Westport RTM once again considering leaf blower restrictions

WESTPORT — A potential leaf blower ordinance is again on the docket in Westport that could limit which types of leaf blowers are used and when.

Officials claim that the details have changed since the ordinance was introduced in 2021. The ordinance has been updated to remove a restriction on how many leaf blowers can be used on one property and exclude the town and golf courses.

The ordinance would prohibit leaf blowers powered by gas from being used or operated. It is intended to address noise problems and protect residents’ health and safety. The draft ordinance states that. If it is approved, it will likely be implemented beginning March 15, 2023.

“I think a lot of people have negative feelings towards the noise nuisance of leaf blowers,”Kristin Snowman, RTM District 9 member and one of the six leaders behind this ordinance, said: “It’s become a much more ever-present and intrusive problem.”

However, this ordinance isn’t just about the noise, but the environment, too, she said.

The ordinance would allow gas powered leaf-blowers to be used between March 15 – April 30, and October 15 – Dec 31. However, electric leaf blowers can’t be used throughout the year. Leaf blowers can’t be used after 5:59 p.m., or before 8 a.m. during federal holidays or state holidays.

These restrictions are not applicable to properties owned by municipalities and golf courses.

The ordinance would be enforced by the town’s conservation department with a way for people to dispute a violation.

Anyone convicted for a first or subsequent offense will be sent a written warning along with educational materials. A third offense will result in a written warning and a citation, with a $100 penalty. The draft states that each subsequent violation will result is a $249 fine.

Schneeman stated that both national and regional organizations have recognized environmental concerns with gas-powered leaf blowers in recent years. These issues were provided by Quiet Communities a few years back.

“It really made me sit up and take notice and really get involved,”She said.

And Westport isn’t the only community to attempt to take action against it. Schneeman said that more than 200 communities across the country have already taken measures to restrict leaf blower use — some with complete bans.

She said Westport would be the first to enact Connecticut’s restriction. Greenwich has some restrictions, but they are moderate.

Schneeman said research shows the leaf blowers’ gas-powered engines are polluting. She cited a 2017 California Air Resources Board study that found that leaf blowers with a commercial price tag emit the same amount of smog-forming pollutants as a Toyota Camry that has driven 1,100 mile.

“They’re incredibly inefficient,”Schneeman spoke of the gas-powered leaf brooms.

Schneeman also stated that leaf blowers powered by gas can cause cancer.

Jason Canepari (the buildings, grounds, and environment manager at Fairfield County Hunt Club in the town) stated that the previous-ordinance didn’t take into account the “adverse effects”It would have an impact on the landscaping industry.

Westport RTM once again considering leaf blower restrictions

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