The Township Council Tuesday evening approved the first reading of an ordinance that seeks to mitigate the impact of thumping bass rhythm from loud music. The township was prompted to push for the 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," said Township Attorney Don Sears 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.
"We're looking to to follow the state guidelines on this issue," said Public Affairs Coordinator Ron Schmalz.
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.
The council ultimately decided a different course of action from the model ordinance left too much open to interpretation by the listener.
"The council debated this but felt it was best to follow the state's guidelines," said Public Affairs Coordinator Ron Schmalz.