Sparks City Council Meeting 4/12/2021 2:00:00 PMMeeting Link: https://zoom.us/j/99416800587
Meeting Dial-in #: 1-669-900-6833 Meeting ID: 994 1680 0587
General Business: 9.4
Title: Consideration, discussion, and possible direction to the City Manager to initiate changes to Sections 20.04.005 (Intensity Standards) and 20.03.040 (Temporary Uses) of the Sparks Municipal Code to amend permitted hours of construction.
Petitioner/Presenter: Sparks City Council/Jim Rundle, Planning Manager
Recommendation: Staff recommends City Council consider the input obtained from construction industry representatives and provide direction to the City Manager on possible changes to construction hours in Section 20.05.005 (Intensity Standards) and Section 20.03.040 (Temporary Uses) of the Sparks Municipal Code.
Financial Impact: No fiscal impact.
Business Impact (Per NRS 237):
A Business Impact Statement is not required because this is not a rule.
A Business Impact Statement is not required because this is not a rule.
Agenda Item Brief:
At the November 23, 2020 City Council meeting, Councilmember Anderson requested that City Manager Krutz provide the City Council the opportunity to amend the sections of the Sparks Municipal Code (SMC) regulating construction hours. At its February 22, 2021 meeting, the City Council voted unanimously to direct the City Manager to conduct outreach to stakeholders and provide their input to the City Council. Staff has subsequently met with representatives of the Association of General Contractors (AGC), Builders Association of Northern Nevada (BANN), and Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). This agenda item provides the City Council an opportunity to consider input provided by these industry representatives and direct the City Manager to proceed with drafting amendments related to modify construction hour limitations in Sparks. Currently, SMC Section 20.04.005(D) limits construction to the hours between 7 A.M. and 7 P.M. Monday through Friday and 9 A.M. to 5 P.M on Saturday. No construction is permitted on Sundays.
In 2015, the City of Sparks comprehensively revised the zoning code (Title 20 of the Sparks Municipal Code (SMC)). Amongst other changes, construction hours were codified in SMC Section 20.04.005(D) to permit construction between 7 A.M. and 7 P.M. Monday through Friday and from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. on Saturdays; no construction is permitted on Sundays.
These construction hours have remained consistent and enforced in Sparks for approximately 20 years. Prior to codification in SMC 20.04.005(D), construction hours were regulated through individual land use entitlements (e.g., special use permits) or by inclusion in development standards handbooks (handbooks) for planned developments, which serve as the zoning regulations for a planned development. As most new development required an entitlement or was governed by a handbook, the City was able to apply construction hour restrictions on most new development occurring in Sparks. However, with construction hours now specified in the zoning code, it no longer is necessary to add a condition to entitlements to govern construction hours.
Adoption of construction hours in the zoning code was accompanied with some flexibility. SMC 20.04.005(D)(2) allows the Administrator (the City Manager or designee) to permit exemptions to the codified construction hours for a specific period and project. Staff has utilized this provision to permit work outside of the adopted hours of construction to promote public safety (e.g., allow night work on a road or utility project) or to allow a large concrete pour to begin prior to 7 A.M. because anticipated heat, humidity, or wind conditions would otherwise preclude such a pour.
On February 22, 2021, City Council directed the City Manager to “initiate conversations with industry representatives and identify needs and possible amendments to SMC section 20.04.005, while minimizing the research hours dedicated by staff, and present the findings to the City Council.”
Accordingly, staff conducted two outreach meetings. The first meeting occurred on March 5 and was attended by Alexis Motarex, representing the Association of General Contractors (AGC), and Mac Bybee, representing the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). A second meeting was conducted on March 10 and was attended by Alexis Motarex, again representing AGC, and Dan Morgan, representing the Builders Association of Northern Nevada (BANN).
At these meetings City staff and construction industry representatives engaged in robust discussions, reflected in the Analysis section below, regarding possible changes to permitted construction hours. Staff reminded the group that these amendments would not necessarily affect any existing planned developments in Sparks, which was understood by those participating. These handbooks generally limit construction to between 7 A.M. and 7 P.M. Monday through Friday, 9 A.M. and 5 P.M. on Saturday, and do not permit work on Sundays. Exhibit 1 to this staff report depicts existing planned developments, outlined in blue, where modifications to the zoning code construction hours would not apply. A significant amount of current construction activity in Sparks occurs within these planned developments.
The two industry meetings staff hosted provided an opportunity for industry representatives to convey their interests regarding permitted construction hours in Sparks. Staff limited the outreach meetings to representatives from AGC, ABC, and BANN, reflecting the Council’s direction to limit the amount of time spent by staff on this request to amend the zoning code. Based on the discussions that occurred at the two meetings, staff has identified two primary requests from the development community:
- Extend construction hours in the summer months (i.e., Memorial Day to Labor Day); and
- Establish parameters for extending Temporary Use Permits (issued to permit work outside of codified construction hours) for up to 30 days.
More specifically, construction industry representatives requested construction hours of 5 A.M. to 7 P.M, Monday through Friday, during the summer months (Memorial Day to Labor Day); the requested 5 A.M. start time is two hours earlier than the 7 A.M. start time currently permitted by SMC 20.04.005. Industry representatives did not request changes to the current Saturday construction hours of 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. or the Sunday prohibition on construction. A principal reason cited by construction industry representatives for seeking an earlier starting time is the physical well-being of employees. An earlier starting time, such as 5 A.M., would allow construction workers to complete an 8-hour shift prior to the hottest hours of the afternoon when temperatures routinely exceed 90 degrees.
The second industry request, to modify Temporary Use Permit regulations, stems from the construction industry’s desire to accommodate concrete pours, which are necessary for a large percentage of construction projects, as pouring concrete can only be done under certain conditions. Excessive winds, high heat, and low humidity can all affect when concrete can be poured. While small concrete pours may be accommodated by the proposed 5 A.M. start of construction, large concrete pours typically require an earlier starting time. There are often periods during northern Nevada’s summer season when weather conditions necessitate that a large concrete pour begin at 3 A.M. SMC 20.03.040 regarding temporary use permits could be amended to accommodate this need. Additionally, industry representatives requested that City staff issue Temporary Use Permits for periods of up to 30 days to work outside the codified hours of construction.
Generally, staff has utilized temporary use permits to allow work outside of codified construction hours to enhance public safety, such as permitting road construction at night when there are substantially fewer vehicles on the road. When the development community submits requests to work outside of codified construction hours and cites “excessive heat” as the rationale, staff has generally limited approvals to a maximum of seven days because temperatures cannot be reliably forecast for a longer period. Staff has approved subsequent and consecutive requests when appropriate, but again limits each approval to seven days. This administrative policy decision ensures staff is predictable and consistent with the development community. While construction industry representatives stated they appreciate the flexibility staff has demonstrated to date, they asked that the City Council direct the City Manager to issue Temporary Use Permits to work outside the codified construction hours for up to 30 days during hot weather to relieve the development community from requesting, on a weekly basis, additional permits for the same project.
As discussed in the Background section above, on February 22, 2021, the City Council directed the City Manager to initiate conversations with construction industry representatives, identify their needs and possible amendments to SMC 20.04.005, and present the findings to the Council. Staff has completed and complied with this direction as follows:
1. Outreach: Staff conducted two outreach meetings with construction industry representatives.
2. Identify needs and possible amendments: Through the outreach meetings staff identified the need of the construction industry for earlier construction start times during summer months to protect the health and safety of employees working outside. Industry representatives also requested additional flexibility to occasionally be permitted to work outside codified construction hours to accommodate weather-sensitive construction activities such as large concrete pours.
3. Minimize research hours dedicated by staff: Staff hosted two outreach meetings totaling approximately 90 minutes and identified there may be a need to amend hours of construction during the summer months, create a specific Temporary Use Permit for construction hours (outside codified hours), and for the City Council to provide direction on the number of days a temporary use permit may be issued to exceed codified construction hours.
This agenda item provides the City Council the opportunity to consider the feedback provided by construction industry representatives and direct the City Manager to proceed with developing code amendments to modify construction hour regulations in SMC 20.05.005 (Intensity Standards) and 20.03.040 (Temporary Uses) for future City Council consideration.
- The City Council may direct the City Manager to proceed with preparing amendments to SMC 20.05.005 (Intensity Standards) and 20.03.040 (Temporary Uses) for future City Council consideration.
- The City Council may decide not to direct the City Manager to initiate code amendments.
I move to direct the City Manager to initiate changes to Sections 20.04.005 (Intensity Standards) and 20.03.040 (Temporary Uses) of the Sparks Municipal Code to amend permitted hours of construction.