Noise Restrictions in the City of Denver

What is a noise ordinance?

Fotolia_162654587_XS.jpg

A noise ordinance is a law limiting noise levels in a specific area. Noise limits usually vary depending on the time of day and local zoning laws. States and cities can make zoning decisions in many different ways, but the four typical zoning designations are residential, commercial, industrial, and public (public parks). When it comes to noise ordinances for these different zones, residential areas have the strictest noise limits. Generally industrial zones have the least restrictions on noise levels, however some cities may establish the same noise limits for commercial and industrial areas. In addition, noise ordinances tend to impose stricter noise level restrictions at night.

What are the noise limits for the City of Denver?

Many different factors are considered when determining noise limits in the City of Denver, like the zoning designation of the noise source, the zoning designation of those that can hear the noise, as well as the time of day.

Construction projects are exempt from Denver noise ordinance levels during certain times of the day. Monday through Friday construction projects can make as much noise as needed between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays, construction projects can make noise between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Outside of these times, construction projects may still continue working, however, they must comply with the Denver noise ordinance.

Denver’s noise ordinance does not cover barking dogs or human voices. Animal control oversees issues with loud animals and the Denver Police Department deals with loud people.

 The following table represents Denver’s noise ordinance. All values are in dB (A).

This shows the zoning designation for surrounding areas matters when determining appropriate noise limits. For example, during the day a commercial business can emit noise at a level of 55 dB(A) if next to a residential neighborhood but could emit noise at a level of 80 dB (A) if next to an industrial area.

Denver Noise Restrictions Chart.jpg

What is dB (A)?

The symbol dB(A) stands for A-weighted decibels. A decibel measures the intensity of sounds and the term A-weighted just describes a specific type of sound frequency wave. Determining decibels can be difficult without the proper equipment, however these examples below give some comparisons.

dB(A) chart.jpg

What happens if my business violates the Denver noise ordinance?

Noise issues in Denver fall under the authority of the Denver Department of Environmental Health. Those effected by noise ordinance violators may file a complaint with the Department by calling 311.  If you or your business violate the Denver noise ordinance, a noise investigator may investigate the violation and take noise level measurements. The noise investigator will generally work with the business or individual to remedy the problem. However, noise investigators may also impose fines depending on the severity of the issue. A business lawyer or environmental lawyer can help ensure compliance with Denver’s noise ordinance.

If the noise violation needs immediate resolution, like a loud house party, you can reach out to the Denver Police Department.