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First Reading:

September 28,

2015
Second Reading:
Third Reading:
Public Hearing:
STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
)
COUNTY OF FAIRFIELD
)

)
ORDINANCE NO. 655

AN ORDINANCE TO REGULATE EXCESSIVE NOISE IN THE UNINCORPORATED


AREAS OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY, TO PROVIDE FOR PENALTIES THEREOF, AND TO
REPEAL ORDINANCE NUMBER 520.
WHEREAS, the Fairfield County Council wishes to insure the peace, health, safety,
and welfare of the citizens of Fairfield County, and
WHEREAS, the Fairfield County Council wishes to provide regulation concerning noise
pollution, without infringing upon the rights of private individuals or property owners.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT ENACTED BY THE FAIRFIELD COUNTY COUNCIL that
the following regulations concerning noise pollution shall be placed into effect
immediately:
A. Definitions: As used in this Ordinance, the following terms have the indicated
meaning:
(1)Decibel (dB) is a unit of level which denotes the ratio between two (2) quantities
which are proportional to power; the number of decibels corresponding to the
ration of two (2) amounts of power is (10) times the logarithm to the base ten
(10) of this ratio.
(2)Excessive noise means any noise prohibited by section (B) of this Ordinance.
(3)Impulsive Sound is a sound of short duration, usually less than one second, with
an abrupt onset and rapid decay. By way of example impulsive sound shall
include, but not be limited to, explosions, musical base drum beats, or the
discharge of firearms.
(4)Residential areas means areas of the County containing single family and
multifamily dwellings, including houses, apartments, condominium projects,
mobile homes and mobile home parks.
(5)Non-residential areas shall mean any real property in the County which is not
included in the definition of residential areas as defined in this section.
(6)Sound Level (Noise Level) in decibels (dB) is the sound measured with the A
weighting and slow response by a sound level meter; except for impulsive or
rapidly varying sounds, the fast response shall be used. Traffic, aircraft, and

other background sounds shall be considered in taking noise measurements,


when such background sound interferes with the primary noise being measured.

(7)Sound Level Meter is an instrument including a microphone, an amplifier, an


output meter, and A frequency weighting network for the measurement of
sound levels that conforms to American National Institute (ANSI) Standard S 1.41971 Specifications for Sound Level Meters or the latest revision.
(8)Supplementary Definitions of Technical Terms. Definitions of technical terms not
defined herein shall be obtained from American Standard Acoustical
Terminology S1-1-1971 or the most recent revision thereof.
(B) Prohibited acts. It shall be unlawful for any person, business, partnership,
or corporation to create disturbing and excessive noise within any
unincorporated area of the County as provided for in this section.
(1)

Continuous sound levels from a facility or property shall not exceed the
maximum limits established in Table I, as measured from the nearest
property line occupied by the complainant within the specified areas:
Table 1
Maximum Sound

Level
Location Receiving the Noise Hours of the Day
Weighted Decibels
In a residential area
6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
In a non-residential area

6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.


10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

In A70 dBA
65 dBA
75 dBA
70 dBA

(2)

For any source of non-impulsive sound that continues uninterrupted for


no longer than 60 seconds, and is non-repetitive, the maximum sound
level limits set forth in Table 1 shall be increased by 10 dBA from 6:00
a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

(3)

For any source of impulsive sound, the maximum sound level limits in
Table 1 shall be increased by 10 dBA from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

(C) Exemptions: The following are exempt from action pursuant to this
Ordinance.
(1)Noise arising from normal farm or agricultural activities, including the use
of agricultural equipment, farm animals and logging activities.

(2)Noise arising from construction or demolition activities occurring between


6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Construction activity means any site
preparation, assembly, erection, repair, alteration, or similar activity and
any associated equipment use or testing.
(3) Single-family residential air-conditioning units in reasonable mechanical
condition operating within standard noise specifications.
(4)Noise created by any mobile source while in operation on or in any public
road, water, air space, or public or private railway, so long as the exhaust
creating the noise is properly vented through a muffler or other device
which will effectively prevent loud or explosive noises therefrom.
(5)Noise created by any aircraft or generated in connection with the
operation of any airport.
(6)Noise arising from lawn care, soil cultivation, domestic power tools,
maintenance of trees, hedges, gardens, saws, and tractors, or mosquito
fogging, between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
(7)Noise created by animals being used for sporting, hunting or taking
wildlife, or noise made by animals during the course of lawful training.
(8)Noise associated with or resulting from the normal operations of any
animal shelter, animal adoption center, boarding facility, professional
kennel, pet shop, dealer or business.
(9)Noise associated with the legal operation of any firearm at any shooting
club or range business, hunt club, clay sporting location or event between
6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
(10) Noise associated with the legal operation of any firearm while hunting.
(11) Noise created by the discharge of firearms by any certified law
enforcement officers or security personnel in the performance of their
official duties or during the course of official firearms training.
(12) Noise associated with any event held in recognition of a community
celebration of national, state or County events or public festivals.
(13) Noise associated with any public or private school activity or camp
activity as any function or activity approved by or generally associated
with any recognized public or private camp for children.
(14) Noise associated with the chimes or bells of businesses, schools, camps or
religious institutions between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

(15) Noise resulting from operations of any construction, commercial,


industrial or agricultural activities between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
(16) Noise resulting from any authorized emergency vehicles when responding
to an emergency call or acting in time of emergency, or from emergency
work.
(17) Noise resulting from devices used solely for the purpose of warning,
protecting, or alerting the public, of the existence of an emergency
situation.
(18) Public Utilities regulated pursuant to Title 58 of the South Carolina Code of
Laws.
(19) No prohibition contained in this section shall apply to any permitted public
performance, gathering, or parade, or to any public performance,
gathering, or activity conducted, sponsored, or cosponsored by Fairfield
County.
(D) Specific prohibitions. The following acts are specifically prohibited in
residential areas, as further illustrations, or in addition to the general
prohibitions contained in section (B), and not, in any form or interpretation, in
lieu of the general prohibitions contained above:
(1)Horns/signaling devices. The sounding of any horn or signaling device on,
by, or in any motor vehicle, street or public place in the unincorporated
area of this County that continues uninterrupted for longer than 60
seconds, except as a danger warning.
(2)Radios, televisions, musical instruments, and similar devices.
(a) The operating or playing of any radio, musical instrument, and devices

commonly known as boom boxes or similar device which produces or


reproduces sound on the public rights of way, other than as specified in
subsection(2)b., below in such manner as to be plainly audible to any
person other than the operator of the device.
(b)The operating or playing of any radio/boom box, television,
phonograph, musical instrument or similar device which produces or
reproduces sound in a motor vehicle or public area or area with public
access or in public use, in a manner as to be plainly audible at a
distance of 100 feet or inside any residence other than the source of
the sound.
(3)Emergency signaling devices. Subject to the exemptions of subsection (c)
herein,

(a) Except in case of an emergency, the intentional sounding of any alarm


between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
(b)The testing of any alarm for a period in excess of 60 seconds at any
time.
(c) The testing of a complete emergency signaling system, including the
signaling device and the personnel response to the signaling device,
more than once in each calendar month, and the sounding of the
emergency signaling system for a period in excess of 15 minutes.
(4)The discharge into the open air of the exhaust of any steam engine,
stationary internal combustion engine, motor boat or motor vehicle
except through a muffler or other device which will effectively prevent
loud or explosive noises therefrom.
(5)The creation of excessive noise on any street adjacent to any school,
institute of learning, church or court while the same are in use, or
adjacent to any hospital, which unreasonably interferes with the workings
of such institution, or which disturbs or unduly annoys patients in the
hospital, provided conspicuous signs are displayed in such street
indicating that the same is a school, hospital or court street.
(E) Variance Conditions. Any person or business that owns or operates any
noise source may apply to the County for a variance from one or more of the
provisions of this Ordinance.
(1)
Applications for a permit of variance shall supply information including,
but not limited to:
(a) The nature and location of the noise source for which such application
is made;
(b)The reason for which the permit of variance is requested, including the
hardship that will result to the applicant or his/her client if the permit of
variance is not granted;
(c) The level of noise that will occur during the period of the variance;
(d)The section or sections of this Ordinance for which the permit of
variance shall apply.
(2)
Failure to supply the information required by the County shall be cause
for rejection of the application.

(3)
A copy of the permit of variance must be kept on file by the County
Planning and Zoning Department for public inspection.
(4)
The County shall charge the applicant a fee of $100.00, to be paid at
the time the application is submitted, to cover expenses associated with
the processing of the permit of variance application.
(5)
The County may, at its discretion, limit the duration of the permit
variance, which shall be no longer than 1 year.

(6)
The County shall not approve a variance unless the applicant presents
adequate proof that:
(a) Noise levels occurring during the period of the variance will not
constitute a danger to public health; and
(b)Compliance with the Ordinance would impose an unreasonable
hardship on the applicant without equal or greater benefits to the
public.
(7)
In making the determination of granting a variance, the County shall
consider:
(a) The character and degree of injury to, or interference with, the health
and welfare or the reasonable use of property that is caused or
threatened to be caused;
(b)The social and economic value of the activity for which the variance is
sought; and
(c) The ability of the applicant to apply the best practical noise control
measures.
(8)
The County may revoke the permit of variance if the holder of the
variance permit violates its terms.
(9)

The County may revoke the variance if there is:


(a) Violation of one or more conditions of the variance;
(b)Material misrepresentation of fact in the variance application; or
(c) Material change in any of the circumstances relied on by the County in
granting the variance.

(10) Any person or business holding a permit of variance may apply for an
extension or new
permit of variance under the provisions herein. If
such an application is submitted within 14 days before the expiration of a
permit of variance, the variance shall remain in
effect until the County
takes action on the application.
(F) Violations. Any person deemed to be in violation of this Ordinance shall be
charged with a misdemeanor. A first conviction shall be punishable by a fine of
no less than $100.00 and no more than $200.00. A second and any subsequent
conviction shall be punishable by a fine of no less than $150.00 and no more
than $250.00, or imprisonment not exceeding 30 days, or both.

(G) Enforcement.
The Fairfield County Sheriffs Office shall enforce the
provisions of this Ordinance.
(a) In the enforcement of standards established in this Ordinance, an
enforcement officer may be required to exercise judgment in
determining if a particular noise annoys, disturbs, injures, or endangers
the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of others and is in
violation of this article or is sufficiently loud or otherwise so offensive
that it would unreasonably disturb other persons in the vicinity.
(b)When making such determinations the enforcement officer shall
consider the following factors:
a. The volume of the noise.
b. The intensity of the noise.
c. Whether the nature of the noise is usual or unusual.
d. Whether the origin of the noise is natural or unnatural.
e. The volume and intensity of the background noise, if any.
f.

The proximity of the noise to residential sleeping facilities.

g. The nature and zoning of the area within which the noise
emanates.
h. The time of day or night the noise occurs.
i. The duration of the noise.
j.

Whether the noise is recurrent, intermittent or constant.

(H) Severability. Should a court of competent jurisdiction hold any section,


paragraph or provision of this Ordinance invalid or unconstitutional, such
declaration shall not affect the validity of the Ordinance as a whole or any part

or provision thereof, other than the part so decided to be invalid or


unconstitutional.
(I) Conflicting Ordinances. Any Ordinance or parts of Ordinances in conflict with
this Ordinance or inconsistent with its provisions are hereby repealed or
superseded to the extent necessary to give this Ordinance full force and effect.
(J) Effective Date. This Ordinance shall take effect on the date of its adoption.

ADOPTED this _____ day of ________________, 2015, BY ORDER OF THE FAIRFIELD


COUNTY COUNCIL.

____________________________
Carolyn B. Robinson
Chairman, District 2

______________________________
Kamau Marcharia
Vice Chairman, District 4

____________________________
Daniel W. Ruff, III
Member, District 1

_______________________________
Walter Larry Stewart
Member, District 3

____________________________
Marion B. Robinson
Member, District 5

_______________________________
Mary Lynn Kinley
Member, District 6

_____________________________
William B. Smith, Jr.
Member, District 7
ATTEST:
______________________________
Shryll M. Brown
Clerk to Council