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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Morning Construction Fun/Bureacratic Headaches

This morning at 6:30 we were awakened by the sound of bulldozers or some other kind of construction equipment, right under our window. There was a cute little craftsman house whose backyard abutted the side of our condo complex, so right under our window was their backyard. We used to be able to see their tulip tree, and birds chirping there. A few months ago they bulldozed it to make room for a condo project. That's happening a lot in our neighborhood. There was a cute Spanish style 1920 house up the street that also got bulldozed. Before they could start the project, they had to have a City Planning hearing, so the neighbors got notices about it. I called the City Planning office to find out how they could do this, in a neighborhood zoned R2. I thought that meant only 2 residences per lot but evidently it is something to do with the density, and 5 units is fine.

Anyway, the nice guy in the City Planning Office sent me a list of regulations the construction company had to follow. Notably, in the city of LA, you can only do construction between the hours of 7 a.m.- 6 p.m. and not before 8:00 a.m. on Saturdays. The contractor has to maintain a sign with a phone # of a human who will answer the phone 24 hours a day with information about the construction project.

Well, this site doesn't have any sign, and they were starting work WAY too early. I mean, what a rude way to wake up. I'd only just gotten an hour of sleep before that, after waking up to feed Lauren. The whole house woke up at 6:30. I went online to LAPD's website to get the phone # for the Noise Ordinance Enforcement Division. I called the # and got fast busies, and then a message that it was disconnected. So then I called the main line. By the time I'd looked up the number and waited on hold, it was exactly 7:00 a.m. The operator informed me that I was too late and I'd have to "catch them in the act" before 7:00. Grrrrrrr, if they'd done their job and posted the right phone # it would have been before 7:00!

(That's as frustrating as when you have to pay extra in a parking lot because the lot attendants are too slow so when you finally get there, the by-the-minute fee has gone up. Don't you hate that?!)

Anyway, so I asked for the direct line for Noise Ordinance and they gave me a #. When I called, it turned out to be parking enforcement. Then I got the idea to call 311, that new city information line. They told me to call City Planning. City Planning told me to call Building and Safety. I called Building and Safety, meanwhile googling the Planning Board's website for the memo about the property, so I could get the exact address & APN #. The person at Building and Safety had no idea where the street I told him was located. (Mind you, this is a somewhat busy street that stretches for maybe 2 miles!) I told him that address, I told him my address, and he could not find either one in their system so informed me that I did not live in Los Angeles City, and needed to talk to LA County instead. I told him that I certainly do live in LA City, paid LA City taxes and everything, and that he needed to look again.

He put me on hold and got his supervisor on the line. She also suggested I didn't live in the city of LA. She then got out her Thomas Brothers guide and tried to find my neighborhood. I gave her instructions based on the pretty large major freeway I live near, etc. and she finally found it. I read her the parcel # from the Planning Board memo, and she told me that was not a Parcel # (even though it said it was). Finally after a frustrating 20 minutes, she told me if I walked over and looked at the # of the building next door to confirm the number was right, and then called her back, she would look into it, but that she couldn't issue any kind of violation citation without the address being in her system. BTW, this was going to be a citation for their not having the sign, they can't do anything about the noise complaint, only LAPD can do that and they can only do it while it's happening.

Grrrr...I'm still not dressed and ready for the day yet, but when I do I will walk over and get the address and call "Sherelle" back with the info and probably nothing will happen. I forsee that tomorrow morning they will do construction at whatever ungodly hour they want, I will call LAPD, and they will do nothing (as they did when my car was broken into last year) and I will be frustrated again and will probably call the mayor's office to complain.

Anyone have any experience with this sort of thing? How do I get them to stop? "Stud-horse", maybe I can borrow your noise measuring device? I get so little sleep as it is with the baby that I can't really deal with these a$$holes underneath my window whenever they want making such a racket!

Oh and the irony? It's now 11:00 a.m. and they have been done working for hours. THey tend to work from 6:30-9:00 or something like that, and then leave.

1 comment:

stud-horse said...

You are most welcome to borrow my sound level meter.

The worst thing about living in any urban environment is NOISE. Hate it, hate it, hate it. And the worst noise is construction noise. It never stops where I live, even on Sunday. Part of it has to do with the constant "flipping" of houses in my neighborhood, where (for example) a speculator will buy some miserable tiny house for $1,000,000, do about $25,000 in "improvements" (read: construction noise), and then turn it around 18-24 months later and sell it for $1,200,000 - $1,250,000. Hammer hammer pound pound saw saw - these are the sounds Suzy and I awaken to almost every Saturday and Sunday, even though it's ILLEGAL to do construction on a Sunday in SaMo.

If I win the lottery I'm moving to rural southern Nevada and just buy a bunch of acres in the desert. I'm sick of other's people's noise, especially construction noise. So you have my sympathy.