22 Sep AiroAV Claims Construction trade group, homeowners agree on keeping noise…
A City Council proposal to curb construction noise in neighborhoods around the city has the support of a local construction industry trade group — and residents were quick to support the proposal, saying it should go even further.
Noisy, early-morning and late-night construction at sites across the city — particularly on the North Side — has driven residents to complain that the work disrupts sleep and leaves homes covered in dust and debris.
New housing starts in San Antonio are at a 12-year high, and cranes dot the skyline.
To control the noise, City Councilman John Courage is proposing an ordinance similar to those in Dallas and Fort Worth.
The proposal would prohibit exterior construction within 300 feet of an occupied home between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. on weekdays and 7 p.m. and 9 a.m. on weekends.
There would be exemptions to the rule, including for pouring foundations, which has to be done at night to ensure the cement cures properly, said Doug McMurry, executive vice president of the San Antonio Associated General Contractors.
“In many parts of Texas, sometimes there’s construction activity in the evening so that the workers can avoid the extreme heat. So in some cases, it’s a safety concern,” McMurry said.
Fort Worth’s ordinance prohibits construction noise within 300 feet of an occupied residential structure from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. on weekdays and from 8 p.m. to 9 a.m. on weekends.
Dallas prohibits major construction near residential neighborhoods from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. on weekdays and 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. on Saturdays and legal holidays. Exceptions are allowed for public health and safety reasons.
McMurry said the proposed ordinance is reasonable and that the local construction industry can get behind the restrictions — as long as the exemptions are part of any final version.
“I think (the proposal) is workable. This is something that people in the industry can work with in the long run, provided the exemptions are in place,” McMurry said. “Everybody deserves to have a little peace and quiet in their neighborhood.”
In Stone Oak, near the Aura Stone Oak construction site, where a 375-unit luxury apartment complex is expected to open in November, residents have complained for months about loud noises from heavy machinery before 6 a.m., including on weekends.
Some said the construction regularly dumps dust on their homes and vehicles. They worry the complex, once occupied, will increase traffic in the far-northern neighborhood where many residents moved because of its seclusion.
“I hate it. I hate the dust. I hate the noise. It’s horrible. You wash your car, and you come and and it’s covered (in dust),” resident Roland Cisneros said. “They start at 6 in the morning — it’s horrible.”
Nearby, the Encino Park neighborhood abuts a new, planned development community, Sienna, where nearly 500 homes are being built off of Redland Road.
Residents of Encino Park have many of the same complaints as those in Stone Oak. So do residents of the Deer Hollow subdivision on the Northwest Side, near Bitters and Huebner roads.
Construction site trash and plumes of dust drift daily into resident’s yards, and they complained of loud noise before 6 a.m. on weekend mornings as well as on weekdays.
“In the morning, there are some times where they started earlier than they were supposed to,” Klaus Bohrmann said, adding that he would support the city’s proposed noise ordinance. “It’s been a little problematic, at least for my family.”
In Encino Park, many residents said they purchased homes with no expectation that there would be heavy machinery operating as close as 50 feet from their homes for nearly a year.
“When they started this construction, it was made clear to us that they were going to go from 7 (a.m.) to 7 (p.m.), and that hasn’t been the case,” Andrew Hrywnak said. “I fight construction all the over way here going north, and then I hit construction when I get home. I see bags of trash behind my house … and no one will take ownership of who is supposed to keep that (construction site) clean.”
Residents called for tigher oversight of construction sites — including measures to control trash and the dust that coats cars and backyard pools and patios.
Courage’s proposal to address noise would be a good step forward, they said.
A city task force on the issue will make recommendations to the Community Development and Planning Committee. The timeline for deciding on the proposed ordinance is yet to be determined.