City addresses noise pollution
ASPEN Aspen’s year-round symphony of jackhammers, saws and dump trucks is getting its hours cut.The Aspen City Council unanimously agreed Monday to have contractors adhere to a Construction Management Plan, which aims to enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors, while decreasing emissions and noise pollution and controlling traffic, among other goals.The management plan comes at a time when many residents are saying daily construction activity within city limits is increasingly compromising their quality of life. Additionally, the city, through its oft-touted Canary Initiative, is aiming to be a leading municipality in environmental initiatives.The plan, which three construction mitigation officers will enforce, is set to take effect in 30 days. That’s a boost from the current staff of one, who handles construction enforcement, for $75,000 a year. Increasing the staff to three, who will have added responsibilities thanks to the new plan, will cost the city $245,000, according to city records. Those who violate the guidelines of the new plan will initially get a verbal warning. A subsequent infraction will result in a written warning or notice, and a third violation will trigger a stop-work order, otherwise known as a “red tag.” If the violations are not corrected, the contractor or owner of the property in question will be fined $5,000 a day until the problem is remedied. Resident James March applauded the City Council and staff for a plan he said takes “a huge step in the right direction.”Still, March implored council members to eliminate construction on Saturdays, something they would not do. However, March persuaded the council to limit construction hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, down from the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. originally proposed. Construction will be against the law on all federal holidays, and so-called Aspen holidays such as the weekend of the Food & Wine Magazine Classic. The new plan seemingly addresses both the quality of life and environmental concerns.”The environmental benefit of a [Construction Management Plan] is decreased pollution from Aspen’s construction projects,” city project manager Trisha Coyle wrote in a memo to the City Council. The new regulations will apply to all developments that require the demolition of at least 400 square feet or the disturbance of 1,000 square feet during a one-year period.Among the new plan’s guidelines: Any construction that exceeds 80 decibels will require a “noise suppression plan,” by which the activity will be restricted between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays. Contractors must file a fugitive dust control plan with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, as well as a stormwater pollution prevention plan that complies with the health department. Contractors will be required to notify the public or project status at least once a month through public announcements. Vehicles can not idle for more than 15 minutes. Diesel-powered vehicles can have emissions no darker or denser than 40 percent opacity.For a complete description of the Construction Management Plan, residents can stop by Aspen City Hall and pick up a copy. Rick Carroll can be reached at email@example.com
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