Birmingham noise ordinance

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Birmingham's noise ordinance is the common name for Section 11-8 of the Code of the City of Birmingham relating to noise-related nuisances prohibited by the city ordinance. Violations of the ordinance are enforced by the Birmingham Police Department and adjudicated in Birmingham Municipal Court.

The ordinance was most recently amended by unanimous vote of the Birmingham City Council on April 30, 2007.

Prohibited acts

The ordinance prohibits all of the following:

  • Sounding a vehicle horn, alarm or signal for more than 30 seconds continuously, except as a warning of imminent danger; creating any unreasonable, loud or harsh sound with such a device; sounding such a device for any unnecessary or unreasonable duration such as during held-up traffic; automating the operation of such a device or using engine exhaust to power any such device. Exterior burglar and vehicle alarms should be automatically terminated within 15 minutes unless there has been an actual attempted forced entry.
  • Owning, possessing, harboring or keeping any animal or bird which howls, barks, squawks or makes other frequent or long-continued noise which carries across residential or noise-sensitive properties. Incessant noise for more than 10 minutes or intermittent noise for more than 30 minutes is considered excessive when it disturbs the comfort or repose of others in the vicinity.
  • Sounding a signal from a stationary device such as a bell, siren, whistle or similar device for more than one minute in any one hour period. Bells, chimes or similar devices operated by places of religious worship are exempted.
  • Allowing loud or explosive exhaust noises to escape from a steam or combustion engine. Mufflers must be effective, kept in good working order and in constant operation.
  • Pitching anything for sale by shouting or outcry except in stadiums or arenas.
  • The use of firecracker, skyrockets, roman candles, pinwheels or other fireworks except under a permit issued by the fire marshal and pursuant to the city's fire prevention code.
  • Using using drums, bells, horns, loudspeakers, amplifiers or any device which is audible more than 50 feet across a property line, or 10 feet away from a vehicle for commercial advertising purposes.
  • Operating or permitting the playing of any amplifier, television, instrument, radio, phonograph or similar device in a manner which disturbs the peace, quiet and comfort of neighboring businesses or inhabitants at any volume exceeding what is reasonably necessary for convenient hearing by those voluntary listeners on the premises. In any case, no such sound should be plainly audible more than 100 feet away from a building or structure or more than 10 feet away from a motor vehicle. No sound device should be operated by a passenger on a common carrier without earphones such that the sound is audible only to the listener. Specifically permitted activities are exempt from this section.
  • Yelling, shouting or loud singing on public streets between 11:00 PM and 7:00 AM such that they would annoy or disturb the quiet, comfort or repose of inhabitants of offices or hotels, or in residential areas.
  • Operating any motor vehicle which, by its physical condition or loading makes loud and unneccesary grating, grinding, rattling or other noises.
  • Using refuse collection vehicles between 11:00 PM and 6:00 AM or vehicle-borne compactors between 11:00 PM and 7:00 AM in residentially-zoned districts. Loading, unloading, opening, closing, destruction or other handling of boxes, crates, containers, building materials, garbage cans or similar objects between 11:00 PM and 7:00 AM within 500 feet of residential areas. Operating mechanical saws, grinders, or garden tools between 11:00 PM and 7:00 AM in residential areas.
  • Any and all activity incidental to the erection, demolition, assembling, altering, repairing, installing or equipping of buildings, structures, roads and their appurtenances, including clearing, grading, excavating and filling between 11:00 PM and 7:00 AM within 500 feet residential areas. Emergency repairs to protect the safety of the public or to protect persons or property from imminent danger is exempted.
  • Any noise which unreasonably interferes with the workings of any school, institution of learning, church or court while in use or any hospital, nursing home or similar facility at any time when conspicuous signs indicating those uses and their hours are posted.

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