City Council Restricts Leaf Blower Noise
The City Council voted 4-0 Tuesday to introduce an ordinance banning the noisiest gas-powered leaf blowers and restricting the hours when leaf blowing can take place.
Effective July 1, 2013, the new regulations will prohibit the use of gas-powered leaf blowers that exceed 65 decibels at 50 feet. Gas-powered blowers will have to bear a manufacturerís label confirming they meet that standard.
Electric blowers will be exempt from the noise limit because most are quieter than gas-powered blowers, and because they typically donít bear noise labels.
The ordinance also allows the use of leaf blowers from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from†10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. No leaf blowing will be allowed on Sunday.
The new hours will take effect†30 days after the councilís final adoption of the ordinance, which is scheduled for Sept. 25.
In a last-minute change, the council decided to adopt different hours of operation for Main Street between Pine Street and Grayson Avenue. Leaf blowers may be used on those properties between 5 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
After some discussion, the council agreed that public areas and businesses downtown need to be cleared of leaves early in the morning, before people start parking on Main Street. Nobody lives in those areas, so residents wonít be directly affected by the noise, said Mayor Del Britton.
Members of the public who support and oppose leaf blowers have contacted the council and spoken out at public meetings. Some said the new regulations were too restrictive, and others said the council should go even further and ban all leaf blowers.
Councilmember Ann Nevero said she was ìamazed at the level of exuberance on both sidesî of the issue. She said itís ìthe most divisive issue to come before the City Councilî during her tenure.
Although the final vote was 4-0 with Councilmember Catarina Sanchez absent, not everybody was happy with the ordinance.
Councilmember Sharon Crull said she was against the Sunday ban because Seventh-day Adventists who work during the week and donít believe in working on Saturdays will want to do their leaf blowing on Sundays.