Let’s say something positive about leaf blowers for a change, shall we? Since East Hampton Town and Village both put tough regulations in place, some landscaping companies have made the switch to quieter, battery-powered or plug-in units. A lot of yard workers have not complied or are not aware of the laws. This has prompted what we might call vigilantism-lite, in which residents take it upon themselves to phone or email the companies whose staffs continue to blast away with gasoline or diesel-fueled machinery.
While the Town of East Hampton has fewer comprehensive rules than the village, its officials also have a greater challenge in enforcing them. In the much smaller village, police officers are able to speak with people who violate its law, which limits leaf blowers solely. Town police, with a much larger territory, simply cannot respond to many of the quality-of-life issues that come up, and town code enforcers are too few to catch violators in the act. A nonemergency hotline, like the 311 system popular elsewhere, could help.
In the town, gas and diesel-fueled blowers cannot be used from May 20 to Sept. 20 and are subject to limited hours during the remainder of the year, and even electric ones are outlawed on Sundays from late spring to early fall. In East Hampton Village professional landscapers cannot use traditional blowers from June 1 to Labor Day; all gas and diesel property care equipment is banned during the summer season from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m., except by government or golf course employees.
Credit is due to the landscapers who have followed the town law, especially, which bans fossil-fuel landscaping machines, other than mowers, during the months people like to be outdoors or keep their windows open to catch the breeze. For those who have not complied yet, the town and village could offer a buyback program for these annoying, air-polluting, hearing-damaging devices.