On August 24, 2020, City Council approved a new Noise Ordinance (1697, series of 2020), in order to better address the manner in which noise is measured and unreasonable noise is prohibited and enforced. Unreasonable noise is any excessive or unusually loud sound, or any sound which disturbs the peace and quiet of any neighborhood or causes damage to any property or business. The new ordinance goes into effect on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020.
Residential and Commercial Properties
Does the new noise ordinance apply to residential and commercial properties?
Yes, it applies to both. Noise levels will be determined by whether or not the sound is reasonable.
Unreasonable noise means any excessive or unusually loud sound, or any sound which disturbs the peace and quiet of any neighborhood or causes damage to any property or business, and continues for 15 minutes in a two-hour period.
How will the new noise ordinance be measured for commercial and residential properties?
Decibel limits are not established for noise coming from commercial or residential properties instead, a standard of reasonableness is used as referenced above. It is a violation of the noise ordinance if the noise is audible 50 or more feet from the source of the sound, if the noise is audible within a private residence that the person responsible for the sound doesn’t have a right to occupy, or if the noise is audible 50 or more feet from the noise source and continues for a minimum of 15 minutes in a two-hour period.
What will happen if an individual or business violates the new noise ordinance?
A Wheat Ridge Police officer will determine whether the noise level is unreasonable and therefore violates the ordinance. If so, the individual, property owner or business owner may be required to stop whatever activity is creating the noise. In addition, violators may be issued a citation and may be required to appear in Municipal Court.
Examples of violations:
- A neighbor playing music from inside their home so loud that others can hear it inside their homes and a police officer determines the noise is unreasonable.
- A bar, club or restaurant has a band playing on an outdoor patio for several hours in the evening and the music is determined to be unreasonable and loud enough to be audible at a distance of 50 feet from the property line of the establishment by nearby residents
A permit is now required to exceed the allowable dBA noise level up to 75 dBA for any outdoor event with amplified sound on private property. Individuals, businesses or organizations must apply for and receive an Amplified Sound Event Permit.
The noise ordinance applies to any noise, sound source or any person or group of persons engaged in loud and continuing activities which are audible fifty (50) or more feet from the noise source or at the property line of the property upon which the noise source is located or upon which such activities are taking place, continuing for a minimum of 15 minutes in a two hour period. For more information
Forms must be submitted to the City Clerk 21 days prior to the event and will be approved or denied after review with the Wheat Ridge Police Department and other City departments as appropriate. Amplified sound event permits will not be issued between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. Sun-Thurs and from between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m. Fri. and Sat. Permits will only be issued up to six times per year.