Pittsburgh City Council will take a final vote on Tuesday that would amend the city's existing noise ordinance to end late-night construction on private property.
Under current law, construction is restricted in residential zones from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The amendment would limit all private development to hours between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Impact construction such as demolition and jack hammering would be restricted further to between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Public works, including sewage and road construction, would be exempt.
City Council voted unanimously in Wednesday's preliminary vote to pass the amendment. Councilwomen Deb Gross and Natalia Rudiak were absent.
Gross, chairperson for the committee on Land Use and Economic Development, said last week that Pittsburgh’s recent increase in development prompted the proposal. She said the bill would help neighbors of construction adequately enforce the zoning ordinance.
“It’s probably the biggest building boom the city has ever seen and our code hadn’t caught up,” she said.
Several speakers at a public hearing Feb. 14 supported the amendment, adding personal anecdotes about disturbances they’ve experienced due to construction.
Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership Director of Economic Development Brian Kurtz expressed concern over the amendment. He said last week the majority of complaints received by the partnership regarding nighttime construction noise is the direct result of City of Pittsburgh projects.
And the measure might not provide nighttime reprieve for residents, Kurtz said. Private construction is often conducted in the mornings and evenings to prevent conflict with day-to-day proceedings, he said.
“Late-night noise restrictions can still be implemented while allowing general construction activity to occur,” he said, urging council to reconsider. “There should not be a one size fits all approach to limiting construction activity between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.”
Gross said last week the committee would look into it.
“It is important and we will be addressing it," she said, "but it would be a different amendment to a different section of language.”