Decatur, GA — At the Decatur City Commission meeting on Monday, City Manager Andrea Arnold announced that city staff will be meeting this week to kick off a project looking at potential updates the city’s noise ordinance, which will include discussing leaf blowers.
“It’s more than just the leaf blowers, but we do understand the consternation caused by leaf blowers and other lawn equipment. The team will start meeting, and they’re going to pull together a steering committee,”Arnold said.
The city staff and the steering committee will also be reviewing other updates. This could include looking at lawn gear, addressing noise coming from large generators, or looking at outdoor music. She explained that the process regarding the rental scooters will be the exact same as that for the city.
The city staff will engage the community through the steering committee, then return to City Commission to discuss any updates to the noise ordinance.
The announcement came after resident Jeanine Payer asked the City Commission to consider addressing the issue — the nuisance that is leaf blowers — and ban gas-powered leaf blowers.
“The conversation about leaf blowers has really changed since the beginning of the pandemic. Everyone is aware of the high frequency and high decibels that have unrelentingly invaded our public and private spaces,”Payer said. “Over 300 municipalities across America have already banned or restricted the use of two-stroke lawn maintenance equipment because of the extremely high non-regulated emissions as well as noise pollution.”
Mountain Brook, Alabama was used for an example. In June, the city achieved Green Zone certification for four public areas after replacing much of the city’s gas-powered maintenance equipment with battery-operated, electric or manual toolsAccording to AL.com.
Mountain Brook has stopped using two stroke equipment for routine maintenance. There are exceptions for gas-powered leaf-blowers in peak leaf season.
“I think that we don’t want to let Alabama get ahead of us on this one, so I think we should look to our own backyard and start there,”Payer said. “I feel strongly that we need to switch to electric leaf blowers on the public school campuses and the parks.”
She also wants small landscapers to be supported with rebates, plans, and support for a transition from electric equipment.
“There’s a huge demand and I feel like they’d be the most popular landscapers on the block,”Payer said.
She stated that everyone would benefit if gas-powered leaf blowers were banned.
“[For]This toxic exhaust can cause serious health problems for workers who are exposed for eight to nine hour periods. I think it’s a win for the residents who deserve to have peace and quiet in their homes,”Payer said. “I think it helps the property values too, and I think that it’s a win for our children who want to play outside.”
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