manner that would comply with other subsections of this section, and that no other reasonable alternative is available to the applicant.

(b) The city manager, or his duly authorized representative, may prescribe any conditions or requirements he deems necessary to minimize adverse effects upon the community or the surrounding neighborhood.

(c) Any permit issued pursuant to this chapter shall be valid no longer than three years from the date it is issued. Upon the expiration of any such permit no new permit may be issued except in compliance with all the provisions of this section. (Code 1963, Sec 22A-7)

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Sec. 11-5-8 Administration.

(a) The director shall be charged with administering and enforcing the provisions of this chapter.

(b) The city manager shall, upon the request of the director, allocate such resources of the police department as the city manager shall deem necessary to assist the director in the administration and enforcement of the provisions of this chapter.

(b.1) The fire marshal, deputy fire marshals, new construction inspectors and existing structures inspectors within the code enforcement bureau shall have concurrent jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of this chapter relating to construction, construction devices and power equipment as defined in section 11-5-2 of this Code.

(c) The engineer and the director shall whenever possible coordinate their activities to the end that noise pollution in the city is regulated, prevented, abated and controlled.

(d) In addition to any other powers vested in him, the director may, subject to the availability of funds:

(1) conduct studies, investigations and research relating to noise pollution and its prevention, abatement and control;

(2) issue such orders as may be necessary to effectuate the purposes of this chapter and enforce the same by all appropriate administrative and judicial proceedings;

(3) hold hearings relating to any aspect of or matter in the administration of this chapter;

(4) secure necessary scientific, technical, administrative and operational services,including laboratory facilities, by contract or otherwise;

(5) prepare and develop a comprehensive plan or plans for the prevention, abatement and control of noise pollution;

(6) advise, consult and cooperate with other local governmental units, agencies of the state, industries, interstate or interlocal agencies and the federal government, and with interested persons and groups;

(7) review those matters having a bearing upon noise pollution referred by other agencies(such as planning, zoning, building and fire departments) and make reports, including recommendations, to the referring agencies with respect thereto;

(8) collect and disseminate information and conduct educational and training programs relating to noise pollution;

(9) encourage voluntary cooperation by persons or affected groups to achieve the purposes of this chapter;

(10) do any and all acts which may be necessary for the successful prosecution of the policy of this chapter and such other acts as may be specifically enumerated herein;

(11) prepare annually a report to the city council on progress in implementation and enforcement of the provisions of the noise control code and make recommendations to the council of any changes in the noise control code he deems desirable;

(12) may coordinate the noise control activities of all agencies and departments of the city government and advise, consult, cooperate and coordinate noise control activities with other local governmental units, state agencies, interstate and interlocal agencies, the federal government, and with interested persons and groups with respect to the provisions of this chapter;

(13) may make recommendations to the city council for changes to this chapter to make it consistent with all preemptive state and federal legislation.

(e) The city manager shall submit to the city council recommended noise design limits to be incorporated in city planning and zoning and the design and construction of buildings, streets and highways and in the routing and rerouting of motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic. (Code 1963, Sec. 22A-8; Ord. No. 4176, 12/16/00, Sec. 2)


Sec. 11-5-9 Inspections.

Any duly authorized officer, employee, or representative of the engineer or the director may, when granted permission by the owner, or some person with reasonably apparent authority to act for the owner, enter and inspect any property, premises or place at any reasonable time for the purpose of investigating or testing either an actual or suspected source of noise pollution, or of ascertaining the state of compliance with the chapter and regulations enforced pursuant thereto. (Code 1963, Sec. 22A-9)

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Sec. 11-5-10 Enforcement procedure.

(a) Whenever the director has reason to believe that a violation of any provision of this chapter or a rule or regulation issued pursuant thereto has occurred, he may give notice of the violation to the owner failing to comply with this chapter, ordering him to take such corrective measures as are necessary within a reasonable time thereafter. The notice and order shall be in writing and shall be served personally upon the person to whom directed, or if he be not found, by mailing a copy thereof by certified mail to his usual place of abode and conspicuously posting, a copy at the premises affected by notice and order, if any.

(b) Nothing in this chapter shall prevent the director from making efforts to obtain voluntary compliance through warning, conference or any other appropriate means. (Code 1963, Sec. 22A-10)

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Sec. 11-5-11 Emergency procedure.

Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter or any other provision of law, if the director finds that any owner is causing or contributing to noise pollution and that the causing or contributing to noise pollution creates an emergency which requires immediate action to protect the public health or safety, the director shall order the owner to reduce or discontinue immediately the causing or contributing to noise pollution and such order shall be complied with immediately. The order shall be deemed properly served if a copy thereof is delivered personally, or if the owner involved is not found, by mailing a copy thereof by certified mail to the owner involved at the premises involved or his business or residence address, if known, and by posting a copy thereof in a conspicuous place in or about the premises affected. (Code 1963, Sec. 22A-12)


Sec. 11-5-12 Penalties.

(a) Civil violation. Any person who commits, permits, assists in or attempts any violation of this chapter, whether by act or omission, shall be liable for a civil violation as follows:

(1) The first violation of this chapter by such person shall be punished by a civil penalty in the amount of $50.

(2) The second violation of this chapter committed by such person within seven days of the first violation shall be punished by a civil penalty in the amount of $100.

(3) The third and any subsequent violation of this chapter committed by such person within 14 days of the first violation shall be punished by a civil penalty in the amount of $500.

(b) Criminal violation. Any person who knowingly refuses or neglects to comply with any written order to cease or abate any violation of this chapter, issued by an authorized enforcement officer, shall be guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.

(c) Each hour of a continued violation shall constitute a separate offense under this chapter.

(d) Procedures.

(1) If an authorized enforcement officer determines that a violation of this chapter has occurred, the officer may cause a notice of the violation to be served on any or all persons committing, permitting, assisting in or attempting such violation.

(2) The notice shall provide that the person charged with a violation may elect to make an appearance in person, or in writing by mail, to the treasurer of the city, and admit liability for or plead no contest to the violation, abate the violation, and pay the civil penalty established for the violation, all within the time period fixed in the notice.

(3) If a person charged with a violation does not elect to admit liability or plead no contest, and abate the violation, the violation shall be tried in the Alexandria General District Court upon a warrant in debt or motion for judgment, with the same right of appeal as provided for civil actions at law.

In the event the violation exceeds the jurisdictional limits of the General District Court, the violation shall be tried in the Alexandria Circuit Court.

(4) A finding of admission of liability or a plea of no contest to a civil violation shall not be deemed a criminal violation for any purpose.

(5) A notice of civil violation, or a summons or arrest for a criminal violation, as provided in this section, may be issued or had, notwithstanding that no prior notice of violation and ordering of corrective measures as provided in section 11-5-10 has been given.

(6) The provisions for judicial review contained in section 11-5-16 shall have no application to notices of violation, or summons or arrests, issued or made under the provisions of this section. (Code 1963, Sec. 22A-13; Ord. No. 3726, 6/14/93, Sec. 2)

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Sec. 11-5-13 Additional remedy; injunction.

The operation or maintenance of any device, instrument, vehicle or machinery in violation of any provision hereof and which causes discomfort or annoyance to reasonable persons of normal sensitiveness or which endangers the health, comfort, safety, welfare and environment of residents in the area shall be deemed, and is declared to be, a public nuisance and may be subject to abatement by a restraining order or injunction issued by a court of competent jurisdiction. (Code 1963, Sec. 22A-14)


Sec. 11-5-14 Confidentiality of records.

Any records or other information which relate to processes or production unique to the owner or operator or which would tend to affect adversely the competitive position of the owner or operator shall be only for the confidential use of the director, the engineer and other departments, agencies and officers of the city, and appropriate federal and Commonwealth of Virginia noise pollution control officials, unless the owner or operator shall expressly agree to their publication or availability to the general public. Nothing herein shall be construed to prevent the use of such records or information by any department, agency or officer of the city in compiling or publishing analyses or summaries relating the general condition of the outside area; provided, that such analyses or summaries do not reveal any information otherwise confidential under this section. (Code 1963, Sec. 22A-15)


Sec. 11-5-15 Application of chapter.

Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to supplant or take the place of other provisions of the city code, as amended, or any other applicable provisions of law. (Code 1963, Sec. 22A-16)


Sec. 11-5-16 Judicial review.

(a) Any person directly and either jointly or severally aggrieved by a final order or a final decision of the director is entitled to judicial review thereof under this chapter in the Circuit Court of the City of Alexandria.

(b) Proceedings for review shall be instituted by filing a notice of appeal and a petition for review with the court within 30 days after the date of the final order or final decision and delivering, a copy of the notice and the petition to the director. The filing of an appeal shall not act to stay the order or the effect of the decision from which the appeal is taken. Within five working days after receipt the notice, the director shall file in the record of the suit a statement of the reason, including any finding of fact and/or conclusion of law, upon which the order or decision appealed from was based. Further proceedings shall be in accordance with equity jurisprudence and procedure. The court may render its judgment upon the record or it may hear such additional evidence as it deems proper.

(c) The court may affirm the final order or final decision from which an appeal has been taken or it may remand the matter for further proceedings; or it may reverse or modify the order or decision on appeal if the substantial rights of the appellant have been prejudiced because the order or decision of the director is:

(1) in violation of any constitutional provision;

(2) in excess of lawful authority or jurisdiction;

(3) made upon unlawful procedure;

(4) affected by other error of law;

(5) unsupported by the evidence on the record considered as a whole; or

(6) arbitrary, capricious or an abuse of discretion.

301 King Street, Room 3000
Alexandria, VA 22314
703.746.4065
FAX: 703.519.8354
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