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Noise Control

Takoma Park Noise Control Law

Takoma Park has a noise control law to protect public health and allow for the peaceful enjoyment of property. It provides common sense guidelines for residents and businesses. It also provides remedies, including corrective orders, fines, and criminal penalties.

View the complete Noise Control Ordinance

It is unlawful to create a noise disturbance. A “noise disturbance” is a sound that is:

  • Unpleasant, annoying, offensive, loud, or obnoxious; or
  • Detrimental to the health, comfort, or safety of any individual, or to the reasonable enjoyment of property or to the lawful conduct of business because of the loudness, duration, or character of the noise.

While we cannot eliminate noise in our community, we can take steps to control it.

Key Provisions of the Noise Control Law:

Provides day/night sound level limits. (However, a sound level meter measurement is not required to establish a noise disturbance.)

  • Daytime – 65 decibels
  • Nighttime – 60 decibels

Establishes a Noise Control Board

  • Assists and advises the City on noise control issues.
  • Holds hearings and decides on two-party noise complaints.

The law does not cover noise from:

  • Aircraft and railroads, motor vehicles on public roadways
  • Emergency operations by police, fire or public utilities
  • City services or City-sanctioned events

Guidelines for Good Neighbors

Common types of Noise:

  • Heating or Cooling Equipment
  • Music and PA Systems
  • Noisy Neighbors
  • Yard Maintenance and Leaf Blowers
    Construction

Each of us can play a part in reducing noise levels and being a good neighbor.

  • Monitor the volume of televisions, radios, and other sound-producing equipment, especially during nighttime. Pay particular attention to bass controls.
  • Use manual tools such as brooms and rakes for cleaning porches, patios, and driveways. Reserve power tools like leaf blowers for large jobs that cannot be done manually.
  • Consider the impact of noise from power tools in your home, garage, or outdoors.
  • Consider noise control when building, renovating, or buying/renting equipment.
  • Check central and window air conditioning units periodically to ensure that they are operating as quietly as possible.
  • Do not let dogs bark constantly.

Solving Community Noise Problems

Many noise problems can be resolved through the same methods used to solve other disputes. Tactful person-to-person communication is a good way to start.

Remember, self-monitoring and mutual cooperation are essential to stopping problems before they happen.

Noise Disturbances in Multi-Family Buildings

If tactful communications won’t solve noise issues between neighbors in apartments, there are options:

1. In rentals, communicate with the tenant association (if applicable), building manager, or owner.
2. In a condominium, communicate with the condo board or building manager.
3. Mediation can be an option IF neighbors are willing to participate.
4. If two units are affected by the noise disturbance, residents can file a two-party noise complaint.

Businesses Can Be Good Neighbors Too!

During nighttime hours, businesses (especially those near residences) should avoid:

• Construction and landscaping activities
• Loading and unloading goods and materials
• Use of electric sound and public address equipment
• Use of power equipment mounted on motor vehicles

Resources

View or download a brochure prepared by the Noise Control Board.

When Noise Disturbances Don’t Stop, You Have Options

When noise disturbances continue despite attempts to resolve the problem, stronger actions may be warranted.

One-Time Disturbance

While the noise disturbance is happening, call the Takoma Park Police Department at 301-270-1100.

Ongoing or Persistent Noise Problems

Email neighborhoodservices@takomaparkmd.gov
or call 301-891-7113 to request that the Neighborhood Services Division investigate a noise complaint.

Two-Party Noise Complaints and Noise Control Board Hearings

Two residents (from different households) can file a written noise complaint and request a hearing. The complaint must be filed within 10 days of a specific noise disturbance.

During a Noise Control Board hearing, the complainants can describe (and provide evidence of) their concerns. The individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed can respond. The Noise Control Board will decide what, if any, measures are necessary to ensure compliance with Takoma Park Noise Control Law. A failure to comply with the Noise Control Board’s order can result in fines.

What to Expect at a Noise Control Board Hearing

Having an Event with Amplified Sound?

You may need to request a temporary waiver of the Noise Control Ordinance.

Request a waiver as far in advance as possible, but at least two weeks before the event.

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