How to File a Noise Violation Complaint in Indianapolis

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Obtrusive sound doesn’t just damage people’s ears or make them feel annoyed. It can cause real physical and mental health problems. Indianapolis city ordinances are in place to protect people from excess noise pollution. How can someone file a complaint? The city has a simple solution!

Call 311 to Report Non-Emergencies to the Police

Just as 911 is reserved for life-threatening emergencies and 411 is for directory assistance, 311 is the number citizens in Indianapolis should use to report non-emergencies to the police. These issues include reports of stolen property, identity theft, and otherwise dangerous situations like burglaries reported after the victim is no longer in harm’s way. In addition, 311 is also the appropriate number to call for noise violations.

What Counts as an Ordinance Violation in Indianapolis?

Being noisy is not the same as “Disturbing the Peace.” This misconception sometimes prevents people from getting the authorities involved. They’ll suffer for the sake of keeping a rude neighbor out of jail. There’s no reason to worry. Disturbing the peace in Indianapolis falls under “Disorderly Conduct” laws and goes beyond someone being too loud.

Being too noisy most often falls under the city’s Nuisance ordinances. Other types of ordinance violations include leaving junk lying around or people not mowing their lawns. Citizens in Indianapolis shouldn’t worry about putting others at risk by calling 311 over an excessively noisy person or situation.

Indianapolis, Indiana, Municipal Code Section 391 details the Indianapolis city ordinances concerning noise. In general, people shouldn’t be loud enough to annoy, irritate or harass their neighbors by:

  • Honking and yelling.
  • Operating a vehicle known to cause excess noise.
  • Singing and performing in a public space.
  • Allowing pets to make a ruckus.

Some activities are prohibited during certain hours, for instance:

  • Loading and unloading stock (10 p.m. to 7 a.m.)
  • Dumping garbage (10 p.m. to 7 a.m.)
  • Engaging in maintenance and construction (7 p.m. to 7 a.m.)
  • Vendor vehicles (10 p.m. to 10 a.m.)

Others are restricted on how noisy they can be or how far the sound can travel:

  • Performers in a professional venue (within 75 feet of the source).
  • Churches, schools, hospitals and courthouses (within 50 feet of the source).
  • Vendor vehicles (under 115 decibels as measured from 6 inches from a speaker).

Special permits allow for exceptions, so it’s important for event organizers to work with the department of Business and Neighborhood Services to prevent fines.

Particular guidelines apply to noncommercial aircraft used to make announcements:

  • They can only be used for human speech or music.
  • Broadcasts can not be lewd, excessively irritating or indecent.
  • They can only be used from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • They must be at an altitude of 1,500 feet or higher.
  • The radius of sound is restricted to 700 square yards and away from quiet zones.
  • They must obey all other federal, state and city laws.

Quiet zones are protected areas marked by Indianapolis sign ordinance calling for excess quiet. The Public Works department assigns quiet zones to:

  • Hospitals.
  • Public and private schools.
  • Churches.
  • Courthouses.

The Public Works department or the police chief can temporarily create quiet zones around the homes of ill citizens, upon request, and also as needed for city business. Temporary quiet zones are also marked by Indianapolis sign ordinance.

Penalties for Noise Ordinance Infractions in Indianapolis

Fines for ordinance violations accrue over a 12-month period. The first instance results in a $50 fine. The second instance is a fine not less than $250. The third instance within a 12-month period results in a fine not less than $500. Offenders have seven days to pay the fine or file a denial of violation, after which the city will assess late charges.