Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report
The San Antonio area expects to add an additional million residents by 2040, but that growth comes with a lot of noise and some residents are tired of losing sleep over it.
Councilman John Courage (D9) has filed a Council Consideration Request to create new local rules limiting loud construction operations near homes at night. The CCR was drafted after hearing from several area neighbors about a residential project in Stone Oak.
At a press conference Tuesday, Courage said he appreciates San Antonio’s thriving construction industry which provides housing throughout the city, “but there has to be reasonableness about this kind of development.”
Courage’s proposal would prohibit overnight construction within 300 feet of a home, limiting activity between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekends citywide. Other Texas cities have similar laws. Dallas limits “any construction activity related to the erection, excavation, demolition, alteration, or repair of any building on or adjacent to a residential use” between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during the week and 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekends.
Courage filed his Council Consideration Request last week, but he hosted a ceremonial signing of the document alongside North Side neighborhood association leaders Tuesday.
Several master-planned suburban neighborhoods surround Aura Stone Oak, a 375-unit luxury multifamily development off Evans Road. The project by Dallas-based Trinsic Residential Group is slated to open November 2019.
Residents have had enough of early-morning and late-night noise associated with this and other construction projects, said Viki Melton, president of the Big Springs Homeowners Association. “The developer has been not responsive to our concerns whatsoever. We’ve had people hammering and out there using backhoes as early as 4 o’clock in the morning and as late as 2 o’clock at night.”
A representative for Trinsic did not return requests for comment Tuesday.
The initiative likely will see pushback from the development community.
“Prohibiting exterior overnight commercial construction work in that way is not unreasonable,” said Doug McMurry, executive vice president of the San Antonio chapter of the Associated General Contractors. “We do, however, understand why some crews would prefer to work at night.”
During the summer months, temperatures often climb into triple-digits, he said.
“I think it’s common sense,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said later on Tuesday. “I think it’s going to be a policy that’s going to be widely celebrated in neighborhoods throughout the city. … Councilman Courage is once again proving he’s on the side of neighbors in our community.”
Councilmembers Roberto Trevino (D1), Jada Andrews-Sullivan (D2), Adriana Rocha Garcia (D4), and Ana Sandoval (D7) also signed on to the request, which could be heard this year by City Council’s Governance Committee or the Planning and Community Development Committee, Courage. He serves on both. From there, a majority of City Council — six votes — would have to vote on the measure for it to become law.
While most of the loud activity has ceased at Aura Stone Oak, Courage noted new projects are cropping up all over the city near or inside neighborhoods.
The number of homes sold in San Antonio decreased slightly in June 2019 compared to last year from 3,326 to 3,306, according to the San Antonio Board of Realtors’ monthly report, but “both the average and median sales prices experienced year-over-year increases, with the average rising 6 percent to $284,852 and the median growing 4 percent to $241,000.”
“It only lasts five or six months at a time as these different neighborhoods get built, but more and more of them are being built all over town,” Courage told the Rivard Report. “We’re asking the development community and the construction community to try and structure their times more to meet the needs of the [residential] community.”
The initiative is called “Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site,” Courage said, named for the popular children’s bedtime story.