Commentary: Morristown council president discusses lost opportunity to curb leaf blowers


By Stefan Armington


Last year’s adopted Noise Ordinance stated the following:

WHEREASExcessive noise can pose a serious risk to the public’s health, safety, and quality of their lives.
WHEREASThere are many science and technology options that can be used in order to reduce excessive sound.
WHEREASResidents of Morristown have a right for an environment that is free from excessive noise.

I’m sure that the Mayor and Council believed these goals when they adopted 2021’s Noise Ordinance with unanimous support. These goals seem to be unsupported today, at least in the day.

Every year, there are a number of reported noise violations by the Town’s restaurants and bars.

I also know the Police Department closes weekends parties when neighbors complain.

However, I would argue that the biggest source of excessive noise in town is people’s use of motorized landscaping equipment. It happens daily from April to December. The Town’s DPW owns seven gas-powered leaf blowers that violate the Noise Ordinance every day.

It is a fact that no gas-powered leaf blower can be operated within 25 feet of a residential property without violating the Town’s Noise Ordinance. It is also true that it can be difficult to enforce noise ordinances for gas-powered leafblowers. The Town can’t address the issue if the blower remains in operation, even when residents complain to it.

Several New Jersey municipalities have passed legislation in response to the persistent and illegal noise disturbances caused over the last few years by gas-powered leaf blowers.

The Noise Ordinance defines excessive noise as a serious hazard to the public’s health, safety, and quality of life.

The ordinance that was adopted Last monthIt would not have solved this problem if it was pulled due to lack support. It was intended to be a compromise bill to get people thinking about excessive noise.

I know many councilmembers opposed to the ordinance because their constituents find it inconvenient to conform to the Noise ordinance. People will be required to pay more to replace gas-powered leaf blowers with battery-powered ones. However, electric powered leaf blowers can perform the same job as gas-powered leaf brooms.

With the vote of No Confidence, the Council showed the public that it’s easier to do nothing to address the problem than to pass legislation that some people will be opposed to.

We will now move the matter along, in the hope that another governing body or group of residents will take the difficult first step to address excessive sound and its impact on quality life, public safety, and health.

Stefan Armington is president of the Morristown Town Council. He lives in the Third Ward.

Opinions expressed in commentaries are the authors’, and do not necessarily reflect those of this publication.

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Commentary: Morristown council president discusses lost opportunity to curb noisy leaf blowers

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