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Leaf blower ban in Greenport Village?

A petition signed by more than 100 people is asking Greenport Village to “ban, restrict or curb” the use of gas-powered leaf blowers within the village boundary.

The petition was initiated by village resident Ken Ludacer, who presented it to the Village Board last Thursday.

He said numerous towns in New York State have already done so, including Tarrytown, New Rochelle, Larchmont, Bronxville, Hastings-on-Hudson, Mamaroneck, Rye, White Plains and Yonkers.

“In voting to restrict gas-powered leaf blowers, these towns and others cited not only the maddening decibel level and corresponding loss of quality of life, but also the threat to both the public health and the health of the environment by way of the particles of mold, feces, fertilizers and heavy metals that are blasted into the air, exacerbating asthma and respiratory conditions (particularly in children) and adding to the contamination and nitrogen level in stormwater runoff,” Mr. Ludacer said, reading from the petition.

He said the state Department of Environmental Conservation referenced a study that found “human health can be impacted from noise, fuel and exhaust emissions, and dust,” and recommended using a rake or even an electric leaf blower.

Resident Randy Wade quoted a Mount Sinai School of Medicine study that found gas-powered leaf blowers pose multiple health threats, including spreading airborne particles, which can provoke asthma and other respiratory diseases.

She also quoted a 2011 study by Edmunds, a car review company, that compared a two-stroke-engine leaf blower with a Ford F-150 Raptor pickup truck, concluding that a half-hour of yardwork with the leaf blower produces the same amount of hydrocarbon emissions as a 3,887-mile drive in the truck.

Others weren’t so sure.

“I am allergic to everything under the sun, but we can’t always regulate what’s around us,” said resident Chatty Allen, who also said she’s “on the fence” on the issue. She said she’s not going to call for street sweepers to be banned because they wake her up, and questioned whether village employees could still use leaf blowers if the village banned them.

“I’ve had allergies my whole life,” she said. “I had two options: figure out how to deal with it or live in a bubble and not go anywhere.”

Resident Paul Kreiling suggested banning leaf blowers on Sundays.

And Selina Truelove said by letter that after houses are repainted, leaf blowers scatter “toxic materials” around the job site.

“As a mother, these dust clouds terrify me, both around my own home where the dust settles on my porch, yard and clothesline, and as I take my son on walks around the town.”

The board took no official action on the issue last Thursday.

“We’ll circulate the petition and discuss it at our next work session,” Mayor George Hubbard Jr. said.

Reaction on social media to the proposed ban was more critical, with numerous comments on the “Let’s Talk Village of Greenport” Facebook page set up by Trustee Mary Bess Phillips asking what else would be banned and questioning whether it’s an important issue.

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