(June 8, 2018) Deeming the Aloft Hotel construction site on 45th Street large enough to maintain noise levels within prescribed decibel levels for adjacent neighbors, the City Council on Monday approved a request to allow mechanical and construction work to begin at 7 a.m.
Planning Director Bill Neville said contractor Whiting-Turner hopes to start four major concrete pours, which are time-specific events. The company also sought a blanket request to fire up power tools earlier than normally permitted during summer.
The city generally restricts construction activities until 9 a.m. between May and September.
Neville noted two years earlier the council had turned down a similar request for a construction project on the Boardwalk by 11th Street.
“In that case, the building was under construction just inches away from a neighbor,” he said.
More recently, Neville said the council approved a comparable request to start concrete pours before 9 a.m. at the Crystal Beach Hotel project at 2500 North Baltimore Ave.
“That was a case where the nearest neighbor was the next block across the street,” he said.
Whiting-Turner superintendent Jason Williams said due to the site’s size and bayside location, decibel readings were taken along corresponding property lines to gauge the noise impact on neighbors.
“At no point did our decibel readings exceed that of traffic along Coastal Highway,” he said.
Councilman Tony DeLuca made a motion to approve the request based on regular observation of the site.
“I live right across the street from the project,” he said. “My balcony faces it and I can’t hear a thing.”
Councilwoman Mary Knight said she observed the site during a concrete pour last week and also thought the noise was underwhelming.
“I went down to listen … and I couldn’t hear anything either,” she said.
Knight did inquire if early-morning delivery trucks could be routed to avoid backing into the site.
“Will you have vehicles backing up making that beeping sound?” she asked. “If they could pull in, that definitely would satisfy a lot of people.”
Council president Lloyd Martin agreed the backing up sounds could prove bothersome.
“That beeping at 7 a.m. could be higher than anyone wants to hear,” he said.
Williams said most deliveries would be scheduled for later in the morning, but some backing maneuvers are unavoidable.
“The concrete trucks do need to back up to the hopper,” he said.
Dave D’Alessio, Whiting-Turner project manager for the Aloft Hotel, said adjacent properties would be notified when concrete pour dates are scheduled.
“We will notify the local businesses and condominium buildings ... so they are aware what days we’re pouring concrete,” he said.
Councilman Dennis Dare said beeping sounds from heavy equipment backing up has generated complaints in other instances.
“During beach replenishment, we have bulldozers running up and down the beach and no one ever complains until they back up,” he said.
The pitch of backup beeps is intended to penetrate in the interest of safety, which may require preventative measures to appease those within ear shot, Dare said.
“You might want to position box trucks so it reflects sound up,” he said.
Dare also said giving prior notice for concrete pours could still prove an inconvenience for beach visitors at nearby hotels and condo units.
“To tell them a day ahead they’re going to be getting up at 7 a.m. is not what they bargained for,” he said.
Dare also suggested amending the motion to permit the council to revisit the issue if subsequent noise complaints occur.
Councilman Wayne Hartman raised concerns about the impact on an adjacent hotel, which markets itself as providing complete guest satisfaction.
“If somebody goes to the front desk and complains about anything, they have to refund 100 percent,” he said.
To help curtail potential complaints, Hartman asked if trucks could be diverted away from the nearby hotel.
“Is it safe to ask that all the concrete trucks can be on the parking lot and not going down the street by the hotel,” he said.
Williams said he has previously provided contact information to neighboring hotels and condominiums, but would reach out again to assure potential issues are resolved satisfactorily.
“I hope it’s not an issue,” Hartman said. “I don’t want to do anything to slow down the progress.”