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May 12, 2023 DRAFT Noise Ordinance

**Note this is a draft only

Ordinance No.25

An Ordinance to Regulate Noise within the Town of Dewey

Section 1 – Title and Purpose

This ordinance is entitled an Ordinance to Regulate Noise within the Town of Dewey. The purpose of this ordinance is to regulate noise in the Town of Dewey. The Town Board has the authority to promote and protect the health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens and inhabitants of the Town. Pursuant to this end, the Town establishes this Ordinance to regulate noise within the Town’s borders.

Section 2 – Statutory Authority

The Town Board of the Town of Dewey, Portage County, Wisconsin, has the specific authority, power and duties pursuant to Wisconsin Statutes, Chapter 60.

Section 3 – Adoption of Ordinance

The Town Board, by this Ordinance, adopted on proper notice with a quorum and roll call vote by a majority of the Town Board present and voting, provides the authority for the Town Board to regulate noise within the Town of Dewey. A Public Hearing was held before the adoption of this Ordinance and notice of the hearing was given by publication of a Class 2 Notice, under Ch. 985, Wis. Stats.

Section 4 – Findings and Declaration of Policy

It is found that noises which are unnecessary, excessive, unnatural, annoying, prolonged or unusually loud in relationship to their time or place are a public nuisance and are detrimental to the public health, safety, welfare, comfort, repose, peace and prosperity of the Town; and noise or noise levels which, under some circumstances, would be normal and acceptable, may become unnecessary, excessive, unnatural, annoying, prolonged or unusually loud in relationship to their time or place.

Section 5 – Applicability

This ordinance shall apply to any noise that originates from or can be heard within any area zoned Residential, Agricultural, or Commercial.

Section 6 – Definitions

The following definitions shall be applicable in this ordinance;
(A) “Loud and unnecessary noise” means any sound which (a) endangers or injures the safety
or health of humans or animals, or (b) annoys or disturbs a reasonable person of normal
sensitivities, or (C) endangers or injures persons or real property. Loud and unnecessary
noises that are plainly audible at the property line of the property, building, structure or
vehicle in which it is located shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this ordinance.
(B) Unnecessary noises shall be defined as follows: In addition to other loud and unnecessary
noise, the following shall specifically be prohibited:
(1) Between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day in such a manner as to
be plainly audible at the property line, building or structure, or 25 feet from a vehicle
in which it is located; or
(2) At any time of day in such a manner as to be plainly audible in any room in any
dwelling unit located in any adjacent or nearby premises; or
(3) At any time of day in such a manner as to be plainly audible at 50 feet from such
device, when operated in or on a motor vehicle on a public right-of-way or public
space, or on a boat on public waters.

Section 7 – Loud and Unnecessary Noise Prohibited

Between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. it shall be unlawful for any person to make, continue, or cause to be made or continue any loud and unnecessary noise; it shall further be unlawful for any person to knowingly or wantonly use or operate, or to cause to be used or operate, any mechanical device, machine, apparatus, or instrument for intensification, amplification of the human voice or any sound or noise in any public or private place in such a manner that persons owning, using, or occupying property in the surrounding area are disturbed or annoyed. Normal agricultural activities and gun clubs exempt by law are specifically exempt from this Ordinance. Noncommercial public speaking and public assembly activities conducted on any public space or public right-of-way shall be exempt from the operation of this Ordinance except with using the device between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. the following day, such that the sound therefrom is plainly audible across a real property boundary.

Section 8 – Variance Permits

Variance Permits may be issued by the Town Board to exceed the noise standards set forth in this Ordinance as follows:
(A) Temporary Variance Permits.
(1) General. A Temporary Variance Permit may be issued upon request provided that the
activity producing such noise is necessary to promote the public health and/or welfare
and reasonable steps are taken to keep such noise at the lowest possible practical

(2) Special Community Events. A Temporary Variance Permit may be issued for special
events, such as festivals, 4th of July celebrations and similar community events, which
are limited in duration and are generally acceptable to the people of the community;
provided that precautions are taken to maintain the noises produced at the lowest
practical level.
(3) Procedure to Obtain a Variance Permit. Applications for Temporary Variance Permits
must be made in writing to the Town Clerk no less than thirty (30) days before the
commencement of the noise-producing activity and shall contain all of the following
pertinent information:
(a) Dates requested;
(b) Time and place of operation;
(c) Equipment and operation involved;
(d) Necessity for such permit
(e) Steps to be taken to minimize noise; and
(f) Name of responsible person(s) who will be present at the operation site
when noise is produced.
The Town Clerk shall send a notice to all adjoining landowners no less than thirty (30)
days before commencement of the noise-producing activity. Said notice shall include a
copy of the Application described herein and the date, time and location of the hearing
on the Application.
The Town Board may shorten the thirty (30) day application period upon a showing of
good cause. Additionally, the Town Chair may issue a Temporary Permit if the Chair
determines that extraordinary or emergency circumstances exist. Such a permit shall
last for the duration determined by the Chair, but no longer than the next regular
meeting of the Town Board, at which time the Town Board shall determine whether to
continue the Temporary Permit. Issuance of a Temporary Permit shall not replace the
procedure for a Variance Permit unless determined by the Board in each case.
(B) Variance Permits of Indefinite Duration.
(1) It is recognized that it is not technically or economically feasible for certain business
operations and equipment to comply with the standards set forth herein as of the date
of this Ordinance. The Town Board may therefore issue a Variance Permit on existing
business operations and equipment which produces excessive noise if it is found that it
is not technically or economically feasible to alter such operation to reduce noise to
within the prescribed standards set forth in this Ordinance. Applications for such
variances must be made to the Town Clerk by an affected party in a letter setting forth
the reasons that such variance should be granted. The Town Board, after a public
hearing and review of all circumstances and the degree of nuisance, may grant the
variance, deny the variance, or set forth conditions or limitations under which the
variance will be granted. Fees for a Variance Permit shall be set from time to time by
the Town Board. Fees for a Temporary Variance Permit shall be in the same amount
and in addition to the fee for a Variance Permit.
(2) In the event the Town Board or any law enforcement officer issues an order citing a
violation of this Ordinance on an existing business operation or equipment and the
party cited applies for a variance within ten (10) days of such citation, then all
penalties provided shall be tolled from the date the application is filed until a final
order or decision has been issued on the merits of the application.

Section 9 – Exemptions

(A) Public Utilities, Public Works. This ordinance shall not apply to public utilities and public
works projects and operations during the daytime hours from Monday through Saturday,
inclusive; provided, however, that noise production shall be minimized through proper
equipment operation and maintenance. Stationary equipment on projects lasting more
than ten (10) days within residential districts shall be shielded or located so as not to
cause unnecessary noise.
(B) Emergency Operations. Emergency short-term operations which are necessary to protect
the health and welfare of the citizens; such as, emergency utility and street repair, fallen
tree removal or emergency fuel delivery, shall be exempt from this ordinance, provided
that reasonable steps shall be taken by those in charge of such operations to minimize
noise emanating from the same.
(C) Noise Required by Law. The provisions of this Ordinance shall not apply to any noise
required specifically by law for the protection of safety of people or property, including
but not limited to police and emergency vehicle sirens, fire alarms and tornado sirens.
(D) Lawn Mowers, Garden Tools, Etc. Power equipment such as lawn mowers, small lawn and
garden tools, riding tractors and snow removal equipment which is necessary for the
maintenance of property, if such equipment is kept in good working order, shall be
exempted from this ordinance. However, no person shall operate such equipment, with
the exception of snow removal equipment, between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00
a.m., inclusive.

Section 10 – Enforcement

This ordinance may be enforced by the Town Board, any local or state health official, or any law enforcement official authorized to act within the Town of Dewey. The Town Board, by resolution, may also designate such other officials or individuals as the Town Board deems appropriate to enforce this Ordinance.

Section 11 – Penalties

Each person or entity found to be in violation of any of the provisions of this ordinance shall for each offense be punished by a forfeiture of not less than Twenty Five Dollars ($25.00) and more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), and in default of payment thereof imprisonment not to exceed Thirty (30) days for each violation. Each day of a continuing violation shall be deemed a separate violation. The standard forfeiture for violation of this ordinance shall be One Hundred Dollars ($100.00).

Section 12 – Injunction: Additional Remedy

The operation of any device, equipment, instrument, vehicle, or machinery in violation of any provision of this Ordinance, or any other violation of this Ordinance, shall be deemed and is declared to be, a public nuisance and may be subject to abatement by a restraining order or injunction issued by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Section 13 – Severability

The provisions of this ordinance shall be deemed severable and it is expressly declared that the Town would have passed the other provisions of this ordinance irrespective of whether or not one or more provisions may be declared invalid. If any provisions of this ordinance or the application to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the remainder of the ordinance and the application of such provisions to other persons or circumstances shall not be deemed affected.

Section 14 – Effective Date

This ordinance shall become effective upon its publication and/or posting in the manner set forth in s. 60.80, Wis. Stats.

Adopted this day of
By the Town Board of the Town of Dewey, Portage County

Maurice King, Chairperson

Dennis Meis, Supervisor

Dennis Hintz, Supervisor

Attest: ________________________________
Angela Lochinger, Clerk