As area builders work to meet the demand for housing in the area, some homeowners are expressing concern with the legality of the hours being worked.
After a Sherman resident told the City Council of repeated instances of work hours she considered unreasonable, City Manager Robby Hefton said his staff is planning to bring an ordinance related to that before the council later this month.
“We are actually looking at revising our ordinance — we haven’t looked at that in about 20 years,” Hefton said.
The city manager’s comment was in response to Pebblebrook Estates resident Cynthia Sherman, who said she’s had to call the police many times because of construction being done “every weekend.” Cynthia Sherman pointed to the city’s noise ordinance, which states erection of any building in a residential district should take place between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays.
“I feel like as a citizen and a resident, many of us shouldn’t have to constantly call the police because (the city’s) Compliance (department) isn’t open on the weekend,” Cynthia Sherman said, noting construction was being done on the Sunday morning before the council meeting, as well as Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day last year. “They’re experiencing the benefits of building and I’m enjoying my home, but it’s hard to enjoy it when you wake up at 7:30 (a.m.) or eight o’clock on Sunday. I’m up but I don’t want to hear backhoes dragging down the street, and drills and buildings being put together on weekends.”
Hefton said since construction is still underway on that portion of the Pebblebrook subdivision, “it’s understandable” there’s a lot of activity going on.
“We have been made aware that they are working after the stated hours of the ordinance and that we have had police out there — which that’s the appropriate enforcement mechanism right now,” Hefton said. “What I would say is there is some reasonableness standard that we’re trying to maintain a balance of.”
Hefton agreed that 7:30 a.m. on a Sunday isn’t reasonable and said he hopes the council will be able to reach an agreement on the ordinance revisions that will be proposed during its next meeting.
“I do think that we’re going to be expanding the hours because right now, just during the week — practically speaking — we haven’t had many weekends for the last five years where there hasn’t been construction going on, even on weekends,” Hefton said. “But to your point, it shouldn’t be happening at 10 o’clock at night or seven o’clock in the morning, particularly on weekends. So we’re trying to strike that balance.”
Cynthia Sherman’s husband Alex Sherman also addressed the council after Hefton stated the subdivision was “nearly built out.”
“I count at least six lots under construction right across the street from where I live,” Alex Sherman said. “I invite the council to come down the street to see the conditions of the road and the quality of life that’s being interfered with. My friends ask me, ‘Should I move up there where you are?’ and I don’t know if I can tell them with all honesty that they’re going to be taken care of.”
Hefton said that two years ago, there were zero houses in that area and now the “vast majority” of lots are either under construction or have houses on them. Alex Sherman challenged that assertion and again invited Hefton to visit him and see the construction currently underway on Hanan Street and Peggey’s Cove. Hefton agreed to meet him.
After the discussion, council member Josh Stevenson thanked the citizens for coming forward to speak.
“We don’t know about problems until they are illuminated for us,” Stevenson said. “So I appreciate everyone that took the time to come and tell us about these issues. I hate it when I see an issue on Facebook that no one told me about, but they go and put it on Facebook.”