HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

160

THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2019

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to noise control.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that noise control is a serious issue for residents and businesses that must coexist closely in our State's urban areas. The United States Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates certain noise sources, has observed that millions of people nationwide are negatively affected by noise and that studies show a direct link between excessive noise and health issues, such as stress-related illnesses, high blood pressure, speech interference, hearing loss, sleep disruption, and lost productivity. Fortunately, quality of life can be enhanced through improved monitoring and enforcement of applicable noise regulations.

An often overlooked source of noise pollution is lower frequency sound commonly thought of as "bass" that can permeate walls and windows and cause disruptive and harmful vibrations even when not heard by the human ear. This lower frequency sound is best detected by use of a dBC sound level measurement system rather than a dBA system that understates the lower frequencies.

The purpose of this Act is to enhance community noise control as regulated by county liquor commissions in counties with a large population by:

(1) Clarifying that it is a noise violation for an establishment requiring a liquor license to exceed the dBC sound level measurements addressed by this Act;

(2) Requiring the employment and enforcement of a dBC sound level measurement system for investigating noise levels from establishments requiring liquor licenses; and

(3) Requiring the revocation, suspension, or denial of application, renewal, or transfer of a liquor license, or withholding of the issuance of the license, if the applicant or licensee fails to take corrective action to address noise complaints or violations for an establishment for which a license has been issued or is requested to be issued, renewed, or transferred.

SECTION 2. Chapter 281, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"281-   Noise violations and enforcement in a county with a population of seven hundred thousand or more. (a) In a county with a population of seven hundred thousand or more, the licensee of an establishment shall be in violation of this section when the dBC sound level of the establishment is in excess of the following levels:

(1) In zoning districts that include all areas equivalent to lands zoned for:

(A) Residential, conservation, preservation, public space, open space, or similar type, the maximum dBC sound level shall not exceed fifty-five from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and shall not exceed forty-five from 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.;

(B) Multi-family dwellings, apartment, business, commercial, hotel, resort, or similar type the maximum dBC sound level shall not exceed sixty from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and shall not exceed fifty from 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.; or

(C) Agriculture, country, industrial, or similar type the maximum dBC sound level shall not exceed seventy at any time; and

(2) In any zoning district listed in paragraph (1), the maximum dBC sound level shall not be louder than three decibels above the ambient noise level for:

(A) Any two minute segment within a measurement taken for a duration of at least ten minutes; or

(B) Any time segment, within a measurement taken for more than ten minutes, that is at least twenty per cent as long as the total duration of the measurement.

(b) The county liquor commission shall enforce compliance with the maximum sound levels established in this section and shall employ a dBC sound level measurement system for investigating noise levels.

(c) When measuring the dBC sound level of an establishment, the measurement shall be taken within three meters of the perimeter of the exterior of the establishment. If the initial sound measurement taken in response to a complaint does not establish a violation, upon the complainant's request, an additional measurement shall be taken at the complainant's site where the complainant alleges to have heard noise levels that exceed the maximum dBC sound levels established by this section.

(d) Notwithstanding any other provision to the contrary, the county liquor commission shall revoke or suspend a license, or deny the application, renewal, or transfer of a license, or withhold the issuance of the license, if the licensee or applicant, as applicable, fails to take corrective action meeting the county liquor commission's approval to address:

(1) Complaints from the public;

(2) Reports from the county liquor commission's investigators; or

(3) Adjudications of the county liquor commission or the liquor control adjudication board,

that indicate that noise created by the establishment or patrons departing from the establishment disturbs residents on the street or of the neighborhood in which the establishment is located, or that noise from the premises or adjacent related outdoor areas such as parking lots or lanais exceeds standards contained in state or county noise codes or intrudes into nearby residential units.

(e) As used in this section:

"Ambient noise" means the totality of sounds in a given place and time, independent of the sound contribution of any specific source of sound being measured.

"County liquor commission" means a liquor commission in a county with a population of seven hundred thousand or more.

"dBC" shall have the same meaning as provided in section 342F-1."

SECTION 3. Section 281-17, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:

"(a) The liquor commission, within its own county, shall have the jurisdiction, power, authority, and discretion, subject only to this chapter:

(1) To grant, refuse, suspend, and revoke any license for the manufacture, importation, and sale of liquors;

(2) To take appropriate action against a person who, directly or indirectly, manufactures, sells, or purchases any liquor without being authorized pursuant to this chapter; provided that in counties that have established by charter a liquor control adjudication board, the board shall have the jurisdiction, power, authority, and discretion to hear and determine administrative complaints of the director regarding violations of the liquor laws of the State or of the rules of the liquor commission, and impose penalties for violations thereof as may be provided by law;

(3) To control, supervise, and regulate the manufacture, importation, and sale of liquors by investigation, enforcement, and education; provided that any educational program shall be limited to the commission staff, commissioners, liquor control adjudication board members, and licensees and their employees, and shall be financed through the money collected from the assessment of fines against licensees; provided that fine moneys, not to exceed ten per cent a year of fines accumulated, may be used to fund public liquor-related educational or enforcement programs;

(4) From time to time to make, amend, and repeal rules, not inconsistent with this chapter, as in the judgment of the commission are deemed appropriate for carrying out this chapter and for the efficient administration thereof, and the proper conduct of the business of all licensees, including every matter or thing required to be done or which may be done with the approval or consent, by order, under the direction or supervision of, or as prescribed by the commission; which rules, when adopted as provided in chapter 91 shall have the force and effect of law;

(5) Subject to chapter 76, to appoint and remove an administrator, who may also be appointed an investigator and who shall be responsible for the operations and activities of the staff. The administrator may hire and remove hearing officers, investigators, and clerical or other assistants as its business may from time to time require, prescribe their duties and fix their compensation, and engage the services of experts and persons engaged in the practice of a profession, if deemed expedient. Every investigator, within the scope of the investigator's duties, shall have the powers of a police officer;

(6) To limit the number of licenses of any class or kind within the county, or the number of licenses of any class or kind to do business in any given locality, when in the judgment of the commission such limitations are in the public interest;

(7) To prescribe the nature of the proof to be furnished, the notices to be given, and the conditions to be met or observed in case of the issuance of a duplicate license in place of one alleged to have been lost or destroyed, including a requirement of any indemnity deemed appropriate to the case;

(8) To fix the hours between which licensed premises of any class or classes may regularly be open for the transaction of business, which shall be uniform throughout the county as to each class respectively;

(9) To prescribe all forms to be used for the purposes of this chapter not otherwise provided for in this chapter, and the character and manner of keeping of books, records, and accounts to be kept by licensees in any matter pertaining to their business;

(10) To investigate violations of this chapter, chapter 244D and, notwithstanding any law to the contrary, violations of the applicable department of health's allowable noise levels, through its investigators or otherwise, to include covert operations, and to report violations to the prosecuting officer for prosecution and, where appropriate, the director of taxation to hear and determine complaints against any licensee;

(11) To prescribe, by rule, the terms, conditions, and circumstances under which persons or any class of persons may be employed by holders of licenses;

(12) To prescribe, by rule, the term of any license or solicitor's and representative's permit authorized by this chapter, the annual or prorated amount, the manner of payment of fees for the licenses and permits, and the amount of filing fees;

(13) To prescribe, by rule, regulations on dancing in licensed premises; [and]

(14) To prescribe, by rule, the circumstances and penalty for the unauthorized manufacturing or selling of any liquor[.]; and

(15) For a liquor commission in a county with a population of seven hundred thousand or more, to prescribe, by rule, the circumstances and penalty for noise level violations pursuant to section 281‑  ."

SECTION 4. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2019.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 


 


 

Report Title:

Noise Control; Measurement; County Liquor Commissions; Liquor License Requirements

 

Description:

Enhances community noise control as regulated by county liquor commissions in counties with a population of seven hundred thousand or more.

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.