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Stuck At Home During Pandemic, Construction Noise Driving Some People Nuts

CHICAGO (CBS) -- You've emailed us, you've tweeted us, you've posted on Facebook. The Morning Insiders continue to look into construction noise complaints while people are stuck at home.

CBS 2's Lauren Victory looked into why condo remodels are allowed in Chicago and banned in other cities.

From single unit rehabs to building-wide brick work, construction noise is driving some people nuts.

An exasperated Steve Dishler posted a video to Mayor Lori Lightfoot's Twitter page about the construction noise at his building in Lakeview, after management, his alderman and the Department of Buildings said nothing illegal is happening, so the work can't be stopped

"There are a thousand people that live in this building. Students are obviously not able to conduct their work. Parents are not able to put their babies to rest during the day. I'm not able to conduct my work. This is unbelievably inconsiderate," he said.

How many other people are fed up and taking their gripes public? CBS 2 checked the 311 logs. Within a few minutes' walk of Dishler's building, two equipment noise complaints have been filed in the past 20 days.

CBS 2 asked Gov. JB Pritzker's office why condo remodeling and building façade work wasn't put on hold until the stay-at-home order is lifted.

Consider other cities like Boston, where construction has been suspended since March, unless it's an emergency. San Francisco limited crews to healthcare and public works projects. In Dallas, elective additions and maintenance are prohibited; so is remodeling.

In Illinois, the governor's stay-at-home order deems construction work an essential business.

Although the mayor can shut down the lakefront and major parks, city officials said they have chosen to let condominium associations make the call on halting building construction.

That could cause a conundrum for some condo associations.

"We as representatives of the building could be sued for tortuous inference on a contract," one anonymous woman told us regarding the ongoing construction work at her condo building.

She said it has been impossible to get anything done with all the noise the work has caused.

"I haven't been able to join work calls sometimes because it's been so loud," she said. "When I asked how long it was going to go on for, they said they still have to do a lot of woodwork."

The threat of legal bills stopped the condo board from laying down the hammer on renovation work in the building.

"I just feel the state shouldn't be making them choose between being sued and protecting the residents," the woman said.

CBS 2 never heard back directly from the governor's office, but Pritzker did answer a question about city rules at Monday's press conference.

"Municipalities have the ability to have more stringent rules than we have suggested on any subject, really," he said.

A city spokesperson reiterated that residents can call 311 with noise complaints.


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