Bay Harbor Islands residents may no longer be taunted by the racket of construction on Saturdays.
For about two years, Bay Harbor Islands has seen an influx of development, and with that, construction trucks barreling down the streets and the hum of tools at work. Construction has ceased only on Sundays, giving residents a break from the noise that is permitted from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. the rest of the week.
Council members on Monday evening tentatively approved a ban on the operation of construction sites on Saturdays. The code will be revised if the ordinance passes again at the May meeting.
Residents such as Gil Baker rejoiced at the prospect of more tranquil Saturdays.
“I am very happy to hear that you are reaching a consensus towards banning Saturdays,” Baker said. “We enjoy our streets by walking and Saturday has been hell on the East Island.”
But while Saturdays may be off the table, the council decided that something would have to give.
At the Monday meeting, Councilman Joshua Fuller said he wanted to extend the weekday hours of operation because he did not want construction to draw on longer. He estimated that the elimination of Saturday construction could add anywhere from 2½ to 5 months to a project.
“Nobody wants a construction project to go on forever next to their home,” said Fuller, who suggested the hours be extended to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Some residents opposed longer construction days, concerned that it would only further exacerbate morning traffic from the school and interrupt their evenings.
“We have 38 projects planned,” resident Paul Basil said. “It is gridlock [with traffic]. We do not want them starting earlier.”
Vice Mayor Jordan Leonard ultimately voted in favor of the amendment, but did not want the ordinance to apply to the construction projects that have already started. Councilwoman Kelly Reid disagreed.
“I think it is really complicated and I am not in favor of that,” Reid said.
Leonard said he was concerned about what this would mean for further business negotiations.
“To change the process midstream sets a bad business tone,” Leonard said.
But Reid said that rationale was problematic.
“Then how can we ever change the code?” Reid said.
The council ultimately voted 4-1 to eliminate Saturday construction, but extend weekday hours to 6 p.m. Councilwoman Kelly Reid, who was not in favor of the longer hours, voted against the ordinance and Councilwoman Stephanie Bruder was absent from the dais.