Skip to main content

What are the laws for excessive noise pollution and loud music in MA?

I live near a guy who is either deaf or the rudest dude on the planet. His stereo is booming at all odd hours of the night and keeps me and my wife up. What are the laws in Massachusetts about excessive noise and noise pollution?

 
Share this with your friends

Editor's Response

The MA Department of Environmental Protection has issued some regulations under the authority of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 111, Section 142B and D.  310 CMR 7.10 (subject to some rather complex enforcement provisions laid out in 310 CMR 7.52) states:
 
7.10: U Noise(1) No person owning, leasing, or controlling a source of sound shall willfully, negligently, orthrough failure to provide necessary equipment, service, or maintenance or to take necessaryprecautions cause, suffer, allow, or permit unnecessary emissions from said source of sound thatmay cause noise.(2) 310 CMR 7.10(1) shall pertain to, but shall not be limited to, prolonged unattendedsounding of burglar alarms, construction and demolition equipment which characteristically emitsound but which may be fitted and accommodated with equipment such as enclosures to suppresssound or may be operated in a manner so as to suppress sound, suppressible and preventableindustrial and commercial sources of sound, and other man-made sounds that cause noise.(3) 310 CMR 7.10(1) shall not apply to sounds emitted during and associated with:(a) parades, public gatherings, or sporting events, for which permits have been issuedprovided that said parades, public gatherings, or sporting events in one city or town do notcause noise in another city or town;(b) emergency police, fire, and ambulance vehicles;(c) police, fire, and civil and national defense activities;(d) domestic equipment such as lawn mowers and power saws between the hours of 7:00A.M. and 9:00 P.M.
 
 
More to the point, individual cities and towns are authorized to promulgate their own by-laws or ordinances regarding noise and noise pollution.  Therefore, you should contact your local police while the noise is occurring and ask them to investigate and apply the laws in your community.  I'm sure that the police could also direct you to the local ordinances so you can investigate what types of noise are prohibited.  In Boston, you can contact the Boston Police Party Line at 617-343-5500.  Here are some relevant ordinances for Boston:
 
16-26.1 General Prohibition and Definitions.

No person shall make or cause to be made any unreasonable or excessive noise in the city, by whatever means or from whatever means or from whatever source. As used herein, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
a. dBa shall mean A-weighted sound level in decibels, as measured by a general purpose sound level meter complying with the provisions of the American National Standard Institute, "Specifications far Sound Level Meter (ANSI SIR 19711)", properly calibrated, and operated on the "A" weighting network
b. Load amplification device or similar equipment shall mean a radio, television, phonograph, stereo, record player, tape player, cassette player, compact disc player, loud speaker, or sound amplifier which is operated in such a manner that it creates unreasonable or excessive noise.
c. Unreasonable or excessive noise shall mean
1. Noise measured in excess of 50 dBa between the hours of 11:00 p.m.. and 7:00 a.m.., or in excess of 70 dBa at all other hours; or
2. In the absence of an applicable noise level standard or regulation of the Air Pollution control commission, any noise plainly audible at a distance of three hundred (300) feet or, in the case of loud amplification devices of similar equipment, noise plainly audible at a distance of one hundred (100) feet from its source by a person of normal hearing. lord. Tl4 § 354; Ord, 1991 c. 4 § ii"

16-26.2 Unreasonable Noise-Making Automobile Safety Devices.

The use, maintenance, installation or keeping of any device whose purpose it is to protect an owner's vehicle from damage and/or then through the mechanical creation of a none of sufficient magnitude to be plainly audible at a distance of two hundred (200') feet from such device which does not automatically terminate any such noise within five 15) minutes shall be unlawful. Penalty for violation of thin section shall be a fine of fifty ($50,00) dollars. This section shall be deemed a Part of the Environment Protection Ordinances, so called, and shall be enforced pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 40, Section 21D of the General Laws.(Ord. 1984 c. 4; [354a])

16.26.3 Unreasonable Noise From Automobile Safety Devices.

The use of any device whose purpose it is to protect an owner's vehicle from damage and/or then through the mechanical creation of a none of sufficient magnitude to be plainly audible at a distance of two hundred (200') feet from such device which does not automatically terminate any such none within five (5) minutes shall be declared an unlawful use of a noise making instrument. The penalty for violation of this ordinance shall be fifty ($50,00) dollars and shall be in compliance with the Provisions of chapter 40, Section 21D of the General Laws. This section shall be deemed a part of the Environment Protection Ordinances, so called.(Ord, 1984 c. 5 § 1 [354b])

16-26.4 Regulation of Construction Hours.

No erection, demolition, alteration, or repair of any building and excavation in regard thereto, except between the hours of 7:00 am. and 6:00 p.m., on weekdays or except in the interest of public safety or welfare, upon the issuance of and pursuant to a permit from the commissioner, Inspectional Services Department, which permit may be renewed far one or mom periods of not exceeding one week each.(Ord. 1984 c. 10 §1 (354c); Ord. 1991 c. 5 § 38)

16-26.5 Noise Levels at Residential Lot Lines.

It Shall be unlawful for any person except in emergencies by Public Utility Companies to operate any construction device(s), including but not limited to impact devices, on any construction site if the operation of such device(s) emits noise, measured at the lot line of a residential lot in excess of 50 dBa between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. (Ord. 1985 c. 3 §1 (354d)

16-26.6 Disturbing the Peace.

It shall be unlawful for any person or persons in a residential area within the city of Boston to disturb the Peace by causing or allowing to be made any unreasonable or excessive noise, including but not limited to such noise resulting from the operation of any radio, phonograph or sound related producing device or instrument, or from the Playing of any band or orchestra, or from the use of any device to amplify the aforesaid noise, or from the making of excessive outcries, exclamations, or loud singing or any. other excessive noise by a person or group of Persons, or from the use of any device to amplify such noise provided, however, that any performance, concert, establishment, band, group or person who has received and maintains a valid license or permit from any department, board or commission of the city of Boston authorized to issue such license or permit shall be exempt from the provisions of this section. Unreasonable or excessive noise shall be defined as noise measured in excess of 50 dBa between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. or in excess of 70 dBa at all other hours when measured not closer than the lot line of a residential lot or from the nearest affected dwelling unit. The term dBa shall mean the A-weighted sound level in decibels, as measured by a general purpose sound level meter complying with the provisions of the American National Standards Institute, "Specifications for Sound Level Meters (ANSI SIR 19711" properly calibrated, and operated an the "A" weighting network. Any person aggrieved by such disturbance of the peace may complain to the Police about such unreasonable or excessive noise. The police, in response to each complaint, shall verify by use of the sound level meter described herein that the noise complained of does exceed the limit described herein and if so, may thereupon arrest and/or make application in the appropriate court for issuance of a criminal complaint for violation of M.G.L. c. 272, S. 53, which sets forth the penalties for disturbing the peace.(Ord. 1986 c. 19 § 1, 2 (354e) Ord. 1991c, 4 § 2)

16-26.7 Prohibition Against Loud Amplification Devices in Motor Vehicles.

It shall be unlawful for any person in any area of the city to operate a loud amplification device or similar equipment, as defined in subsection 16-26.1, in or on a motor vehicle which is either moving or standing in a public way.(Ord. 1991 c. 4 § 3)

16-26.8 Prohibition Against Loud Amplification Devices in Public Ways or Places.

It shall be unlawful for any person in any area of the City to operate a loud amplification device or similar equipment, as defined in subsection 16.26.1, in a public way or in any other public place. (Ord. 1991 c. 4 § 3)

16-26.9 Prohibition Against Loud Amplification Devices in or on Residential Premises.

It shall be unlawful for any person in any area of the City to operate a loud amplification device or similar equipment, as defined in subsection 16-26.1, in a dwelling house or on the land or other premises of such dwelling house. (Ord. 1991 c. 4 § 3)
 

Talk to a General Law Practiceyer Today
Most offer FREE Consultations
Connect with The Forum
facebook google twitter linkedin


Forum choice