City official fields construction complaints
August 2, 2006
Aaron Reed is the man to call with your construction complaints.In response to a high volume of citizen complaints about local construction projects, the Aspen City Council created the position of construction mitigation officer, which Reed filled July 17. Reed will work with neighbors, property owners, developers and contractors, as well as appropriate city departments to help manage the impacts of construction on surrounding neighborhoods.”This has increased our level of coordination among our departments and contractors in town,” Assistant City Manager Bentley Henderson said in a press release. “The long-term benefit is going to be evident.”
Reed has worked for the city for seven years, the past five at the parks department, and enforcing the city’s rules and regulations is old hat to him. In his new position, he’s a part of the engineering department.Over the past several weeks, Reed has already been patrolling the streets of Aspen on the lookout for construction sites in violation of city ordinances, and he’s been fielding complaint calls that have come into other city departments.Common problems include noisy, dusty sites, work outside allowed hours, improperly parked or idling vehicles, unpatched road cuts, mud-tracked onto roadways and improper storage of materials. Many construction sites are crowded, Reed said, because a lot of sites are small or “they’re trying to build setback-to-setback.” That means little room to function, so items like machinery, stone, scaffolding or backfill material can find their way into a spot that requires a storage permit. Frequently, he said, the intent is to leave items temporarily, and subcontractors often aren’t as familiar with the city’s ordinances as developers or regular contractors.
But “that’s not how it works, even for one day,” Reed said.Reed said that if an item is left in an improper location, even if it’s temporary, he’ll be speaking with the contractor. He’s already been to one residential site where workers were starting construction before 7 a.m. Reed went to the site every morning for a week, and as of Wednesday, workers were waiting until 7 a.m. to begin.”I think most of the contractors are very receptive in general,” he said. “They want to do what it takes to get the job done.”
Although Reed anticipated the possibility of resolving many problems quickly, he said that if contractors remain out of compliance with an ordinance, their projects can be shut down, or the city can issue citations. Contractors with questions about ordinances or necessary permits can call Reed directly or go to the Community Development Department to make sure they are complying with all regulations.”Overall, I think there are a lot of job sties that are going to change,” Reed said.Call Reed to report a possible construction code violation, or if you have questions about complying with the city’s regulations: 920-5123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Abigail Eagye’s e-mail address is email@example.com