Residents have complained that Huntington Town’s gas-powered leaf blowers cause noise and odor disturbances. Huntington Town has taken steps to limit their use.
Updated town code now bans the use of the devices any time on Saturdays between Memorial Day and Labor Day — for both residential and commercial uses. Those who violate the town code chapters on noise and landscapers will be punished. Gas leaf blower use was allowed on Saturdays between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The new law now prohibits commercial landscapers from using gas leaf blowers on residential property on Saturdays or Sundays. This was previously only permitted on Sundays or holidays.
These restrictions are not applicable to battery-powered leaf brooms. The changes were approved by the town board on October 13.
Joan Cergol, a Town Board Member, stated that she had heard from many residents who were recovering at home after the pandemic. “highly unpleasant noise and odor disturbances”Gas-powered blowers are used to create these effects.
“Every small step matters in moving toward a cleaner, greener and quieter Huntington,”Cergol spoke Thursday. “Migration to battery-powered vehicles and tools across a wide spectrum of industries has not hurt anyone yet.”
Cergol and Ed Smyth, Deputy Supervisor, cosponsored the resolution updating town code. He stated that most of the landscapers were willing to accept the changes.
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“It’s a reasonable compromise,”Smyth said. “The dates coincide with when leaves are actually on the ground.”
According to the town code, a first offense will result in a fine of $250 but not more than $500. A second offense within the same three-year period will result in a penalty of $500 but not greater than $1,000.
A third or subsequent offense during the 5-year period could result in a minimum $1,000 penalty and maximum $5,000 penalties or imprisonment not exceeding 15-days or both.
Huntington-based The Laurel Group, a landscaper/landscape business, stated Mark McAteer that everyone should have the ability to adapt by moving away gas-powered leaf blowers.
“If the productivity were better we would all switch in one second but the productivity is not as good, it [battery-powered blower] costs more in labor because it’s [battery-powered] slower and less powerful; that means higher labor costs and if we’re going to spend more on labor ultimately the homeowner will absorb those costs.”
Deborah Morris, a Long Islander, covers Huntington.