Edmonds City Council to revisit proposed changes to city noise ordinance


The Edmonds City Council is scheduled to take action during its Tuesday night business meeting on a proposal to revise the city’s noise ordinance to eliminate time restrictions for sounds generated by city street construction, repair projects or utility work. The proposal also asks for permission to make it easier for private projects to get a variance for such work to go beyond existing time requirements.

Currently, noise time restrictions related to city construction projects are the same as for those placed on homeowner-sponsored residential projects — allowed from 7 a.m.-10 p.m., seven days a week.

Noise limits for private projects, such as a contractor building a home or work being done at a business, are from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays, with no work allowed on Sundays and federal holidays.

The 7 p.m. business meeting will be immediately followed by committee meetings. However, the council is set to meet earlier — at 6:15 p.m. — for an executive session to discuss collective bargaining, followed by an interview with Cemetery Board Candidate Kelly Sawyer.

Here are the topics to be discussed during Tuesday night’s committee meetings:

Parks, Planning, and Public Works Committee (Jury Meeting Room)
– Presentation of 2017 Comprehensive Water System Plan
– Presentation of the City of Edmonds’ Water Use Efficiency Program for 2017
– Presentation of utility easements and temporary construction easements at 7521 212th St. S.W. and 7525 212th St. S.W. for the 76th Avenue West at 212th Street Southwest Intersection Improvements project
– Discussion regarding “newspaper” boxes in public right of way.

Finance Committee (Council Chamber)
– Second Quarter 2017 Budget Amendment
– May Monthly Financial Report

Public Safety and Personnel Committee (Police Training Room)
-Custodial Services Interlocal Agreement with Town of Woodway

The meeting will be in the Council Chambers, Public Safety Complex, 250 5th Ave. N. You can see the complete agenda here.


  1. Can someone explain what is wrong with the current restrictions? 7am-10pm, seven days a week seems to be quite generous. And while this subject is up, I have always wondered why garbage trucks are allowed to rumble through our neighborhoods so early? Our service regularly comes through here (173rd St SW and 76th Ave W) at 6:30am, and because we are a cul-de-sac we get the added cacophony of all the back-up beeping. I guarantee everyone’s awake after they come through!

    • Forgot to post the link to a previous story here, which explains the reasoning for wanting expanded hours. Here’s some expanded info from that article:

      To deviate from either of those restrictions requires city staff or the private contractor to apply for a variance, which involves the city hearing examiner and requires time to issue a public notice and conduct a public hearing.

      “It takes quite a long time, on the low end, two to three months, and if it get rejected you have to come up with a new plan, it takes six months,” Public Works Director Phil Williams explained during a meeting of the council’s Parks, Planning and Public Works Committee. “There’s no way with that kind of timeline any of our projects, speaking for the city-sponsored projects, can look that far ahead and realize what nights we’re going to need a noise variance.”

      City of Edmonds Development Director Shane Hope said there are times when the noise time limits becomes a problem for private projects as well. She cited as an example Swedish Edmonds Hospital, which is planning an all-day concrete pour, and needs to begin at 5 a.m. to ensure it can be completed. “That doesn’t fit into the regular hours,” Hope said. “Those are the types of situations where the city would like to allow some flexibility.”

    • I had the same problem with the garbage collectors a few years ago. They can be held to the 7 am start time by bringing your situation to the attention of the city’s code enforcement officer, Mike Thies.

  2. Getting back to Mr. Hathaway’s question, what is wrong with the current restrictions of 7a-10p;

    This is just like many proposed Edmonds city ordinance’s, they can be made law but the resources are not available to enforce them. Like many of these topics that come up in Edmonds, “Train Whistle’s”, “Ferry Horns” “Fireworks”, lot’s of Edmonds citizens seem to think if we make it an ordinance/law then utopia will exist. Yet, nobody ever presents a plan to fund the enforcement of these suggested ordinances. How many day’s did we have to hear fireworks around the 4th. It’s an ordinance/law not to discharge them in Edmonds, yet we’re told not to call the police (no resources) and instead call some SnoCo hotline which also did not diminish the noise factor in my neighborhood. It’s an ordinance/law to not stop at a stop sign. Yet, this is the behavior is ramped in Edmonds. If you call the police, you get told there is not enough resources to fully enforce the law. (and this a real public safety issue)

    Reality, it is not just the trash trucks that disobey current law. The city of Edmonds performed a sewer replacement and street overlay project in front of our house recently. Daily their trucks were out front staging, loading and unloading earth moving equipment and other material long before 7:00AM. (which included numerous back up alarms) What did we receive as notice? A post card that said the work would be happening between x and y dates. Nothing about early mornings, parking their equipment and storing their materials in front of our house for days.

    For those of you asking what I’m talking about when it comes to funding an ordinance like this, it is not just funding enforcement. How much extra does the city pay employees or contactors to work before 7a and after 10P? The claims of the public works director don’t hold water. “There’s no way with that kind of timeline any of our projects, speaking for the city-sponsored projects, can look that far ahead and realize what nights we’re going to need a noise variance.” Really? I’m sorry sir, but it is your job to determine how many widgets need to be built in a given time frame and you are unable to determine what nights during a project you might require a variance? Here’s a thought, apply for a blanket variance and use it the nights you spontaneously need to use it.

    Don’t force your poor planning skills and lack of consideration for the people paying the taxes for you to perform the work upon us.

  3. I hope the interview with Cemetery Board Candidate Kelly Sawyer will satisfy all the diversity questions that can be raised. Otherwise the appointment will be dead on arrival.

  4. 7am start is a fair compromise between citizens and the contractors. This, for sure, includes the City of Edmonds. Why Public Works thinks they need to start earlier than the ordinance allows is baffling. As far as I’m concerned there should be no variances except in cases of extreme emergency affecting the public. So, problem solved no need to fret about “nights we’re going to need a noise variance.”
    Just do the job in accord with the ordinance.

  5. I suspect, knowing how the City leaders work here in Edmonds, that there is an ulterior motive to this. Possibly some project coming up that would put money in someone’s pocket but that project would need to be done at weird hours in order to make it work. Maybe a development project along a very busy section of a Highway. Maybe someone who has ‘connections’ and needs to work early or late to meet a deadline. I am sorry, but I do not trust these City leaders when it comes to these kinds of things. It isn’t just about ‘keeping up with the times’.
    Noise ordinances are in place to support a Citizen’s right to a peaceful and quiet place to live and relax. This issue should never have been brought up. It is just one more thorn to stick in the side of the Citizens of Edmonds with no considerations for anyone but the people that stand to benefit from it.


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