Groveport officials are hoping an agreement about work hours reached between the city and a team building a new warehouse for Exxcel Project Management will keep late-night disturbances to a minimum.
Construction of the 315,000-square-foot facility at 6390 Commerce Court began overnight on Thursday, Aug. 28. The agreement calls for the work to be done between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. for at least seven more weekdays.
With residents in the Newport Village and Westport neighborhoods about 200 feet from the construction, city council members were not happy with the last-minute options presented to them at their Aug. 25 meeting.
"A couple weeks ago, Exxcel discussed with Stephen Moore and me at a meeting that they needed to pour the building's concrete floors beginning at 1 a.m., but didn't provide a rationale, so we talked about it and decided we couldn't allow them to do that," City Administrator Marsha Hall said.
She said a company attorney then contacted Groveport City Attorney Kevin Shannon Aug. 25 "to explain why this had to happen at night."
According to Exxcel, colder temperatures are required when the concrete floor of the new warehouse is poured and for the initial curing period, in order to achieve the "super flat" rating required for the operation of the high-speed forklifts that will be used there. The high-speed equipment can save significant time in moving goods through the warehouse.
"Because they have a need for these high-speed forklifts, the technical specs needed for that degree of flatness for the new warehouse technology has to be done during colder hours," Hall said. "If this was happening later in the year, then it wouldn't be a problem. And if it wasn't backing up to residential areas, it also wouldn't be a big deal."
Council members expressed disappointment with the short amount of time allowed for preparing residents for the potential disturbance, as well as not having time to come up with alternative solutions.
In the end, however, council agreed to support the 2-7 a.m. work schedule as opposed to a 4-7 a.m. plan that would have extended construction time for more than two weeks.
Hall said Exxcel has agreed to bring on extra flag workers so they could disable the beeping signals on the heavy equipment. The company also agreed to provide extra water to keep dust down, and to install hay bales around generators to deaden the sound.
In addition, she said, company officials were communicating directly with nearby residents to provide them with a contact number for complaints.
"Let's make sure we have one of our own people on-site as our own eyes and ears out there to see if there's anything a little more that we could do to help reduce the noise," Councilman Shawn Cleary said. "If there are complaints, we want to get the actual complaints directly instead of through the construction workers themselves."
Thanks to this situation, Cleary said the city now knows of another issue to consider when approving construction projects that could use this new warehouse technology.