Attorney John Mlnarik
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What Can I Do About a Noisy School?
Almost every private housing area as well as public ones prohibits undue, avoidable and excessive noise. For laws and ordinances that stipulate noise levels, law enforcement is allowed to give citations and tickets to those that violate these regulations.
Law enforcement is responsible for enforcing these laws when necessary, and tickets are to be paid within the designated time frame or offenders may face additional penalties. Each area is different based on roads, country, housing communities or city living. Each area has rules that may be reviewed at the local municipality.
Noise sometimes reduces the value of life. Quality of peace can only be maintained for so long, but with noise peace may be elusive. Noise can be considered pollution affecting the health of individuals that live and work in a community. Noise is usually a loud sound or sounds that cause disruptions of everyday activities. It distracts from what a person is doing and causes attention to shift. When prolonged, noise may affect the mood of those affected by it. Negative emotions may arise and plague entire families subjected to this particular pollution.
Types of Noise
Noise is classified through loudness and frequency. There are different factors that affect individuals in contrasting ways depending upon biology and temperament. Frequency is measured in Hertz. The higher this frequency, the more high-pitched a sound is heard. For example, drums have considerably lower frequencies than a whistle. The reaction of the ear to sound is reliant on frequency. The peak response for humans listening with the ear is around 2,500 to 3,000 Hertz. This level yields a comparatively low reaction.
The other factor for sound or noise is loudness. Loudness may be referred to as volume, and high volume usually has a greater pressure difference while a frail one has a lower pressure difference. Volume or loudness is usually known to be measured in decibels. An individual would find a measured decibel rating of 40db in a library when others are whispering. A dance club might have a much higher rating of 100db.
Injuries from Noise
Due to the amount of noise the ear is able to accept, there comes a point that the noise level harms the body. Permissible timeframes for sounds are explained with decibels. Generally over 85db, a person may suffer damage to his or her hearing. Prolonged exposure may cause lasting damage and reduce the level a person’s ear is able to hear.
Warranty of Quiet Enjoyment
A covenant of quiet enjoyment generally provides an implied warranty that the homeowner will be able to peacefully enjoy his or her property. This usually includes being able to exclude others from the property, the right to have peace and quiet and the right to be free from claims of others regarding the property.
Zoning Laws and Construction
Municipalities designate specific zones for construction of buildings or repairs. Generally, municipalities provide a higher noise volume for commercial properties than residential ones. Industrial areas allow for even higher noise levels. As part of some ordinances and zoning laws, residents are required to establish noise barriers with the use of soundproof insulation. For those houses not insulated with this barrier, these other areas are permitted by specific counties an allotted decibel level based on the type of noise.
Construction sites are usually allowed higher levels of noise during the day. For construction, noise levels are permissible for specified hours of the day only. Usually this includes Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for residential areas.
Schools are often allowed to have higher noise levels than residential areas. Typically, the highest decibel rating schools, hospitals, churches and libraries are allowed to have is no more than 65db for fifteen minutes or less. This level would correspond with regular sounds of traffic.
However, many noise ordinances specifically exempt schools, band activity or school events from enforcement of any such noise ordinances since these noises are generally perceived as reasonable and expected noises.
What is Not Covered in Noise Ordinances
Noise is permitted for construction within timeframes, and law enforcement may not stop this noise when within allowable operation. Typically, county or city law for noise ordinances does not encompass when animals are loud, motor vehicles, musical instruments are playing, sirens or horns go off, music from vehicles, human voicesa and special events. These issues are regular sounds an individual or group would hear or listen to in a residential and often commercial area. Law enforcement usually cannot site or ticket those within these parameters.
If a party believes that his or her right to quiet enjoyment is being disturbed or that he or she is being damaged by someone not complying with noise ordinances, he or she may decide to pursue a claim against the person or entity responsible for the noise. The party making the complaint will generally have the responsibility of showing that there is excessive and disturbing noise, the defendant is responsible for the noise, the party is negatively affected by the noise and the party has already requested the defendant stop the noise. A lawyer may be able to help in proving the case.