Noise can be intrusive, distracting and even uncomfortable in certain situations. The city of Lawrence has adopted several ordinances intended to protect individuals from unreasonable intrusions caused by excessive, unnecessary or unusually loud noises.
14-413 EXCESSIVE NOISE CONSTITUTING DISTURBING THE PEACE
Statement of Intent. No provision of Sections 14-413 and 14-414 shall be construed to limit or abridge the rights of any person to speak, peacefully assemble and express opinions. It is the purpose of this ordinance to protect individuals from unreasonable intrusions caused by excessive, unnecessary or unusually loud noises. (Ord. 6088, PDF)
14-414 DISTURBING THE PEACE
It shall be unlawful for any person to make, continue, maintain or cause to be made or continue any excessive, unreasonable or unusually loud noise which disturbs, injures, endangers the repose, health, peace or safety of other people or ordinary sensitivity within the vicinity of the noise.
It shall be unlawful for any person to use, operate or permit the use or operation of any electronic device, radio, receiving set, television, musical instrument, phonograph or other machine or device for the producing or reproducing of sound in such manner as to disturb the peace, quiet or repose of the neighboring inhabitants of ordinary sensitivity.
No person shall participate in or be in any party or gathering of people from which sound emanates at a sufficient volume so as to disturb the peace, quiet or repose of the neighboring inhabitants of ordinary sensitivity. A police officer may order all such persons present at any such party or gathering to immediately disperse from the vicinity of any such party or gathering in lieu of being charged under this ordinance; provided; however, owners or tenants are not required to leave their own dwelling unit. Owners or tenants residing in the dwelling unit where the party or gathering occurs shall, upon request of a police officer, cooperate fully in abating the disturbance and failing to do so shall be in violation of this ordinance.
For the purposes of this ordinance, the term "neighboring inhabitants" includes those persons in single family dwellings, multiple family dwellings, boarding house rooms, hotel rooms or motel rooms within the vicinity of the noise. (Ord. 6088, PDF)
The following situations are exempt from noise ordinance regulations:
- Emergency work necessary to restore property to a safe condition or to protect a person and property from eminent danger;
- Emergency vehicles;
- Alarm systems;
- Trash and waste pickup operations;
- Aircraftor railroads;
- Noise resulting from the activities of a temporary duration planned by school/university, governmental or community groups;
- Air conditioners and lawn care equipment;
- Construction operations; and
- Church bells and campanile chimes. (Ord. 6088, PDF)
17-116.1 LOUD SOUND AMPLIFICATION
The City of Lawrence recognizes that loud vehicle stereo equipment has become a noise problem. Ordinance 17-116.1 was adopted on July 1, 1999, in order to deal with this problem. A violation of this ordinance can result in a traffic ticket with a minimum fine of $80. The ordinance states:
No person or persons operating or occupying a motor vehicle on any street, highway, alley, parking lot or driveway shall operate or permit the operation of any sound amplification system from within or upon the vehicle so that the sound is audible at a distance of fifty (50) feet or more from the vehicle. Nothing in this ordinance shall require the witnessing law enforcement officer to physically measure the distance from the officer to the allegedly offending vehicle operator and vehicle prior to the issuance of the citation.
Loud sound amplification devices used for public safety, emergency situation and authorized public events are exempt from this ordinance. (Ord. 7056, PDF)