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The Daily Tar Heel

Board Creates Fines for Noise

At Tuesday night's meeting, a provision to the ordinance was added that stated any company violating the noise ordinance will be punished by a $25 fine for the first offense, a $50 fine for the second offense and a $100 fine for the third and following offenses.

The old ordinance did not have a penalty for violators.

Alderman Jacquelyn Gist said builders must post a copy of the ordinance on the kiosk at their construction site telling everyone that construction cannot begin before 7 a.m. so other contractors will be informed.

The ordinance adopted was only one of a number of proposed new ordinance changes. One of the other proposed changes was moving the starting time of construction work from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.

Many local company officials turned out to oppose this possible change in the starting time, citing concerns about worker safety.

"Pushing the starting time past 8 extends the day in terms of the heat factor and workers working at dusk or after dusk," said Jerry O'Keeffe, the director of external relations for Piedmont Natural Gas Co.

He said this is a concern because it increases the risk of heat stroke during the summer months and the possibility of an accident in the winter months because of low light conditions where workers might not be able to see all the heavy construction equipment near the end of the day.

Officials were also concerned that a later starting time would increase costs because of a shortened work day, leading to projects taking longer to complete.

"This change would result in extended time and costs on all projects," said Laurie Flowers, the director of government relations for Chapel Hill and Carrboro communities. "This could cause companies to incur costs for running over expected completion dates."

Scott Gardner, a Duke Power official, said his company would have trouble recruiting commuting workers with a shorter work day because it is hard to get enough workers in the immediate areas of construction.

"The 10-hour work shift helps bring in people from further away and it is more difficult to find workers (that have to commute) when the work day is shorter," he said.

Residents also attended to voice their opinions on the issue.

Ann Stoddard of 2404 Pathway Drive in Carrboro said she was concerned about taxes being raised as a result of government projects taking longer, resulting in higher project costs.

Stoddard, a commercial real estate developer, said she sees two repercussions coming from the later starting time. "One is that taxes go up for extended public projects ... and the other is that (the board's) goal to raise the commercial tax base (will be hurt)," she said.

Alderman Diana McDuffee said she didn't think it was in the community's best interest to penalize the workers and companies with a later starting time.

"I regret that events have gotten us to this point, and I hope that through this exercise we have come up with some proposals that will ameliorate these situations in the future."

The City Editor can be reached


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