Thank you for writing me about legislation creating a major project noise variance. The legislation would allow major public projects that last over 6 months to receive a variance to allow nighttime construction during the period the project is being constructed. Current law allows for a 2-week variance, which must be renewed.
I proposed two amendments to this legislation. The first amendment would allow for an appeal of a permit to the Hearing Examiner after the first year the permit is in place. This would allow for easier citizen access than having to appeal to Superior Court. This amendment passed by a 6-3 vote.
My second amendment would institute an annual review of any variance, in line with the Quiet Alliance proposal. The proposed legislation provides only for review after the first year. My amendment was defeated by a 5-4 vote. The legislation was then passed at the full council.
While it is unfortunate this amendment did not pass, the amendment that passed will allow for greater citizen accessibility.
Proponents say it will allow for stronger conditions to be put in place from the beginning, because the public agencies will have a greater incentive to agree to conditions and spend more money with a longer duration for the permit. I hope that works; if it doesn’t, the opportunity to appeal to the Hearing Examiner after one year should help.