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Greenport to hear from public on proposed leaf blower restrictions

12/22/2017 11:35 AM |

The Greenport Village Board will hold a public hearing next week on a proposal to limit the use of the leaf blowers in the village.

But don’t worry, your lawn mowers are safe, despite what the hearing notice says. 

The leaf-blower restrictions were suggested by residents Ken Ludacer and Randy Wade at a Village Board meeting in October, where they brought a petition signed by more than 100 people, asking the village board to “ban, restrict or curb” the use of gas-powered leaf blowers within the village boundary.

The reason for seeking the ban is noise and health factors caused by blowing particles of mold, feces, fertilizers and heavy
metals in to the air.

The proposal that’s going to public hearing Thursday restricts the operation of leaf blowers to between 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays, making an exception for the occupant of the premises to use them between 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

It also allows them on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays and holidays, from noon to 4 p.m.

The operation of leaf blowers would also be limited to March 15 through April 30 and October 15 through Dec. 15.

The village would need to hold a public hearing before it could enact such a change, and that hearing is set for the meeting on Thursday, Dec. 28, at 7 p.m.

But the hearing notice refers to “lawn maintenance equipment powered by internal-combustion engines, including, but not limited to lawnmowers and leaf blowers. ”

It goes on to specify a set of times times when lawnmowers can be used and a set of times for leaf blowers too.

Village Trustees Doug Roberts and Mary Bess Phillips said at Thursday’s work session that the board never discussed
restrictions on lawn mowers, just leaf blowers.

Mayor George Hubbard said what happened in this case if that the residents backing the proposal had submitted copies of leaf blower restrictions from other municipalities.

The first one proposed for hearing was an outright ban during the summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Mr. Hubbard said.

“When I saw that, I said we’re definitely not going to do that, because you’re basically saying ‘we don’t want to bother the tourists while they’re here, and the heck with everybody else that’s here year-round,” he said.

So they went back to the proposals submitted by the proponents of the restrictions and used a different version, one that’s in effect in the upstate Village of Pelham, Mr. Hubbard said, without noticing that it also included lawnmowers.

Mr. Hubbard said the village had already changed the legal notice once so he didn’t want to change it again, which is why the version on the village web site includes lawnmowers.

He said the board can proceed with the hearing, and then make changes should the village decide to adopt any of the proposed restrictions. The board normally discusses the feedback it receives on public hearings at its next work session, he said.

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