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The original item was published from 4/6/2020 9:40:01 PM to 4/26/2020 12:00:00 AM.

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News & Town Board Reports (gblist)

Posted on: April 6, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Leaf blowers- current policy--what you can expect next month

The Governor & Westchester Health Dept have advised that leaf blowers do not contribute to COVID-19. Between May 1 and October 1 gas powered blowers having a noise level of 55 decibels or more are prohibited. The law will be enforced.

For over 10 years I have received complaints from residents about the noise and other harmful environmental effects of leaf and lawn blowers.   Recently, the complaints have accelerated due to the number of residents who are staying at home during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis.  There are complaints about the noise and about the safety of kids play outside while or after blowers are throwing particulates into the air.

  Many have asked the Town to impose a ban on blowers.   As of now, the directives of the Governor allow landscaping for maintenance, and the Westchester County Dept of Health has advised that their view at this point is that blowers do not contribute to the spread of the virus.

  The Town’s Conservation Advisory Council has previously issued a detailed report to the Town Board on the adverse environmental impacts of blowers:  noise pollution; throwing filthy, and in some cases toxic, particulates into the air; and destruction of soils needed for growth of healthy vegetation.   I have asked the CAC, and other members of the community, if this is the right time for the Town to impose a ban on blowers.    They and many others feel that it would be wrong to use the pandemic as an excuse to change Town policy.   They feel the issue should be debated after the pandemic ends.

  There is some good news for those residents who object to the harmful impacts of blowers.   Under existing Town law, Section 380-7H, gas-powered blowers having a noise level in excess of 55 decibels (which is roughly normal conversational level) cannot be used in the Town from May 1 through October 1 of each year.    While enforcement of this may have been lax in the past, we do intend to enforce the existing law going forward.    Preliminary research, still on-going, of manufacturers’ specifications by the CAC reveals that only 2 blowers out of 200 blowers have a noise level below 55 decibels.

  The Town’s existing law does not cover electric blowers, virtually all of which these days have noise levels in excess of 55 decibels (as well as, like gas-powered blowers, wind outputs of hurricane forces).   I have asked the CAC to schedule on its agenda in an upcoming meeting whether it recommends to the Town Board including electric blowers in the 55-decibel noise limit under the Town Code.


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