One more try

I see in the Malibu Times that the Malibu Association of Contractors wrote a letter to you in response to my recent letter concerning a proposed ban on Saturday construction in Malibu. While much of the letter is without basis, I will nevertheless address the association’s comments. For the record, my letter concerned a proposed ban on “major construction” in Malibu on Saturdays, in addition to the existing ban on Sundays. The work I refer to is the work done on homes and buildings by construction “crews.” I have no problem whatsoever with what the board’s letter writer refers to, listing “vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, blenders, television sets, tapes and CD players, crashing waves, automobiles, motorcycles, babies crying, children laughing, dogs barking, children singing” as examples. The inclusion of these are certainly a result of an attempt at humor. If the contractors had understood the letter I initially wrote, they would have grasped that it was solely construction noise that I was singling out, not everyday household sounds that are far from being intrusive,unlike construction sounds that occur for up to 10 hours a day.

I do, however, find it rather ironic that the contractors write, “While it is true one of the reasons many of use choose to live in Malibu is the relative peace and quiet, another reason is the relative freedom from unnecessary restrictions of our activities.” I take exception to this statement, especially when the freedom of an activity such as a barbecue, a gathering of friends, a quiet read of a book, a conversation, etc. is indeed impacted because of the noise of nearby construction. I think it is a simple answer in that the noise of construction does, in fact, restrict the freedom of anyone within earshot.

When the topic of Saturday construction and the problems it causes is discussed with others in the community, it is readily apparent that the consensus of those living in Malibu (other than the board of directors and the 50 members of the Malibu Association of Contractors) is that a ban on construction on Saturdays is called for.

The writer of the letter on behalf of the contractors cites examples of “using a screwdriver, painting, wallpapering and curtain making.” Certainly the Malibu Association of Contractors board of directors and 50 members realize that these are far from being examples of “construction.” This attempt at sarcasm only serves as an example of the lack of cooperation of various contractors to adhere to the existing laws of construction governing Malibu. When the hours of construction are clearly outlined (currently being 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday-Saturday), and yet there are constant violations of same, it only goes to show that stringent regulation of construction hours must apply with fines for noncompliance.

I disagree with the letter writer’s suggestion that “a city wide ordinance imposing restrictions” is something “most do not want.” Just the opposite. Rather than allowing construction from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. many people would like to see this changed to an 8:00 a.m. start. This is in addition to the wide support for a ban on Saturday construction altogether. This is the reason that the current restrictions exist. It serves as a protection from construction crews working late into the night in order to finish a project that is behind schedule. What if a contractor was overburdened with work and had a crew working (yes; hammering, sawing, drilling, sanding, etc.) until 1 a.m.? Or what if a crew wanted to hurry things along and showed up at 5 a.m.? It is just for this reason that we have the rules that we do. Along with so many others, we hope that the City Council makes the decision to include Saturdays as at time when no construction is allowed to give us all a break from the noise of construction. If, at this time, that is not the council’s decision, then we look forward to a Saturday construction ban being on a ballot measure so that it can be put to a vote.

Kay Patterson

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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