Ellensburg’s noise ordinance


Photo of CWU police department. Photo by Megan Rogers

Megan Rogers, Senior Reporter

The City of Ellensburg has a noise ordinance that is in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“24 hours a day, any [of] what could be considered unreasonable noise that can be heard from over 100 feet away, can be considered a violation,” Josh Bender, administrative sergeant for the Ellensburg Police Department, said. “Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. … that noise distance drops down to 50 feet.”

Bender also said there are some caveats though, when noise is being heard from a vehicle such as a loud stereo it is 50 feet any time of day. 

For violation of this noise ordinance, there is a penalty. According to the Ellensburg City Code Chapter 5.60, “Penalty and default amount in an amount not to exceed $250.00, not including statutory assessments; provided, that the penalty and default amount for a second violation within any 12-month period shall not exceed $500.00, and the penalty amount for a third or subsequent violation within any 12-month period shall not exceed $1,000.”

According to the Ellensburg City Code, there are some exceptions to the noise ordinance.

1) Noise from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. that comes from a scheduled community event. 

2) Construction activity that takes place between 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

3) A community event that was approved by the city council in a vote

4) Noise from firefighting, law enforcement/emergency response that may be in response to saving a life or property, any emergency repair to a street or building/ structure, “undertaken by the United States, the state of Washington, the city of Ellensburg, or any of their respective officers, employees or contractors”

5) Noise from snow removal 

6) Noise from an industrial zone that has been operating for the last three years as demonstrated by routine operation or as a necessity 

7) Noise that is emitted from power tools in the use of repairing residential property, grounds and appurtenances,  an accessory or other item associated with a particular activity or style of living, between the hours of 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

To be allowed these exceptions one must get approval through a waiver. To learn more about the approval process and noise ordinance exceptions readers can go to Ellensburg City Code Chapter 5.60.120.

Noise violations are infractions, meaning a law enforcement officer must be present and witness it to take action. To report a noise violation community members can call Kittcom’s non-emergency number (509) 925-8534. 

Bender said if a person feels like it is an emergency and they think they won’t get a response in a timely manner then they can call 911.