Tenant says construction hours at apartments are too long, but developer says noisiest part of job will be done soon

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Crews work on the Highline Apartments Tuesday.

A woman who rents at the new Highline Apartments on Bills Lane said she was probably going to break her lease because of noise at the development.

Allison Dubenezic told the Columbia Falls city council that construction on the new units of the complex was keeping her up at night and waking her up in the morning.

She said crews have started as early as 5 a.m. and have gone as late as 1 a.m. the next morning.

They were even working at 8 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, she said.

She said on some days, a generator has been running all night. Its not as noticeable during the day, “But when you’re trying to sleep, it’s like a freight train.”

“I can’t live here,” she said. “I’m leaving.”

City manager Susan Nicosia said she spoke to the construction company — Compass Construction — and that the extended hours were temporary as they work on the concrete foundations.

Brent Brown of Greenway Capital, the project developer, said Tuesday tenants were notified that there would be noise while the concrete was going in. He said they’ve only had two complaints and they were willing to work with Dubenezic. He added that the concrete work is almost finished and should wrap up in about a week.

Bill Goldberg of Compass construction concurred. He said the concrete pour once it starts can’t be stopped, which caused the one late-night work schedule. The weather also plays a huge factor in pouring concrete. This week should be a good week for pouring, since the weather is expected to be warmer.

Other renters the Hungry Horse News spoke to confirmed that construction starts early and ends late at night and they, too, have complained to the apartment’s management.

The city doesn’t have a noise ordinance and there’s no set times for construction activity in city law — just guidelines in its subdivision regulations, which say work shouldn’t start before 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Brown said from here on out, the company would adhere to that schedule.

Mayor Don Barnhart, who has worked in construction his entire life, said the hours that were previously being worked there seemed untenable.

“It’s common courtesy,” he said to not work too early in the morning or too late at night.

But having said that, he wasn’t thrilled about creating a new law to address the situation and suggested it might better be addressed in the building permit process, where times of allowable operation were simply written into the permit.

Other cities in the county have regulations on the books that specifically dictate construction hours.

Dubenezic said breaking her lease was going to cost her $1,500.

Council gave Greenway Capital of Missouri the OK to expand the apartment complex earlier this fall.

Since then there’s been an expedited effort since to get them built, as demand has been high for the units, which are fairly affordable and also allow pets.

When finished, the complex will have about 200 apartments. It currently has about 70 built and occupied.

Brown said the project’s reception has been overwhelmingly positive. The next phase includes more apartments and a clubhouse for residents. It should be completed this summer.

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