|Town Rejects Leaf Blower Ban - June, 2012|
From GreenwichTime dot com
RTM rejects leaf blower ban
Updated 04:15 p.m., Tuesday, June 12, 2012
A year of legal wrangling over proposed restrictions on gas-powered leaf blowers went poof late into the night Monday, with the Representative Town Meeting shooting down an August ban of the noisy machines during a marathon session.
The legislative body rejected a supplemental noise ordinance dealing specifically with leaf blowers by a vote of 76 to 93 with four abstentions at 11:15 p.m., three hours into its meeting at Central Middle School.
The final RTM before the summer recess dragged on so long the 230-member citizen legislature nearly ran out of voting cards on a night that it also lobbied the town to join a lawsuit over an unpopular cell tower plan in North Mianus.
The debate on the proposed the leaf blower crackdown didn't start until after 10 p.m.
"Where I live, the cumulative effect of the leaf blowers makes it so that I really can't spend any time in my yard," said Gretchen Biggs, founder of Citizens Against Leafblower Mania and a Maher Avenue resident.
"It's a real detriment to the quality of life here."
Opponents of the moratorium characterized the restrictions as difficult to enforce and a step in the direction of a nanny state.
"Don't demean me for wanting to have a green front yard," said Jim Boutelle of RTM District 2/Harbor.
The town attorney's office drafted the leaf blower ordinance after the selectmen agreed in concept to the ban in March, but stopped short of adopting a sixth-month moratorium sought by environmentalists.
Conservation Director Denise Savageau, in a one-page memo to the RTM, termed the proposed restrictions as a "welcome first step" in curbing a quality of life and environmental nuisance.
"As a tool, they are often misused and/or overused resulting in air pollution from emissions, air-borne particulates, soil erosion, water quality impairment, increased stormwater runoff and noise pollution," Savageau wrote.
Operators of gas-powered leaf blowers would have received a warning and information on the restrictions after a first offense, followed by a $100 penalty for their second violation and a $249 penalty for each subsequent infraction.
The town would still have been allowed to use gas-powered leaf blowers under the policy, which was separate from an existing noise ordinance.