Model Community Ordinances

Model ordinances demonstrate samples of language available to address community issues at the municipal level in Pennsylvania. All model ordinances should be carefully reviewed and tailored by your own legal counsel before implementation or adoption.

If you municipality uses a model ordinance (or part of a model ordinance), I would be interested in knowing about how the ordinance was adapted and applied to improve the models and for research.

Private Recreational Facilities—Model Ordinance, Pennsylvania

A Model Private Recreational Facilities Ordinance for Pennsylvania addresses storm water, impervious surfaces, set-backs, safety, abandonment, and noise problems arising from the construction and use of private recreational facilities such as basketball hoops, BMX facilities, skateboards, racquet sports, playground equipment, trampolines, and ATVs.

Noise—Model Ordinance, Pennsylvania

A Model Noise Ordinance for Pennsylvania addresses noise and vibration problems in communities. The noise ordinance addresses noise problems using a holistic, hybrid approach. A hybrid approach applies decibel-level sound measurements or plainly-audible standards. A noise ordinance maintains community peace, encourages neighbor cooperation, protects health, and avoids municipal liability, under Takings Theory, for failing to address noise problems in the community.

The Model Noise Ordinance recognizes the fundamental constitutional rights of property owners to the quiet enjoyment of real property and recognizes the fundamental constitutional duty imposed on all persons to use their property in a way so as not to interfere with the quiet enjoyment of others. E.g.,  Robinson Tp., Washington County v. Com., 83 A.3d 901, 1001, 623 Pa. 564, 729 (Pa.,2013); Chase v. Eldred Borough, 902 A.2d 992, 1001 (Pa.Cmwlth. 2006); In re Realen Valley Forge Greenes Associates, 838 A.2d 718, 728, 576 Pa. 115, 132 (Pa.,2003). Also, e.g., Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council, 505 U.S. 1003, 1031–32 (1992); Keystone Bituminous Coal Ass’n v. DeBenedictis, 480 U.S. 470, 490 n. 20 (1987); Vill. of Euclid, Ohio v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365, 387 (1926); Baltimore & P. R. Co. v. Fifth Baptist Church, 108 U.S. 317, 331–32 (1883); Munn v. People of State of Illinois, 94 U.S. 113, 145 (1876).