Taneytown officials to review demands for more thorough construction cleanup

Dust continues to coat homes, residents say

March 19, 2000|By Caryl Austrian | Caryl Austrian,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Taneytown officials are looking into residents' complaints about layers of construction dust coating their homes, cars and streets.

The dust comes from the construction of water and sewer lines along Trevanion Road, a project begun in September and nearing completion.

The project has taken longer than expected because the contractor has had to blast through solid rock to put in the pipes. The line is being added to accommodate a new development and to improve service. The old lines were built around rocks, and, as a result, have been fraught with backups for years.

Complaints about the dust have primarily come from residents along Trevanion Road, between Kings Drive and Grand Drive.

The city has been cleaning the street once a month, but will clean it twice a month to reduce the dust.

But residents want the city to go a step further and pay for cleaning the exterior of their homes.

"It's a mess -- the red dirt won't come out. If [the construction company] had done what they were supposed to, this wouldn't have happened," resident Dan Schoberg told the City Council on Monday night.

Residents pressed the council to honor an Oct. 10 letter the city sent to residents in response to their complaints, saying their homes would be restored to "the same or better condition as prior to construction."

Although the contractor has hosed down the pavement and the city has swept the road, residents said that's not enough.

"I'm in construction," Schoberg said, "and taking a hose to a street is not washing it -- you need a power hose."

Moreover, he said, "power washing is a common courtesy and a common practice. And I don't consider this my responsibility."

When Councilman Darryl Hale asked, "Wouldn't rain help?" he received a chorus of answers from the residents, including: "It's in the pores of the vinyl [siding]." "My blacktop driveway is brown."

Mayor Henry Heine acknowledged the problem. But he noted that as soon as residents of Copperfield, a development across town, heard about the city being asked to pick up the tab for the cleaning, they complained. Those residents said they put up with dust from city construction projects, so why should residents along Trevanion Road get special treatment.

"We need to alleviate the problem," Heine said. "The problem is how far do we go? Let's accept their invitation to go out and take a look."

Schoberg has resolved to continue the fight.

We're just going to keep coming back again" until the problem is resolved, he said. Even after the blacktop is finished, "they still have to fix the sidewalks," he noted.

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