We received a note from one reader who asked us for some clarification on Article 31 of the town warrant for Town Meeting, a 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 concern: That this attempt to amend a bylaw might restrict homeowners from using their own blowers in their yards. We went to Sara Preston, the resident behind the warrant, who says:
“To be clear, the article will NOT impact the rights of any homeowner to use any power equipment on their own property at any time. The goal is to limit the commercial use (meaning operated by commercial landscapers) of leaf blowers which have such significant health impacts both through noise and the harmful emissions and particulate matter they spew. You may be aware that several hundred cities and towns throughout the U.S. have already banned gas powered leaf blowers for health reasons. The whole state of Hawaii and nation of Israel have bans. Locally, we can look to Newton, Cambridge, and Brookline. Each of these communities has taken a different approach to limiting leaf blowers. I think it is also significant that the State of Massachusetts has a law that limits noise, for health reasons, at considerably lower decibels than leaf blowers create. Unfortunately for neighborhoods and for the operators of the blowers themselves, landscaping equipment is exempted. There exist many studies on the harmful impacts of noise, toxic emissions, allergens, and more from gas powered leaf blowers.”
Items on the town warrant will be addressed at Town Meeting, which starts March 26.
This isn’t the first time a Wellesley resident has stepped forward to do something about leaf blower use in town. Back in 2009, a bylaw went into affect to address when commercial outfits could employ noisy equipment in town.