Charleston city council to discuss restricting construction hours to limit loud noise

VIDEO: City considering limiting construction hours in downtown Charleston

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston city leaders are considering restrictions on when construction can take place in an effort to cut down on loud construction during the early morning and late night hours.

Charleston City Council discussed the proposal at the Tuesday’s council meeting.

Robert Fogle, who supports the ordinance, says he’s had issue with loud construction.

“It causes a lot of noise you really can’t sleep in the morning time, they start real early,” Fogle said. “You get interrupted in your rest so when you have to go to work you don’t be rest up enough to go to work.”

City officials say if passed, a construction noise ordinance would limit construction on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. No construction would be allowed on Sundays.

The Director of Business and Development for Mashburn Construction, Bryan Stange, says they always try to work with property owners to limit disruptions. The company is building a hotel at the corner of Cumberland and State Streets and their also working on other projects.

“All of us who work downtown in construction are used to working under a lot of constraints and whatever decision the city makes as far as when we can work of course the construction community is going to embrace that,” Stange said.

The goal is to cut down on loud noise that is disruptive to people near construction sites. The city has received many noise complaints. The city says those who need exceptions can speak with the building department.

The Government Affairs Director for the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors, Josh Dix, helped craft the ordinance along with other stakeholders.

“That’s the one thing we’ve really tried to work with council on and negotiate on, we need those particular carve outs because there are exceptions that we can’t forsee, we can’t budget for," Dix said. "I think it’s just the responsible thing to do that we’re allowed to make up for time lost. We’re able to repair windows and roofs and different things when a storm occurrence comes and we’re not held to a standard that just because there’s a noise ordinance in place that we can’t do the necessary work to keep everyone living and functioning in their home. ”

Dix says he sees the need for restrictions but wants to make sure it’s done responsibly to accommodate the growth.

Council members considered new construction rules in 2018, but it was deferred and revisited at the end of the last year.

Council is discussing the ordinance on Tuesday to give the four new council members and opportunity to give feedback and review the ordinance before making a final vote.

Advocates for builders say they are concerned that this ordinance will make construction projects take longer because of time restrictions. They also believe this could drive up construction costs.

The ordinance passed first reading late last year, city spokesman Jack O’Toole said. It was on Tuesday’s agenda so that new council members would have the chance to review it and ask questions before it comes back for a final reading at the next meeting, scheduled for Jan. 28.

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