A noise ordinance is a law created at local levels that pertains to the amount of noise, duration of noise, and source of sounds other than ambient noise that affect a community’s inhabitants. Basically, the law defines which sounds are and are not acceptable at any given time so that residents can live comfortably within a community in terms of the sounds that they hear. A city or county noise ordinance is usually effective during certain times of the day. It typically applies at night during the times when most people sleep. Violations are often reported to police or local officials by individuals who are disturbed by sound and feel that an ordinance has been violated.
Sounds or noises that are usually defined in a noise ordinance are those commonly produced by residents, but many ordinances also include industrial and commercial facilities if they are located near residential areas. Examples of noises that might violate the law are barking dogs, loud music, power tools, cars or motorcycles with excessively loud engines, fireworks or explosives, and shouting. The ordinance is designed to keep a community’s residents comfortable in their own homes. In other words, if someone can hear noises while trying to sleep and those noises are intentionally caused by other residents in the area, he or she could report a violation of a noise ordinance. Many people have conflicting views of ordinances that limit sound, with the opposition claiming that such laws violate certain rights.
Noise ordinances are handled differently by every community, with some local officials continually reviewing their community’s ordinance and updating it as necessary. Some smaller communities may not enforce these laws at all. Other communities find that enforcing an existing laws are difficult because of different interpretations of the law.
People can find out whether there is a noise ordinance in their community by checking with local law enforcement officials or by reviewing their city’s official website. If someone believes a neighbor is violating a noise law, officials believe it is best to talk to the neighbor before making an official complaint. Local law enforcement should usually only be called if the neighbor cannot be contacted or is not responsive to complaints.