A subcontractor working for the city had to be reminded of Boulder's noise ordinance Tuesday after crews started loud tree work on the west end of the Pearl Street Mall before 7 a.m.
Blue River Forestry & Tree Care, a city subcontractor working on trees for the West Pearl Streetscape Improvements, started work involving power tools at 6:50 a.m. Tuesday
The city's noise ordinance does not allow that type of construction work before 7 a.m.
"The city had a conversation with (Blue River) and reminded them of the city's noise ordinances," said Ashlee Herring, spokeswoman and events coordinator for the city's Downtown and University Hill Management Division.
Herring said that, in certain instances, permits are given to allow for exceptions to the noise ordinance, but one was not issued in this case. Herring said she had not seen any complaints sent to the city as a result of the work.
But Rafael Guevara, who lives on the corner of Ninth and Pearl streets, said he got a rude awakening Tuesday morning when crews turned on a wood chipper at 6 a.m.
"Then around 6:30 (a.m.), they started turning on the chainsaws and throwing the trees through the chipper," Guevara said.
The West Pearl Streetscape Improvements — from 11th to Seventh streets — are funded by the 2011 voter-approved Capital Improvement Bond.
Blue River also started work on removing and pruning trees on all four blocks of the Pearl Street Mall at 6 a.m. Tuesday and will continue that work all week.
Crews will remove six trees and pruning the remainder of the trees on Pearl Street Mall from 6 to 11 a.m. through Friday. There will be no street closures, but some areas may be coned off during work for public safety.
The six dying trees being removed include five green ash trees that have declined in health due to a restricted root zone and lilac ash borers and ash bark beetles. A honeylocust in the 1200 block of the mall is also being removed.
The city has planted 41 trees on the mall and along cross streets this spring in addition to 22 other trees in the downtown area.
Vanessa Schatz, a spokeswoman for the city's Parks and Recreation Department, said crews in those cases will use handsaws before 7 a.m. so as to avoid violating the city ordinance. She said the city's forestry department workers typically work earlier shifts, which led to the early work times.
Guevara said he has had to deal with construction in the downtown area at odd hours, but in most cases he understood the need to avoid disruption on roads. But in these cases, Guevara said he saw no reason for the early-morning tree work.
"This was different, because the work would not have disrupted anything on the mall," he said. "I understand the work needs to get done for whatever master plan there is for Pearl Street, but it just didn't need to happen that early in the morning.
"It wouldn't have been any more of a disruption at noon than at 6 in the morning."
Contact Camera Staff Writer Mitch Byars at 303-473-1329 or firstname.lastname@example.org.