By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
CAROLINA BEACH - If you hear hammers and power saws after hours in Carolina Beach, call the Police. That's the message Town officials are communicating to the public after an increase in complaints about construction crews working either too early or late in the evening.
Under the Town's "Noise Control Ordinance" noise from construction activities is permitted from 7AM to 6PM on weekdays and between the hours of 9AM and 5PM on Saturday. No work on Sundays.
The ordinance states, "Such work is prohibited on Sunday for which building permits have been issued, or construction operations not requiring permits due to ownership of the project by an agency of government; provided all equipment is operated in accord with the manufacturer's specifications and with all standard mufflers and noise reducing equipment in use and in proper operating condition. Any exceptions to this provision must comply with the process and procedure by which permits to exceed limits may be obtained."
Carolina Beach Director of Operations Gil DuBois explained on October 24th, the Town recently had some complaints from people living in the area around the new Ocean Heights development off Dow Road. He explained, "They've been a good company to work with. Anything we've called to their attention. We've had some noise ordinance calls. We've had some other issues... and we haven't had any repeat issues that I'm aware of."
DuBois said, "We also asked the people if they have a problem to call the police 911 non-emergency number. One of the things I talked to the residents about, if they have an issue where someone is working after 6pm or whatever, if they would call the police department, and we get something documented. If the police get a call and it is documented then the code enforcement officer or the building inspector has something to work off of the next day. If it's a noise ordinance issue, the police department can cite them for the noise violation. If it's documented and they are working after 6pm, well that's on the building permit. So the building inspector can go back and fine them again for working past their permit or either close their permit down."
Council member Leann Pierce said, "We can send somebody over there to look to because we've had a lot of complaints coming out of that neighborhood."
DuBois said it's his understanding the issues have been resolved.
He added, "One of the things me and Police Chief Chris Spivey have talked about, we can't follow up on anything... if someone doesn't call and file a police report. Each one of us drives up that road and we see people working on weekends, working after hours, if it's a homeowner it's one thing but if it's a contractor and they are blocking the road or whatever, it's hard for us to enforce it or do anything about it if we don't have some kind of a documented statement on it."
Chief Spivey said, "When we've responded it's typically been during daylight hours and it's been for blocking the road. Gil and I have had numerous conversations about working after hours and noise complaints. Gil has had to call me on a couple of occasions where I've had to call several of our officers over there. I've described it as a back-channel communications but people have been calling 911. We've encouraged it."
DuBois said, "I get calls from people in Carolina Sands, from different subdivisions, different workers, about people working on Sunday."
DuBois said the restrictions include painting houses or hanging sheetrock. He said, "It might be something that's not noise, but they should not be there working because it's not authorized on their building permit."
When calling the 911 Center, the public is urged to use the non-emergency number at 910-452-6120. That number is used for “urgency without emergency."