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Town officials to seek feedback from landscaping companies as they debate leaf blowers

Spring on the North Fork means the return of farm stands and al fresco dining, crops coming back to life and spending more time outdoors.

But as the days grow longer, the constant drone of leaf blowers disrupts the peace and quiet and now, town officials may take action.

“Most of the other East End towns have something in place and it’s high time we talk about this and discuss it,” Councilwoman Sarah Nappa said Tuesday. “It’s gotten quite bad.”

Last month, officials in East Hampton approved a ban on gas- or diesel-powered leaf blowers between May and September and set time limits for their use from September to May. 

The legislation, similar to codes adopted in communities across the country, seeks to reduce both pollution and noise complaints by encouraging landscapers to use electric leaf blowers that are both quieter and “greener” than the gas-powered alternative.

Supervisor Scott Russell said he receives numerous complaints about leaf blowers, weed wackers and other lawn equipment but worries that the electric equipment isn’t efficient for landscapers.

“They’re sending crews out and then recharging isn’t easy. It takes hours,” Mr. Russell said.

Current town code prevents homeowners from using noisy equipment and prohibits construction activities from starting before 7 a.m.

Mr. Russell and deputy supervisor Jill Doherty said they’d like to get feedback from the landscaping industry as they continue debating the issue.

“It’s a pretty substantial segment of the business population out here,” Mr. Russell said.

Ms. Doherty said she’d be hesitant to vote for an outright ban of the equipment but would be open to limiting their use.

Board members said the problem is widespread.

“There’s got to be a respite period,” Councilman Bob Ghosio said. “As we change the clocks, in any given neighborhood you can hear weed wackers and the blowers — and this will happen on a Sunday morning at 6 a.m.”

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