Back to City Engineering

Reference Materials
*Construction Drawings
*Drainage Basin Maps
*Engineering Criteria Manual
*Manuals, Guidelines and Plans
*Pedestrian Ramp Details
*Pikes Peak Region Asphalt Paving Specifications
*Proposed Noise Control Plan
*Standard Specifications Manual
*Subdivision Document Viewer

Frequently Asked Questions

PO Box 1575, Mail Code 410
30 S. Nevada Ave, Suite 401
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Phone: (719) 385-5918
Fax: (719) 385-5537
Email: cityengineering@sp. . .

City of Colorado Springs / City Engineering / Reference Materials / Manuals, Guidelines and Plans / Proposed Noise Control Plan

Interim Noise Abatement Review Criteria

For over a year during 2006 - 2007, staff conducted meetings and obtained feedback regarding the establishment of a traffic noise level standard. At the June 25, 2007 Council Meeting, staff received feedback that questioned the priority of establishing this standard at this time and requested that we evaluate our current priorities and address the noise level standard study and discussion appropriately.

For an interim period, staff are instructed to use the following criteria when discussing or reviewing development or project plans or during any conversations about the study. These criteria are intended to provide staff with proper and clear guidance during this interim period.

1. In all circumstances staff shall utilize current City regulations and the administrative policy of 65 dBA as adopted by the Planning and Community Development Department a few years ago (copy attached) when reviewing privately proposed development or project plans. Use of this policy is to continue until further notification. The City's 65 dBA traffic noise threshold is slightly lower than the CDOT standard of 66 dBA, and the FHWA standard of 67 dBA.

2. If the City is in the process of designing a road expansion or overpass adjacent to an existing neighborhood, the 65 dBA standard will initially be utilized for the design. Staff will also conduct a cost/benefit analysis utilizing CDOT criteria to determine if a lower dBA level might be feasible and appropriate. If staff provides data that a lower dBA level would be appropriate, that information will be presented to City Council for 'funding.

3. In areas where there are no projects and citizens desire noise abatement improvements, the citizens can request a Local Improvement District in accordance with City Code Chapter 3, Article 5, to fund their desired improvements.

4. City staff will work with stakeholders to create a mechanism by which new home buyers are informed about their proximity to a major roadway.
There have been many discussions about the noise study and the appropriate review criteria for our community. Any comments about this interim plan would be appreciated. We would also like feedback about whether or not the above criteria make sense to pursue as a more permanent process guide and standard. Input can be provided to


The impact of traffic noise upon adjacent residential areas is a concern that needs to be considered during the land development review process. It is recognized that it is difficult to totally mitigate the impact of traffic noise in situations where residential development is adjacent to arterial roadways. However, various sections of the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance require the impact of traffic noise upon adjacent residential areas to be considered in the development review process and to use our best efforts to mitigate said noise impacts. Following are specific excerpts out of the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance related to noise impacts and the need to mitigate them in conjunction with the development review process:


Strategy LU 302c: Promote Compatibility between Land Uses of Differing Intensities
Design and develop mixed land uses to ensure compatibility and appropriate transitions between land uses that vary in intensity and scale.

Policy N 401: Reduce Traffic-related Impacts on Existing Neighborhoods
Protect the integrity and character of existing neighborhoods as transportation improvements are planned and constructed.

Strategy N 401b: Mitigate Traffic Impacts
Mitigate the projected impacts of proposed transportation improvements on neighborhoods. Where appropriate, use such tools as bridge and street design, landscaping, traffic calming, photo radar, noise reduction and speed adjustment measures. Coordinate the application of mitigation tools with affected citizens and organizations, and with entities responsible for public safety.

Strategy T 201b: Develop an Environmentally Compatible Transportation System
Plan, develop and implement a transportation system that protects and enhances air and water quality, protects and enhances scenic routes and vistas, and minimizes noise impacts on residential areas. Evaluation of major roadway projects will include analysis of noise and air quality impacts on adjoining land uses.

Strategy T 201c: Noise Abatement
Design and construct roads, bridges, and other transportation facilities to minimize adverse noise impacts and work to reduce excessive noise levels. Use paving and surfacing materials that minimize noise.


It is the intent and purpose of the Zoning Code to protect property values, to preserve neighborhoods and to protect private property from adjacent nuisances such as noise, excessive traffic, incompatibility of uses, inappropriate design of buildings, and visual obstructions. (1968 Code; Ord. 80-131; Ord. 81-149; Ord. 91-30; Ord. 94-107; Ord. 01-42)


C. Development Plan Review Criteria: A development plan shall be reviewed using the criteria listed below. No development plan shall be approved unless the plan complies with all the requirements of the zone district in which it is located, is consistent with the intent and purpose of this Zoning Code and is compatible with the land uses surrounding the site.

4. Will landscaping, berms, fences and/or walls be provided to buffer the site from undesirable views, noise, lighting or other off site negative influences and to buffer adjacent properties from negative influences that may be created by the proposed development?

There are numerous design solutions and BMPs that can be utilized to minimize the impact of traffic noise on adjacent residential developments. Structures, berms, distance all can be employed to mitigate the impact of noise. In conjunction with the review of development proposals City Planning review staff shall consider the relevant strategies, objectives and policies of the Comprehensive Plan as well as sections 7.2.102 and 7.5.502.C. of the Zoning Code related to the mitigation of noise impacts. Some design solutions and BMPs that can be utilized are:

1. Building setbacks of at least 40 feet when adjacent to a Principle Arterial. (Note: In cases where a landscape Tract is proposed between the residential lots and the Arterial right of way, the Tract shall be included as part of the 30 or 40 ft. setback distance).

In addition to the 40 ft. setback, provision of one of the following types of noise barriers:
  • a six (6) foot masonry fence
  • a six (6) foot wood fence which is double-sided and filled with a noise absorbing material
  • a six (6) foot earthen berm
  • any six (6) foot combination of berming and the above-referenced fencing types
2. Project designs which propose alternative noise mitigation techniques may be required to submit to City Planning a Noise Impact Study, prepared by a qualified Acoustical Professional. Said study shall be required to confirm that the alternative design, proposed by the applicant, will mitigate the noise levels which the residential site is subject to no greater than 65 dB(A) - Leq . Said Noise Impact Study shall be measure the sound level for single family detached developments at the mid-point between the property line adjacent to the arterial and the building setback line. For townhome, condominium attached single-family or multi-family developments the sound level shall be measured at the outdoor patio/deck or outside active recreational areas that are closest to the arterial frontage. Said noise study shall be based upon 2020 traffic projections set forth in a Traffic Impact Analysis which has been accepted and approved by the City Traffic Engineer or in the absence of such a study upon the traffic projections set forth in the official Regional Transportation Plan prepared by the Pikes Peak Council of Governments (PPACG).