PUNTA GORDA — Punta Gorda noise regulations have come under fire again and this time the problem is landscaping and construction.
Over the years, the city’s ordinance regarding noise has been challenged regarding issues with pickleball at Gilchrist Park, music in the downtown area, events and other functions at Laishley Park, homeowners’ pool pumps and air conditioning units, among others.
The city’s ordinance states that construction is allowed between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. and landscaping, or lot mowing, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. throughout the week.
For some residents, those start times are just too early.
“Recently, the city mowing of vacant lots has been undertaken as early as 7 a.m. on Sunday morning, which we consider very unbecoming of any neighborhood in our city,” wrote Jim Lawson and Sue Reeves in a joint email to the city for the Oct. 7 City Council meeting.
The city offers a lot mowing program where a landscaping company, hired by the city, mows lawns for residents and other vacant lots within the city limits.
“We understand that mowing, especially with the recent rains, is difficult to schedule,” Lawson and Reeves continued, “but there should be at least one day of the week where peace reigns supreme.”
Punta Gorda Isles resident Sheri Lenora echoed that sentiment but in response to construction work.
“There needs to be stricter requirements regarding contractor hours and days of operations,” Lenora wrote in an email to the meeting. “I’ve had five homes built around me since I moved here six years ago.”
“The contractors worked from early morning to late at night Monday through Saturday when they were putting on roofs,” Lenora continued. “The noise goes up the canal or if close by, the noise is almost unbearable. I’ve had to leave my home when this work occurs.”
City Council member Debby Carey has also had similar issues in her neighborhood.
“Last Sunday morning at 5 minutes until 7 a.m., three city contract mowers showed up at the four lots next to my house all at once and started mowing,” Carey said. “They unloaded the truck with all three mowers in my front yard and all three were mowing at the same time. My window was shaking (from the noise).”
Going forward, the City Council has directed city staff to work with the contractors for both landscaping and construction to see if they can either not operate on Sunday or if they do, start a little later in the morning such as around 8 or 9 a.m.
If a resident has a complaint regarding landscaping or construction noise happening outside of the operational hours, city staff encourages them to call the Code Enforcement office at 941-575-3352 or the non-emergency number for the Punta Gorda Police Department, 941-639-4111.