Town of Palm Beach News

Modifying The Construction Rules of Palm Beach

Town of Palm Beach Island contractors are having a hard time these days due to construction-weary residents asking for changes to Town regulations concerning work hours and days. Residents want changes badly, but contractors are of the opinion there are enough restrictions already.

Still, the Town of Palm Beach has to address complaints about noise and traffic, so they are thinking about modifying the construction rules of Palm Beach.

John Page, Director of Planning, Zoning and Building Commission, and Bill Bucklew, Building Official, have both met with area contractors to discuss possible changes and hear them out. Their feedback was presented by Page to the Town’s Ordinances, Rules and Standards Committee, and, according to him, they had quite a grim outlook.

From December to April, contractors are allowed to work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Before 9 a.m. only “quiet work” is allowed, and of course, they are not allowed to make noise on weekends and holidays.

From May to November, during the off-season, the working hours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and both Sundays and holidays are off limits.

Town staff talked to representatives from 10 construction companies about the possibility of shortening the hours or implementing further restrictions to early morning work and lessening the noise and traffic of the late afternoon and early evening, considering the fact that construction on the island has created parking congestion and noise. But from the perspective of construction companies’ representatives, there was no upside to this option.

According to the contractors, there are already too many complex rules about working hours in Palm Beach, as well as parking and project length restrictions. Not only that, but they are also required to go through a review and permitting process that is quite strict. They stated that any additional restrictions would only complicate their current projects and create difficulties for the future ones, especially in the light of frequent presidential visits and what they did to their already restricted schedule.

If any additional restrictions get implemented, contractors said, the town should expect construction costs to rise.

Modifying The Construction Rules of Palm Beach

Still, Town of Palm Beach Town Council members have heard the residents out, and their most frequent complaints are about noise and parking. Saturdays during summer are a particular cause of complaints, as most of the residents are home and trying to enjoy family time, and they do not want noise during that period, so the town officials promised to look into that.

Councilwoman Julie Araskog suggested that the summer season should be shortened from May through October, and that on Saturdays there should only be quiet work, but according to Bucklew, that would mean extending the construction duration, as contractors would need more days to complete the project. As he explained, restricting hours would worsen the problem of parking, even if it could alleviate some of the noise.

A cause for concern in Page’s opinion is that if any other restrictions were suggested, the contractors would certainly organize some opposition, similar to the pushback from landscaping contractors when residents wanted to pass the leaf blower ban.

Staff promised to return to the committee next month with “creative solutions” that would benefit both sides and address their concerns.

Still, parking is the issue they intend to tackle immediately. Bucklew promises the situation will be tightened, and anyone in violation will get cited, fined, and possibly lose their on-street passes. Contractors have three on-street parking permits per job, and in case they get three citations for parking violations, they can lose the permit. The town is also thinking of suggesting that contractors should be required to submit a parking plan and assign an on-street parking monitor.

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Jeanette has written for online magazines run by some of the biggest regional newspapers, college newspapers, and for various companies. She is most interested in local politics, music, and the 'foodie' scene of Palm Beach.

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