Noise ordinance that would have limited landscaping hours in West U fails to pass

WEST UNIVERSITY PLACE, Texas – On Monday night, the majority of the West University Place City Council voted down a proposed noise ordinance that would have limited the hours when third-party landscapers could work.

It would have cut down the use of equipment by landscapers from 85 hours seven days a week to 49 hours six days a week.

The proposed ordinance was written to address concerns about noise by some who are bothered by the sounds of leaf blowers and other gas-powered lawn equipment during the week by third-party vendors.

It did not pass after a 3-2 vote.

The proposed ordinance would not allow landscaping on Sundays and holidays. It would have cut the hours from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Currently, on the weekends, third-party vendors are allowed to mow between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 8 p.m. Sundays. The proposed ordinance would have only allowed 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and no cutting Sundays.

The ordinance would not have been applied to homeowners who take care of their own properties, only landscapers.

“I’m very happy,” said Perry Nolen, a neighbor who was happy the majority of the council voted against the proposed ordinance. “Our yard workers do a certain amount of yards to get the income they require to support their families. If you reduce the amount of work, of hours available to them from 85 hours a week to 49 hours a week, that’s 40% less income, unless they go somewhere else.”

Others who spoke at the meeting said if the ordinance were to go through, then it would have opened up the discussion for other vendors who use equipment that may be considered noisy.

“I think ultimately it’s a good decision. Personally, I don’t see it as a major problem. The noise issue isn’t a major problem,” said Eddie Mathews, who also lives in the area and spoke up against the proposal. “If you restricted the hours for landscapers, it could increase prices of services. It could reduce the amount of competition that you have because some contractors may choose not to service West U.”

City Council member Kevin Trautner was in favor of the proposed noise ordinance and said he spoke with neighbors who supported the measure, but it ultimately failed.

“We have too much regulation as it is,” said Nolen, who said he’s willing to compromise with neighbors. “My neighbor said, 'Perry, your guy is too noisy at 2 p.m. in the afternoon because my baby needs to take a nap.' I want to work with neighbors. I don’t want the rule of law to tell me what I can and can’t do.”

To read the full proposed ordinance that did not pass, see page 33 of this agenda.