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CITY PHILADELPHIA v. RAMI COHEN AND RAMI ELECTRONICS AND STEREO SOUND (07/25/84)

decided: July 25, 1984.

CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, APPELLANT
v.
RAMI COHEN AND RAMI ELECTRONICS AND STEREO SOUND, INC., APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in the case of City of Philadelphia v. Rami Cohen and Rami Electronics and Stereo Sound, Inc., No. 2003 September Term, 1982.

COUNSEL

Flora Wolf, with her, Martha Gale, Assistant City Solicitor, Tyler E. Wren, Divisional Deputy City Solicitor, and Mark A. Aronchick, City Solicitor, for appellant.

Joseph R. Pozzuolo, with him, Jane Rossowski, Joseph R. Pozzuolo Associates, P.C., for appellees.

Jerome Balter, for Amici Curiae, Delaware Valley Citizens' Council for Clean Air and Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia.

Judges Williams, Jr., Doyle and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.

Author: Williams

[ 84 Pa. Commw. Page 201]

The City of Philadelphia appeals the decision of the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia County, which found specific provisions of the city's Noise and Excessive Vibration ordinance*fn1 and regulations facially unconstitutional for vagueness and over breadth.

[ 84 Pa. Commw. Page 202]

The defendants, who own and operate a retail, stereo electronics shop in the city, were cited on five separate occasions in 1982 for emitting recorded, amplified music from their store at decibel levels violative of Section III(D)(1) of the city's Noise and Excessive Vibration regulations. Section III(D)(1) prohibits commercial and industrial establishments from amplifying sounds by more than three decibels "above background level beyond property boundary."

On September 16, 1982 the city filed a complaint in equity seeking to restrain defendants from playing amplified, recorded music in violation of the anti-noise ordinance and regulations. Challenging the constitutionality of sundry anti-noise ordinance provisions and Section III(D)(1) for vagueness and overbreadth, the defendant submitted preliminary objections, which the common pleas court sustained. The city appeals from the court's order dismissing its complaint with prejudice.

Overbreadth

Upon acknowledging that the amplification of sound is an activity protected by the First Amendment but subject to reasonable time, place and manner restrictions, Jim Crockett Promotion, Inc. v. City of Charlotte, 706 F.2d 486 (4th Cir. 1983), the ...


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