With several projects under construction and more planned, the City of Saline has decided new rules are necessary to protect residents' quality of life.
Saline City Council voted 6-1 to adopt a new construction activity ordinance at its July 9 meeting.
The new ordinance prohibits construction between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m., Monday-Saturday. Construction is prohibited on Sundays and legal holidays. There are exceptions. Construction is allowed during those hours if there are no occupied dwellings within 1,000 feet. It's also allowed by the owner or occupant of an existing single family structure. The ordinance also gives government work a free pass.
The ordinance will be enforced by the Saline Police Department. Violators can be charged with a misdemeanor crime.
Mayor Brian Marl said the ordinance is a product of discussions he and city staff had with residents of Huntington Woods. Homeowners there say construction of phase two of the subdivision has harmed their quality of life.
The ordinance is based on a similar ordinance on Novi, where Saline's police chief previously worked.
"It created relief for residents," said Chief Jerrod Hart
Councillor Christen Mitchell said she was one of the council members who pushed for the ordinance. She said she understood the concerns of residents who grow weary of long construction projects. She pointed to last year's construction season. At home, in the Wildwood subdivision, she would hear construction at the schools as early as 5 a.m. Then she would go to work downtown and hear the construction all day.
"I was surprised by the wear and tear and stress it causes," Mitchell said.
Mitchell said she thought the ordinance didn't go far enough, saying an ordinance sutiable Novi, a town of 60,000 people, wasn't necessarily good for Saline, a town of less than 10,000 people. Mitchell asked council to remove the language allowing construction if it was more than 1,000 feet away from homes.
"We have a different area. We're a rural community. The 1,000-foot language distresses me. I think it ruins the ordinance," Mitchell said.
Mayor Marl said he wouldn't be comfortable adopting an ordinance without some kind of allowance for construction away from neighborhoods, but said he was willing to compromise on a distance.
Mitchell said she did not have a distance to suggest.
Councillor McClelland said she had some concerns about prohibition of construction on Sundays and holidays.
Councillor Janet Dillon said she had concerns about differentiating between personal construction and commercial construction. Councillor Jack Ceo noted that if he started up his table saw at 6 a.m., his neighbors could still file a noise complaint.
Mitchell cast the lone vote against the ordinance.
The ordinance takes effect in 20 days. Hart said he would begin training Saline Police Department staff on enforcement.