Moorestown introduces ordinance limiting unnecessary noise from construction, maintenance equipment

Moorestown is working to continue to make efforts to keep its residents happy and healthy with less noise.

Town council unanimously approved an ordinance on first reading last week amending a chapter called “Noise.” The amendment regulates the times in which noise resulting from construction, demolition, lawnmowers and other landscape and yard maintenance equipment is plainly audible.

The township made the chapter so that limits were set on unnecessary noise that causes discomfort, unrest and annoyance to neighbors.

According to the ordinance, “it has been determined through studies that the stress, tension and fatigue related to insufficient sleep and exposure to noise during routine quiet times can have a negative impact on the quality of life and the public health, safety and welfare in general.”

With this amendment, limits on times were set for noise resulting from commercial, industrial, non-commercial and non-industrial power tools, landscape and yard equipment for residential properties as well as commercial and industrial properties. According to the amendment, the noise from these items shall not be performed between the hours of 9 p.m., or dusk, and 8 a.m. to weekdays or weekends for residential properties. For commercial and industrial properties, such equipment shall not be operated within 250 feet of the nearest residential property between the same times.

A muffler must be used for all motorized equipment used in these activities.

Those exempt from this include utility and emergency work, snow removal such as motorized snow blowers, snow throwers and lawn equipment with attached snow plows being used for the purpose of moving snow, and activities performed under and in accordance with the state and local Right to Farm Act.

The section on the Right to Farm Act was added at last week’s meeting when concerns about farmers were brought up. There was some concern that farmers who could be doing farming activities causing noise during these set times would not be protected under this act. Council felt it was important to include them in the ordinance.

“Our farming heritage is important to our town and we don’t want to lose that,” Deputy Mayor Victoria Napolitano said.

The public hearing and final reading of the ordinance will be at the next Town Council meeting on Monday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m., with a 7 p.m. workshop.

In other news:

• Council approved an ordinance on second reading to install a mid-block crosswalk that connects the Second Baptist Church, 319 Mill St., to the adjacent parking lot. At the introduction meeting, Township Manager Scott Carew said the mid-block crosswalk was approved for the church in 2010. However, council needed to approve it because it is required to be codified. The crosswalk will begin at a point 62 feet north of the northerly curb line of Beech Street to a point six feet north.

• Council approved a number of resolutions on affordable housing, as the township is still working on its affordable housing numbers. Those resolutions approved payments to Clarke Caton Hintz for $8,290, Court Master Elizabeth McKenzie for $971.50 and Capehart Scatchard for $19,629.17 out of the township’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

• Approval was given for another resolution that allowed Moorestown to use competitive contracting for its video broadcast and streaming goods services. This resolution allows the township to choose the best contract based on not just the lowest bid, which is the standard procedure, but also considering other factors so the township gets the best service for the price.

• Proclamations were given for a Community-Wide Yard Sale, to be held on May 14, and Autism Awareness Month.