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Bring On the Blower Ban

Tue, 12/29/2020 - 17:50


Cue the noise. The East Hampton Town Board is considering banning gas-powered leaf blowers during the warm-weather months — and placing curfews on them during the off-season. As in East Hampton Village, which approved similar rules that went into effect in June, opposition from landscaping companies could get loud. Board members should tune this anticipated onslaught out.

The law would prohibit gas blowers between May 20 and Sept. 20 and before 8 a.m. and after 6 p.m. on weekdays, before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and all day on Sundays and federal or New York State holidays unless they are operated by a property owner or tenant, who could use them only between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. during the rest of the year. Further details would cover the type and amount of equipment per property. Commercial and recreational facilities would be included. The board will consider written comment on the proposal until about the middle of January.

Since the village began enforcing its own ban, things have been a lot quieter with mostly voluntary compliance. When reminded, landscaping companies have tended to quickly get in touch with crews in the field using the noxious devices, but this has put residents in the unwelcome position of ratting out their neighbors or neighbors’ hired firms.

A uniform townwide set of rules would help, as in practice it is unreasonable to expect workers to keep track of where the village boundaries begin and end, and, obviously, sound travels regardless of what side of the lines it emanates from.

To this end, the town’s proposed season ban should be rewritten to match East Hampton Village’s, which runs from June 1 to Labor Day. Ideally, however, we would like to see the village expand its no-blow dates to match the town’s, should the town board approve the measure as is. This would be the preferred approach. It would be interesting to see where the new village board majority, which campaigned on a more business-friendly message, comes down on this quintessential battle between landscape companies and residents.

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