- January 12, 2016
Taylor Morrison and the crews at the Estancia development hope a new wall will help keep construction noise and dust away from nearby neighbors.
Taylor Morrison completed construction of the 6-foot wall earlier this month, Tim Dennard, president of Providence Construction, told town leaders at the June 14 Windermere Town Council meeting.
Windermere Mayor Gary Bruhn also is requesting buffering trees. However, there is no water or electricity in the rear area of the site to pump irrigation and water the trees.
“I don’t know if (the wall) will solve (the dust problem), but that’s why I asked for the trees,” Bruhn said. “And their last piece on the trees was they’d have to get temporary power up there to run the pumps and have to see if that would be possible through Duke Energy.”
In the past six months, residents from The Willows at Lake Rhea have filed formal complaints to the Windermere Town Council, citing noise outside of permitted working hours, as well as construction debris and dust drifting into their community.
The council has made attempts to fix the situation by relaying complaints to Taylor Morrison and ordering them to have Providence Construction strictly abide by the designated working hours.
Construction work only is permitted from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, but crews have been working on Sunday, as well. However, no one
had been aware because the cameras put in place to monitor the site were not in use on Sundays. Councilman Bob McKinley said some residents saw a large piece of equipment ripping out trees designated for preservation by the town.
Ellen Avery-Smith, Taylor Morrison’s legal representative, explained during the council meeting that some rules from different governmental agencies contradicted one another.
Avery-Smith said Windermere’s requests directly contradicted a storm water permit from the St. Johns River Water Management District, so Taylor Morrison prioritized the district’s demands and removed trees Windermere requested be preserved.
McKinley said he understands the district’s rules trump the town’s requests but believes Taylor Morrison’s lack of communication exacerbated residents’ anxiety.
“It would have been good had someone from Taylor Morrison informed the town and also reached out to your neighbors to the west of you and said, ‘Look, we tried to save these trees, but it’s not going to happen. We have to take these out,’” McKinley said. “That way, those people wouldn’t have been so upset. ... It’s just a total lack of communication.”
To provide proof of improvement and residents’ satisfaction, Avery-Smith passed out letters to the council addressed to Taylor Morrison from neighbors in surrounding properties. The letters thanked the company for their courtesy and improvements.
However, some commissioners questioned the merit of the letters because the letters already had been written for them, and all the residents had to do was sign them.
“They’re probably legitimate, but I don’t think it’s heartfelt,” Councilman John Armstrong said. “And three of them say the same thing about your company. ... It’s like somebody threw these together real fast for the council, and I’m taking these with a grain of salt.”
Contact Gabby Baquero at [email protected]