AVALON - With new construction booming again in the borough, many residents brought complaints about “out-of-control construction” to the attention of Avalon Borough Council.
Those complaints led to months of deliberations and committee work by Avalon officials, resulting in a new set of regulations governing construction sites in and out of season.
At a council meeting Jan. 23, the governing body adopted several ordinance changes directly speaking to property owners' concerns.
Setting a context for all of the changes was a new definition of what constitutes in- and off-season. The summer season is defined as the period from the third Monday in June to the second Monday in September. The rest of the year is off-season.
Within the summer season, construction hours were reduced with construction activity permitted only from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. No work is allowed on Sundays.
At the height of the summer season, in July and August, there will be a further reduction in hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, with only indoor work permitted during those two months.
One persistent complaint brought to the council has to do with construction activity disrupting the enjoyment of holidays at the shore. The new changes include a ban on activity on Easter Sunday, Memorial Day Weekend, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Work on July 4 is also prohibited, and it may extend to an entire holiday weekend depending upon the day of the week the holiday falls.
Normal landscape maintenance is not impacted by the ordinance changes, but landscape construction is, falling into the same category as all other construction and subject to the same rules.
Responding to concerns about contractors taking up much of a street with trailers, dumpsters, and supplies in order to support a job, the borough added a new concept to the regulations, that of a construction zone. The zone, defined around a property under construction, provides boundaries for vehicles and dumpsters with the rules governing what can and cannot be left in the zone overnight and what limited parking outside the zone is allowed during work hours.
The construction zone also plays a role in the new regulations that control how supplies can be delivered to the site and where they can and cannot be stored. Generally, new materials must be stored on the actual job site with a possible use of the construction zone for up to 24 hours with permission.
Dumpsters are also limited to the job site or the construction zone and initial placement of the dumpster requires a Construction Office permit before placement.
A two-foot high plywood fence must be in place around the job site except for the street side of the property.
Contractors are required to post identifying information on the site, visible to the public, and the information must include emergency contact numbers.
The ordinance changes also require that contractors make use of dust collection bags on saws and similar tools if such equipment is available. A major complaint during the summer of 2018 concerned airborne particulates, especially those produced from the sawing of Azek.
The borough also has committed to continue a change made during this past summer season which saw the hours of code enforcement personnel changed to coincide with approved construction hours. A code enforcement officer will be on-duty starting one hour before and continuing to one hour after allowable construction activity in-season.
Some residents expressed concerns that a few contractors, who blatantly violated rules, see the resulting fines as the cost of doing business. The borough’s response was to provide code enforcement with a significant new tool.
Continuing, recurring or repetitive violations can now result in the code enforcement officer issuing a stop-work order. The stop-work order halts the entire construction process and will only be lifted when a remediation plan is reviewed and accepted by the borough.
In response to a question during the public hearing at the council meeting, Council President James Deever confirmed that the borough would make public data on violations and resolutions, so the public could participate in tracking the effectiveness of the new construction measures.
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