Noise is a common part of everyday life, but when it becomes excessive and disruptive, it can be a major source of frustration for residents and businesses alike. This is where noise ordinances come into play. These are laws that regulate the amount of noise that is acceptable in a certain area, with the goal of maintaining peace and quiet for everyone.
What are Noise Ordinances?Noise ordinances are policies put in place by local governments to control and limit the amount of noise in a specific area. These policies are typically enforced by the police or other designated authorities.
They can cover a wide range of sources of noise, including construction sites, loud music, barking dogs, and more. In Panama City, FL, noise ordinances fall under the jurisdiction of the city's Code Enforcement Division. The division is responsible for enforcing all city codes and ordinances, including those related to noise.
Types of Noise OrdinancesThere are two main types of noise ordinances: decibel-based and time-based. Decibel-based ordinances set a maximum level of noise that is allowed in a certain area. This is measured in decibels (dB) and can vary depending on the time of day and location.
For example, residential areas may have a lower decibel limit during nighttime hours compared to commercial areas. Time-based ordinances, on the other hand, restrict certain activities or sources of noise during specific times of the day. For example, construction work may only be allowed during certain hours to avoid disturbing residents during their sleep.
Panama City's Noise OrdinancesIn Panama City, FL, there are specific noise ordinances that residents and businesses must adhere to. These ordinances are outlined in Chapter 14 of the city's Code of Ordinances. According to Section 14-1, it is unlawful for any person to make, continue, or cause to be made or continued any loud, unnecessary, or unusual noise that disturbs the peace and quiet of any neighborhood or person. This includes noises that are plainly audible at a distance of 50 feet from the source. Section 14-2 outlines specific prohibited noises, including but not limited to:
- Construction Noise: Construction work is only allowed between the hours of 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM on weekdays and between 9:00 AM and 7:00 PM on Saturdays.
No construction work is allowed on Sundays or federal holidays.
- Vehicle Noise: The use of horns, sirens, or other loud devices on vehicles is prohibited except in cases of emergency.
- Animals: It is unlawful for any person to keep an animal that makes frequent or long-continued noise that disturbs the peace and quiet of any neighborhood.
- Loud Music: Playing loud music or other sounds that are plainly audible at a distance of 50 feet from the source is prohibited.
Enforcement and PenaltiesThe Code Enforcement Division is responsible for enforcing noise ordinances in Panama City. If a violation is reported, an officer will investigate and determine if a violation has occurred. If a violation is found, the officer will issue a warning or citation to the responsible party. Penalties for violating noise ordinances can range from a warning to a fine of up to $500.
In some cases, the city may also seek an injunction to stop the noise from continuing.