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Proposed leaf blower ban in Greenport blows over

The Greenport Village Board will not be enacting laws to ban the use of gas powered leaf blowers, the board decided at its work session Thursday. 

Acting in response to a petition signed by more than 100 people, the board held a public hearing last month on a proposal to limit the use of internal-combustion leaf blowers to weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays and holidays from noon to 4 p.m.

The proposal also would have restricted the use of leaf blowers to the periods between March 15 and April 30 and Oct. 15 and Dec. 15.

The reaction during that hearing was mixed, with supporters of the ban saying leaf blowers not only are a problem because of the noise they make, but that they also pose multiple health risks, including spreading airborne
particles, which can lead to asthma and other respiratory diseases.

Opponents of the ban said it would increase the time and cost of yard cleanups, and could set a precedent leading to other similar restrictions in the village.

In the end, board members decided at Thursday’s work session that there already are laws in the village to regulate noise, and that if health issues related to leaf blowers are going to be addressed, it should come from a larger municipality, such as the county or federal government rather than a one square-mile village.

“If we’re going to deal with OSHA requirements, that’s not really our jurisdiction,” said Trustee Mary Bess Phillips. “That needs to come from Suffolk County or from someplace else.”

The people who signed the petition could simply ask their landscapers to not use gas-powered leaf blowers, Mayor George Hubbard Jr. said.

“Let’s all try to be better neighbors,” he said.

The vote was 4-0 against adopting the proposal. Trustee Doug Roberts was absent.

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