Another view of Wellesley leaf blower petition

We wrote recently about the citizen’s petition “to restrict the commercial use of gasoline powered, motorized portable machines that blow leaves, dirt and other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns or other horizontal surfaces…” The resident behind the petition stressed to us that this is not intended to impact how homeowners use their equipment. The petition formally will be taken up at Town Meeting in late March.

Our post elicited a response from Tim Ganley, a 20-year Wellesley homeowner and resident, who spoke out about the petition last week at the Advisory Committee meeting. Ganley says he has no personal or professional involvement in the landscape or power equipment industry. The key points of his message to the committee:

“1. A leaf blower ban will have a huge financial impact on thousands of households that must be weighed
2. The public statements made about leaf blower emissions, pollution, and health risks instantly create a bias that they must be true, which causes undue concern.  The truth is that when put in the context of all the other emissions and pollution sources we accept as members of modern society leaf blowers are a tiny contributor.
3.  A lengthy debate will likely develop in Wellesley.  It took Cambridge 18 months to author a proposal.  I urge advisory to recommend no action at this year’s town meeting.”

Ganley added in an email to us some elaboration on this first point above: “There will be a huge financial impact to every homeowner who uses a landscape service. For example a typical 15,000 to 20,000 square foot property should expect a 2X to 3X increase in fall and spring cleanup costs which will typically be an additional $500 to $1,500.  Assuming there are approximately 7,000 single family homes in Wellesley and that half of them use a landscape service, this amounts to approximately a $4 million dollar yearly excise tax for the privilege of using a maintenance service.”

Finally, Ganley says he is looking for a healthy public discussion of the issue and suggests it would be best to push any petition off until 2013 Town Meeting.

All: Feel free to chime in via our comments section below…