Dependable Erection

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Notes on noise

From an NY times article on wind turbines producing too much noise:
Maine, along with many other states, puts a general limit on nighttime noise at 45 decibels — roughly equivalent to the sound of a humming refrigerator. A normal conversation is in the range of 50 to 60 decibels.

Emphasis mine.

From the Durham NC Code of Ordinances:
(d) Particular standards established:
(1) In addition to the violations established by subsections (a) and (b) of this section, no person shall cause, produce, or allow any mechanically or electronically produced or amplified sound that: (i) exceeds the levels set out in subsection (d) of this section as such sound is measured at any point beyond the boundary of the property from which the sound emanates, and (ii) is not authorized by a permit issued pursuant to the City Code or state or federal authority; or otherwise exempted from regulation by the exceptions established by subsection (e) of this section;
(2) No nighttime (11:00 p.m.--8:00 a.m.) sound level shall exceed 50 dB(A);
(3) No daytime or evening (after 8:00 a.m.--before 11:00 p.m.) sound level shall exceed 60 dB(A);

Got that?

Durham has a law which states that you can't make any mechanical or amplified sound that is audible beyond the boundary of your property louder than a typical conversation, and at night it can't even be that loud, unless you've got a permit.

Does every car that rattles my windows have a permit for amplified music? Or is this just another feel-good ordinance passed by our elected officials to tell themselves how wonderful the quality of life is here in Durham? Is there any enforcement mechanism for this section of the ordinance?



  • If I remember correctly, there is some old 'Derm story about the police spending a couple grand to buy a few noise measurement devices (sound-o-meters, perhaps?)

    The department then spent a few thousand more sending all patrol officers through training to use the device (and do so in a way that would allow them to testify at trial if need be).

    Then, it became apparent that having just 5 of these sound-o-meters between the entire patrol force was ineffective, and the devices were never around when needed.

    So, to this day, the sound-o-meters are sitting on a shelf collecting dust at HQ.

    Anyone else hear this tale?

    By Blogger Rob, at 6:05 PM  

  • I have heard that exact story.

    By Blogger Barry, at 6:09 PM  

  • I don't think they're enforcing the dog ordinances either.

    I wonder what percentage of Durham ordinances actually get enforced. I guess they enforce Murder, Rape, Larceny if you're lucky. (Those aren't ordinances, right? State law? I'm a bad citizen for even asking...)

    I remember driving through Maryland on I-95 seeing signs for the Ordinance Museum and wondering why anyone would want to see old municipal codes on display. I was misreading the signs...its an Ordnance Museum. I think the Durham Police are also more concerned with ordnances than ordinances.

    That's where my intellect is at 12:38 AM...

    By Blogger toastie, at 12:40 AM  

  • so the assumed 10pm rule isnt a good one when there's band practice at your house? :/

    By Blogger Vera, at 12:26 PM  

  • Depends on how soundproof the room is, how loud the music is, how far away the property line is, and how tolerant the neighbors are.

    I'd say, as a rule of thumb, if i can hear music from my neighbors house in my living room while my TV or stereo is on, then it's too loud.

    If my windows or pictures are rattling, it's too loud. If i can hear it over my lawnmower, it's too loud.

    By Blogger Barry, at 12:37 PM  

  • how about if you can hear it in a quiet house? all times of day?

    i ask these scenarios because i'm sure we've taken it for granted in spite of the measures we've always taken to be considerate. and no one has ever complained.

    standing outside the house it's never sounded to me much louder than a stereo playing inside the house. and times of day are always considered...but lord knows boys dont like practicing rock n roll in the daylight usually...

    By Blogger Vera, at 1:32 PM  

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