This indicator measures community noise levels in the low-density residential land use areas in the Tahoe Region. Cumulative noise or community noise equivalent level (CNEL) is a noise measurement based on a weighted average of all measured noise over a 24-hour period. Excessive noise in the Tahoe Region can impact wildlife, visitors’ experiences, and residents’ quality of life. Primary drivers of community noise levels in the Region have been attributed to anthropogenic activities such as vehicular travel in transportation corridors and aircraft activity at the South Lake Tahoe Airport. Regional programs such as encouraging the use of low-noise pavement and limiting noise at outdoor concerts aim to reduce community noise levels in the Region.  CNEL is monitored in plan areas across the Region once every four years. 


Noise levels in low density residential areas.

Evaluation Map

Low Density Residential Area Noise Monitoring Locations

2019 Evaluation

At or Somewhat Better Than Target
Little or No Change
View Evaluation

Applicable Standard

For the low density residential land use category noise levels shall not exceed a CNEL of 50 dBA.

Key Points

  • Compared to the 2015 Threshold Evaluation Report, there is little to no change in overall noise levels in low density residential areas.
  • Noise levels in each plan area are assessed using the maximum 24-hour noise measurement (i.e., the loudest noise measurement of the day, regardless of duration). Most days most plan areas are within the noise standards, although many plan areas exceed the noise standard on a few days.
  • Average noise levels across all monitored low density residential areas are within the threshold standard.

Delivering and Measuring Success

Monitoring Programs

  • Noise - Plan Areas

    Noise monitors are put out in low density residential plan areas for 1 to 2 weeks during peak noise periods (generally summer). The average 24-hour CNEL measured is used to assess noise levels.