STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
HORSESHOE BAY — Area builders are pushing back on a proposal under consideration by Horseshoe Bay City Council that would ban more construction days in an effort to reduce the amount of noise in neighborhoods around the holidays.
As a result of the builder backlash, the council has scheduled a workshop at 3 p.m. Tuesday, June 26, in the city council chamber, #1 Community Drive.
“A citizen complaining about workers working shouldn’t punish the whole group of builders based on the one who’s abusing the privilege to work on a holiday,” said Clifford Grubbs of Grubbs Construction. “We are trying to be proactive as builders and get ahead of some of the rules they want to propose.”
Officials initially fielded a complaint in April from a Slick Rock area resident regarding home construction noise.
“A citizen was upset that, the Saturday before Easter, there was a lot of construction noise at a house that was being built across from him,” Horseshoe Bay City Manager Stan Farmer said. “The council instructed staff to draft an ordinance that would prohibit construction on Saturdays before a major holiday which falls on a Sunday.”
The proposed new code includes enforcement protocol, warnings, and potential fines for violators.
The council agreed to table a decision until July pending more research and a workshop with builders for input about the proposed code.
“(The proposed ordinance would affect) only a handful of Saturdays because it depends on the year,” Farmer said. “That holiday has to fall on a Sunday to be effective.
“If the Fourth of July falls on a Wednesday, it’s not going to affect that Saturday,” he added.
Currently, builders are restricted to construction from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, according to city code.
“There are certain jobs I wouldn’t do on the weekend because there’s so much noise,” said Grubbs, who said he goes above and beyond the current restrictions. “I wouldn’t want to bother the neighbors too much where we are working.”
However, he believes a blanket ban on construction on added days could penalize noise-free, sub-contractor work and hamper a builder’s bottom line.
“When you’re trying to finish a job on a deadline, sometimes, you have to work on a Saturday or the day before a holiday when you don’t want to,” Grubbs said. “I would like the right to send my painters in there on one of the Saturdays. They go in there, shut the door, and paint — no noise.”
At the upcoming workshop, Grubbs and several other construction company owners hope to convince City Council members to work with builders regarding any ordinances.
“We think we can police ourselves,” Grubbs said about the industry. “Some of this stuff has to be common sense.”