At Tuesday's Township Council meeting, an ordinance that targets reducing heavy bass rhythm from loud music was moved forward for a vote at the next meeting on Aug. 27. The alterations to the ordinance will bring the township closer to the Department of Environmental Protection's noise model.
"The preliminary recommendations from the (township) health department bring us more inline with the model noise ordinance to make it more user friendly and enforceable for our staff," said Township Attorney Don Sears during the meeting.
The township was prompted to push for changes after receiving several complaints regarding heavy bass rhythm, which falls under a different scale than other noise covered in the town's ordinance.
"We've had some issues with noise in town over the years, and one of the challenges we've faced in recent years is not from typical noise, but bass rhythm noise, which is measured differently against other noises," Sears said during a previous discussion on the issue.
The town's existing noise ordinance covers decibel sounds measured on an “A” weighted scale, while bass rhythm falls under a “C” weighted scale. The "C" scale is flat, and includes more of the low-frequency range of sounds than the "A" and "B" scales, according to HearForever.org.
The DEP's model ordinance includes noise that falls under the “C” weighted scale, while excluding nuisance complaints received without taking decibel readings. The DEP model states that between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., impulsive sound shall not equal or exceed 80 decibels, and between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., impulsive sound that occurs less than four times in any hour shall not equal or exceed 80 decibels.
According to the model ordinance, if a sound under investigation by a noise control officer is a "portable or vehicular sound amplification or reproduction device, the detection of the rhythmic bass component of the music is sufficient to verify plainly audible sound."Noise control officers would then have the authority to investigate violations of the ordinance and pursue enforcement.
Council members said the model ordinance puts township officials on more solid footing to crack down on noise nuisances.
"It's always difficult enforcing when you have a complaint. How do you enforce noise that's subjective," said Deputy Mayor Chris Killmurray during the meeting. "We need to be able to put objective material in our ordinance. If our professionals tell us this is the best way to measure noise then I will support it."