On May 5, 2008, the Council of the Town of Lincoln enacted a new by-law to regulate nuisance noises likely to disturb the inhabitants of the municipality. This Noise Control By-law No. 08-48 updates and replaces the Towns previous noise by-law originally enacted in 1981.
The By-law can be viewed in its entirety in the Town’s Virtual Library.
What the By-law Regulates
Among other things, the updated by-law regulates a number of different types of noises in the Town including:
- Certain noises from the improper operation of motor vehicles, construction equipment and other equipment;
- Certain noises made by domestic pets or animals;
- Certain noises made by radios, televisions, stereos and the like;
- Noises from heavy construction equipment at construction sites at various times of the day;
- Noises from combustion engines in toys, yard maintenance equipment and recreational conveyances (such as dirt bikes, ATVs, snow mobiles) at various times of the day;
- Noises from the operation of domestic tools at various times of the day.
What the By-law Does Not Regulate
The by-law does not regulate noises arising from:
- Measures undertaken to deal with emergency situations or situations of urgent public necessity;
- The operation of railways, including train bells and whistles;
- Certain approved parades, festivals, entertainment, sport and recreational events;
- Approved fireworks displays;
- Agricultural operations.
The Town of Lincoln encourages everyone to be good neighbours and to communicate with each other to resolve problems without the need for official intervention by enforcement officers. Occasions do arise, however, where it is appropriate for citizens to approach the Town for assistance.
Any person who wishes the Town of Lincoln to initiate an investigation into a possible violation of a regulatory by-law of the Town may file a formal complaint with the Corporate Services Department. The Town encourages all complaints to be in writing, in your own words, describing the situation and detailing the nature of what the problem is, along with your suggestion as to the ideal solution to the problem. Full details of the Town’s complaint process can be viewed here.
In order to effectively deal with nuisance noise complaints, complainants are often requested to keep a Noise Diary for a period of time to document the persistence and the frequency of the offending noises. Such Noise Diaries enable valuable information to be gathered that may reveal a pattern to the noise that may help by-law enforcement officers verify the complaint - and the information collected may also be used as evidence in any legal subsequent proceedings. It is therefore vital that such Noise Diaries be comprehensive, accurate and relevant.
Nuisances Emanating from Agricultural Operations
In May of 1998, the Province of Ontario enacted Bill 146, the Farming and Food Production Protection Act (FFPPA). There are two main themes in the FFPPA:
- Farmers are protected from nuisance complaints made by neighbours, provided they are following normal farm practices.
- No municipal by-law applies to restrict a normal farm practice carried on as part of an agricultural operation.
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs administers the FFPPA – and has established processes to deal with complaints and determine what are and what are not “normal farm practices”: the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board.
The Normal Farm Practices Protection Board hears from parties involved in formal complaints and has 3 options available to it after a hearing. In a nuisance case the board can:
- dismiss an application if it is of the opinion that the disturbance results from a normal farm practice
- order the farmer to cease the practice causing the disturbance, if it is not a normal farm practice, or
- order the farmer to modify the practice in the manner set out in the order so as to be consistent with normal farm practice.
Ontario has produced a number of Factsheets providing information about the provincial legislation and the processes associated with dealing with complaints arising from nuisances from Agricultural Operations. Those Factsheets include:
Factsheet - The Farming And Food Production Protection Act (FFPPA) and Nuisance Complaints
Factsheet - Bird Control on Grape and Tender Fruit Farms
Factsheet - Using Propane-Fired Canons to Keep Birds Away from Vineyards
Factsheet - Wind Machines for Minimizing Cold Injury to Horticultural Crops
To obtain additional information or to seek the assistance of the Ministry with a nuisance situation arising from an agricultural operation, you may view the website of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs or contact the Province of Ontario’s Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300.