Sammamish City Council likely to end holiday construction
September 2, 2013
By Ari Cetron
New: Sept. 2, 4:18 p.m.
Sammamish residents aren’t likely to have construction noises interrupting their Fourth of July barbecues next year.
The City Council is poised to alter construction hours and forbid construction on holidays, which the current code now allows.
During a July 15 council meeting, Community Development Director Kamuron Gurol explained that the city’s current regulations allow construction from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and holidays, with no construction generally allowed on Sundays. Gurol noted that builders can request permission to work on Sundays, but that has happened only a handful of times over the past nine years.
He said most contractors are finished by 3 p.m. However, with a recent uptick in construction around the city, residents have been complaining to city officials about the associated noise.
Gurol said he sympathizes with residents’ concerns, but he cautioned against making big changes. He noted that if the hours per day are restricted, that will likely mean projects will need to stretch out longer,
“It’s kind of like having a Band-Aid pulled off,” he said. “Get it done.”
He also pointed out that any changes would apply to city projects as well as commercial projects.
Council members discussed the options, and many were ready to restrict hours during the week.
“Eight p.m. is way too late,” Mayor Tom Odell said.
Councilwoman Nancy Whitten noted that only one other nearby city permits construction that late into the evening. She wanted to allow construction until 7 p.m.
Councilman John James was opposed to that idea, saying it might make the city less competitive to builders since it could extend projects and increase construction costs.
City Manager Ben Yazici and Gurol both pointed out that by reducing hours, environmental impacts could also be increased. They said summer – when residents want to be outside in their yards – is the time when construction noise is most disturbing. However, that’s also the best time for removing trees and moving dirt around. If the work ends up being extended into the rainy seasons, the environmental impacts will increase, since rain makes it more difficult to perform those tasks.
The council rejected Whitten’s idea to trim the weekday hours. Everyone, however, supported removing holiday construction hours. The council unanimously approved a proposal to say construction activity can no longer occur on holidays.
Gurol said he would write a proposed ordinance that would come before the council and become official this fall.