A News 4 camera found workers on at least one Nashville construction site as early as 4 a.m.
When the News 4 I-Team first heard construction work was happening early in the morning, we decided to check it out for ourselves.
It was 4:30 a.m. on a Friday in Green Hills off Crestmoor Road when we found construction work happening.
“The jack hammering, the backup beeps, the construction, the trucks, the constant, constant noise,” said nearby resident Renee Edwards.
Edwards said she sick of it and she and her family are looking to move. She currently lives down the street just a couple blocks behind what will ultimately be two new hotels.
"It's like a battle, us versus them. And that is not at all what growth should enable,” Edwards said.
She said workers are working on these sites at all hours of the day and night, and sometimes it's so loud she can't sleep.
The I-Team reported earlier this month this is the same site under investigation by the state after a man fell and was hospitalized this summer.
So why are the workers able to work this early? According to the city ordinance, they can.
"There’s no limitation on the time frame which construction can take place unless the project is in a residential area,” said Metro Nashville Zoning Administrator Bill Herbert.
Technically where Edwards lives isn’t zoned residential. There are condos which are even closer to the construction site and they aren't zoned residential either.
Residential means within 600 feet. Herbert said unless your home is pretty much next to a construction site, construction is allowed any time of the day or night, no matter how loud.
“We recognize this problem. And back in 2014 the codes department implemented a construction noise mitigation policy,” Herbert said.
What that noise mitigation policy says is contractors and developers are expected to talk with neighbors if someone complains about the noise.
Edwards understands the work has to get done, but what she doesn't understand is how that kind of noise is OK in the middle of the night.
“What do you say to people who say the laws aren’t tough enough?” the I-Team’s Lindsay Bramson asked Herbert.
“I have to follow the law presented to me. That’s what this department does,” he replied.
So who can change the current ordinance? Metro Council can.
“You know you can’t do a project like this without creating noise, that's just a fact of growth,” said Councilman Russ Pulley.
“But should this kind of noise be happening at say 4:30 in the morning?” Bramson asked.
“Well, then you have to get to what kind of noise it is, what are they doing, is it better for this to happen at 4:30 a.m. than it is in the middle of the afternoon from a traffic standpoint?” Pulley said.
Right now the only restriction in Nashville is the noise can't be louder than 70 decibels before 6 a.m. But that's 70 decibels from your home.
Councilman Pulley said there has been talk of changing the city ordinance to include some stiffer rules when it comes to construction work overnight.
“Tougher but manageable, where we don't hamstring developers to the point where they can’t get their job done yet we do give neighbors some kind of relief,” Pulley said.
One of the big names behind the hotels being built is Green and Little. The developer didn't want to talk to the I-Team when we called, but his attorney said there have been no formal complaints made since work started 15 months ago. The attorney said the reason for work being done so early is to avoid causing traffic problems for people later in the day.
The I-Team checked and no formal complaints have been made with the city on this project. However, we found nearly two dozen noise complaints on other projects have been made throughout Nashville so far this year, including one from earlier this month where a person complained work was happening on another construction site between 3:30 a.m. and 4 a.m.
"We chose Green Hills because we love the cohesiveness of residential along with businesses. I don't want to leave, but they’re not going to leave and they're not going to change,” Edwards said.
The I-Team wanted to know how Nashville compares to other cities. In Austin, TX, construction is not allowed between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 7 a.m.
In Charlotte, NC, there is no construction between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. And in Louisville, KY, no work can be done between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.
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