Central Falls, RI – With warm summer weather right around the corner, Central Falls City Council President Robert Ferri is leading the effort to educate the public about the city’s noise ordinance (full ordinance below). The campaign is a collaboration between schools, law enforcement, and City Hall to reach residents who may not be aware of the city’s ordinance designed to curb excessive noise and protect the quality of life in the community
The city’s noise ordinance was last updated in 2015 and works to prohibit unreasonable and excessive noise levels from buildings and vehicles, at all hours of the day, which become an annoyance to residents. Those found in violation of the noise ordinance are subject to fines of $100 for a first time offense, $200 for a second offense, and a $500 fine for subsequent infractions.
“I would like to commend the efforts of Council President Ferri for taking the proactive steps to educate our residents about something that is often forgotten,” said Central Falls Police Chief, Col. James Mendonca. “The best way to achieve compliance is to educate and foster a culture of respect among neighbors. We realize that music often accompanies outdoor activities and are reminding residents to be considerate of the community.”
The campaign’s outreach efforts will include notification on the city’s website and social media accounts, notices at schools, and face-to-face education by Central Falls Police Department’s Community Policing Bureau.
The city’s noise ordinance campaign began on June 14th, in advance the start of the summer season.
Central Falls Noise Ordinance
Section 1: Division 2 “Noise,” of Article III “Offenses involving public peace and order,” of Chapter 26 “Offenses and Miscellaneous Provisions” is hereby amended as follows:
Sec. 26-114. Penalty.
The penalty for the first violation of this division shall be a fine of $100.00, a second violation of this division shall be a fine of $200.00 and a third and any subsequent violation shall be a fine of $500.00. Each fine shall be appealable to the municipal court.
Sec. 26-115. Declaration of policy.
It is hereby declared to be the policy of the city to prohibit unreasonable, excessive and annoying noise levels from all sources subject to its police power. The noise being generated may originate from radios, CD players, DVD players, tape players, televisions and other audio-producing equipment.
Sec. 26-116. Enforcement.
The police chief or his designee shall train personnel in the proper use of sound level meters and criteria necessary for the enforcement of the provisions of this article.
Sec. 26-117. Violations of acceptable noise levels.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to operate any equipment from which the sound created by this equipment is capable of penetrating a closed vehicle from 20 feet away from the locations at which the sound is being generated, or heard from 100 feet away by a person outside from which the sound is originating. This division shall include, but not be limited to, sound electronically generated by autos, trucks, scooters, motor homes, mobile homes, houses, apartment buildings, condominiums, commercial buildings, lawn maintenance equipment, or from any type of portable sound producing equipment that can be carried or placed outdoors which through its operation exceeds the provisions of this division.
(b) All state and municipal vehicles shall be exempt from the provisions of this division, nor any person, firm, corporation or other legal entity which holds a valid state or municipal entertainment license to sponsor a parade, carnival or other similar special event.
Sec. 26-118. Stereos, radios, musical instruments and other noisemaking devices.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to use or operate any stereo, radio, musical instrument or other noisemaking device for the producing or reproducing of sound in such a manner so as to disturb the peace, quiet and comfort of reasonable persons.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to use or operate any stereo, radio, musical instrument or other noisemaking device for the producing or reproducing of sound within a motor vehicle such a manner as to disturb the peace, quiet, and comfort of reasonable persons.
(c) Any noise level exceeding the ambient base level, as defined in section 26-117 anywhere along the street property, or property lines of any property, or if in a condominium or apartment house with any adjoining apartment, by more than five decibels shall be deemed to be prima facie a violation of the provisions of this division. In the case of a motor vehicle, the noise level must exceed the ambient base level by more than five decibels at least three feet from the motor vehicle.
Sec. 26-119. Public Education.
The police and fire departments shall conduct public education and post public signage to promote compliance with the provisions of this division.
Secs. 26-120—26-149. Reserved.
Section 2: This ordinance shall take effect upon passage.
Introduction: July 13, 2015
First Reading: August 12, 2015
Second Reading/Second Passage: November 9, 2015