Falmouth Councilor Hope Cahan has been working on ordinance changes to limit noise and dust originating from local construction sites. Courtesy photo

FALMOUTH — Developers have agreed to limit construction times and reduce dust and excessive noise after the town received numerous complaints from residents.

The Town Council is drafting new restrictions for contractors that would limit dust from construction sites and restrict work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with no construction allowed on Sunday and certain holidays that are yet to be determined.

The changes won’t be considered by the council for a few months, as a draft is still being written and solutions to tamp down dust are still being solidified. However, developers said they are willing to comply sooner rather than later, Councilor Hope Cahan, who is also a member of the Ordinance Committee, said Sept. 30.

“Staff met with current developers to see if they would be voluntarily willing to follow this and they are, so that is really positive,” Cahan said.

Construction sites that have spurred concern are the Homestead Acres and Meadow Winds projects in West Falmouth, Cahan said.

The town ordinance has no set restrictions on construction times, and residents have been complaining about noise in the morning and into the evening.

“There are some definite issues, as these are two large projects close to each other, so it was important to address,” Cahan said in an Oct. 5 interview.

Cahan said residents also reported excessive dust that sometimes covers their vehicles and yards.

“We see huge clouds of dust coming from the zone, and we are downwind,” resident Stephen Dyer said an Aug. 24 council meeting that spurred the change. “With sound, we called the town and there wasn’t any (time) limits. I was at my property in the early morning with a (sound monitor) with a decibel reading of 92.”

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sounds sustained at 70 or more decibels can cause hearing issues; 92 dB is equivalent to the sound of a gas-powered lawn mower or a motorcycle.

According to Cahan, town staff has visited the construction sites over the past two weeks to monitor the noise levels and dust migration.

“The dust concerns were more complex because each site has unique land issues, but development projects are already required to have erosion control plans,” Cahan said. “Additional language about onsite construction speed limits and dust control should be reviewed further.”

While the town already calls for dust control via fencing and screens, additional changes could include covering mounds of dirt.

According to Cahan, developers have been regularly watering the sites to reduce dust since work on the changes began.

A meeting to discuss the new policies will be set after the drafting process, Cahan said.

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