By Alexis Macklin, On Friday, December 14th, 2012
The construction agency building the Roosevelt Point apartments in downtown Phoenix pleaded guilty last month to one count of enumeration of loud, disturbing and unnecessary noises and paid $948.
Hardison Downey, the company building the apartment complex, was originally charged with two violations but struck a plea deal with the city of Phoenix, and the first was dismissed.
These charges stemmed from July 14 and 17, when Hardison Downey worked past midnight on the new apartment complex.
The construction kept neighboring residents from sleeping.
One resident, Ron Blake, reported Hardison Downey to the Phoenix Police Department after he said there had been construction happening “at 2, 3, 4, 5 in the morning.”
Blake is a resident at Skyline Lofts and runs his business, Blake House Cleaning, out of his apartment. He said he considered moving his business elsewhere due to the noise.
“The crux of it for me is there’s right and there’s wrong, and I hate to see people get away with improper situations like this,” he said.
For now, the night work is over, said Patrick Downey, executive vice president of Hardison Downey.
Downey acknowledges that the company made a mistake in not obtaining the required permits. He said the cause of the late-night work was not the fear of finishing in time but rather keeping workers out of the Arizona summer heat.
“We goofed,” Downey said. “We are appreciative of the neighborhood and business cooperation and glad that the night work is over.”
Concord Eastridge, the developer of Roosevelt Point, hired Hardison Downey to construct the apartments. Senior Vice President and Regional Director Steven Schnoor also acknowledged the late-night construction. He said Concord Eastridge offered to temporarily relocate residents of neighboring apartment complexes to a hotel, but no one accepted the offer.
“The fact that they did not have the correct permit was an oversight,” Schnoor said. “We both worked very hard during the time period when we did need to work at night to try to minimize the impact in the neighborhood.”
Schnoor hopes that the mistake will not occur again.
“We always strive to have all the permits required to do the project, and we certainly will do our best in the future to make sure we have all the necessary permits at the appropriate time and it is just unfortunate that this oversight occurred,” he said.
According to city attorney Vicki Hill, there have been other construction noise complaints, but most do not reach criminal charges.
“Not everything raises to a criminal complaint. They come to nothing or are resolved in a different way,” she explained.
Blake said he thinks it is important for the city to take a stand against late-night construction or else there will be more problems with future projects. The University of Arizona Cancer Center, for example, will be constructed by 2015 on Fillmore and Seventh streets, covering 1.56 acres.
“I think students need to be aware that this kind of problem could happen again,” Blake said. “We’re not against progress by any means downtown, but you can’t step all over the law to do it.”
Roosevelt Point is relying on students to lease the apartments for the next school year, catering to the student needs of dorm living.
Sophomore journalism student Troy Lopez is looking to live at Roosevelt Point for the 2013-14 school year.
“It looks really nice,” Lopez said. “My only fear I get from it would be turning into the off-campus housing in Tempe, like the Vista or even the Vue, but realistically I don’t think it would ever come to that because the Downtown students and the environment are just so much different from Tempe.”
Mayor Greg Stanton said he is hopeful about the future development of the area, despite the late construction on Roosevelt Point.
“It is in some ways a good find that we have people living at the heart of the city that we get noise complaints, in some ways it is progress, but still we want developers to comply with the rules and make sure people can live in peace in those areas,” he said.
Stanton believes the construction will bring about more activity to the downtown area and thinks residents realize this. He said that both the developers and residents want improvement and they usually work well together to accomplish this.
“People who live downtown want more downtown development, so most people are really reasonable about putting up with the inconvenience during the construction period knowing how important this is to get done as quickly as possible so that it can open and get the students and others in there as soon as possible,” Stanton said.