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Nov 3, 2017 10:24 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Village May Silence Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers

Scott Fithian holding a battery-powered leaf blower at the East Hampton Village Board Work Session. JON WINKLER
Nov 7, 2017 10:25 AM

The East Hampton Village Board is considering going green—and quiet—by banning the use of gas-powered leaf blowers in summer.

Village Board member Arthur Graham said at a work session on Thursday, November 2, that he had been looking into ways to regulate gas-powered leaf blowers after receiving complaints from village residents about noise caused by landscape workers. He noted that string trimmers and hedge trimmers add to the loud, whirring disruption.

“Lawn mowers at least are a steady drone of noise,” he said. “It’s the variability of these other pieces of equipment that causes most people to express their displeasure.”

Mr. Graham also pointed out that battery-powered blowers do not produce fumes like those that emanate from gas-powered blowers. He said he had heard that some landscapers in St. Louis, Missouri, install solar panels on the roofs of their vans that charge leaf blowers’ batteries while they work.

For the unconvinced, Village Superintendent of Public Works Scott Fithian provided three examples of battery-powered leaf blowers at the meeting: two with a standard handheld design and a third with a larger battery attached to it like a backpack, which board member Barbara Borsack noted was reminiscent of the Proton Pack in the movie “Ghostbusters.”

Mr. Fithian said all three blowers give off a sound no louder than approximately 65 decibels. That’s quieter than a typical vacuum cleaner, and only slightly louder than an air conditioning unit operating 100 feet away. A gas-powered leaf blower can be anywhere from 90 to 115 decibels for the operator, which is closer to the noise level of a chainsaw.

“We can phase the electrical equipment in over a period of time to minimize the negative effects on the landscapers,” Mr. Graham said. “We don’t expect the landscapers to absorb all of the expense of this. One of the reasons why our village is so beautiful is because of the landscaping.”

The ban could apply to the summer season only, perhaps from Memorial Day to Labor Day, he said. Exceptions might be made for cleaning up an excess of fallen leaves after a storm or a large space like Herrick Park, Mr. Graham said, adding that battery-powered leaf blowers would serve the purpose of tidying up a residential yard.

“They’re perfectly adequate for the light cleanup that we usually find landscapers doing in the summertime,” he said.

Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. said the board’s next job will be to get more information about specifics before drafting a resolution for a ban and setting a public hearing.

Mr. Graham added that he was eager to hear what landscapers and others have to say about the proposal.

“I would really like to know what their impressions are about this new electrical equipment,” he said. “I don’t want to have people say, ‘No, it’s terrible. Go away.’

“I want people to tell me, ‘No, it’s terrible for this reason and this is why it won’t work,’” he continued. “I want to know what the stakeholders say. I think that would make us able to make an informed opinion as to how we want to go ahead.”

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These people are truly crazy and will never be happy. Over clearing , re vegetation , a fence can't be higher than 6 ft including space underneath . No deer fence , sagaponack you can't have a driveway gate over 4 feet tall , color restrictions on fence , restrictions on the kind of planting you can put into your own home . They just keep making more problems every year, they'll never be satisfied till or houses look like Shacks and we all have Lymes Disease. The problem is the people on the ...more
By widow gavits (219), sag harbor on Nov 3, 17 4:47 PM
Check out some of these gated communities in Fla. And Arizona.

Paint color on your house?? They'll tell you matte finish or semi gloss!
No gas leaf blowers, no yard sales, no unapproved landscaping, no Christmas lights after Jan. 25 (for real!!),
no, no, no...!!
You violate, and some rent-a-cop on a golf cart comes around and writes you up.

And yet, people paying big bucks and fighting to get into these places, just like they're fighting to get into over regulated ...more
By aging hipster (201), Southampton on Nov 4, 17 7:30 AM
Those are associations not towns! When you choose to move into that kind of collective you are the kind of person who dose not mind being a sheep, in fact you like it because you feel safe. Then it gets out of control and the meek become the oppressors! They seem to enjoy there new found safety in numbers and cross the line more and more into other peoples business. Some of them seem to enjoy it, kind of like a hobby.
By Ditch Bum (929), Water Mill on Nov 4, 17 3:15 PM
1 member liked this comment
I'm with you. I remember whan i was 18, being told that I couldn't fly my remote control model airplane nor sail my rc boat on Sundays. Blue Laws ... no. It was OK for my neighbor to start his motorcycle and rev it all day, but I couldn't fly my model plane. Damn you East Hampton. Get real. This is my wold too. I couldn't believe it last summer, while waiting for someone to pull out of a parking spot in front of the guild, a teenage rent-a-cop told me I had to move or he'd give me a ticket. A ticket ...more
By jediscuba (71), Suthampton on Nov 9, 17 4:27 PM
If the Village feels this strongly perhaps they will purchase electrical equipment for all LEGAL , INSURED gardening and landscaping companies doing business in said municipality.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Nov 3, 17 5:18 PM
Government gone wild !
Nov 3, 17 6:33 PM appended by joe hampton
Mr. Graham also pointed out that battery-powered blowers do not produce fumes like those that emanate from gas-powered blowers.thats becuase they dont do S* get a grip Mr Graham
By joe hampton (3461), The Hamptons on Nov 3, 17 6:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
Is this guy for real look at the puny gas blowers he is comparing this garbage to. It would be like shoveling out after a two foot snow storm with a table spoon.

Guess you don't really care about small businesses Mr Graham? Maybe you will when the price of cutting your lawn triples
By Undocumented Democrat (2065), southampton on Nov 3, 17 6:40 PM
If anyone thinks it’s the local population driving this insanity.....it’s not. It’s the Cidiots driving this crap. EHV and EHT love lawsuits so have fun with that!
By G (342), Southampton on Nov 3, 17 7:50 PM
Well, I am part of the "local population", and the leaf blowers are driving me crazy running 6 days a week. I don't think it is asking too much for peace and quiet. At the very least, quieter, newer equipment should be mandated.
By gusef (53), Southampton on Nov 4, 17 12:53 PM
do you ever have work done on your property that requires a leaf blower gusef? If so, I hope you buy electric equipment for the company .
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Nov 4, 17 1:02 PM
1 member liked this comment
Yes, during the fall months when there are actually leaves on the ground.
By gusef (53), Southampton on Nov 4, 17 1:09 PM
Actually since I am a customer, I would be buying the equipment, though indirectly. That's how it works, you know.
By gusef (53), Southampton on Nov 4, 17 1:22 PM
1 member liked this comment
Sounds like the usual class warfare and jealousy to me, anyway to stick it to the "1%" seems to delight some people. very small people indeed.
By Ditch Bum (929), Water Mill on Nov 4, 17 3:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
Sorry but I don't need big brother to protect me from all things a leaf blower thank you.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Nov 4, 17 12:02 AM
Rake them for crissake. So damn annoying! And usually during the week. Maybe only let them be used on Saturdays and Sundays.
By clamdigger (85), Quogue on Nov 4, 17 3:21 PM
2 members liked this comment
Yes, yes lets rake them, funny guy ! And we can triple you bill ! How do like that clamdigger? I bet you don't care! Because some people live in the woods up in springs and don't ever lift a finger or spend a dime to manicure there homes. If you want peace and quit might i suggest you move upstate and buy 20 acres, till then don't try to force your NPR Trader Joe's lifestyle on the rest of us!
By Undocumented Democrat (2065), southampton on Nov 4, 17 3:32 PM
When I can purchase a battery system that does not need to be changed every half hour I will be happy to switch in the mean time let's fire up that blower and get the leaves of the lawn.
By watchdog1 (543), Southampton on Nov 4, 17 4:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
Green costs tons of money$ Will then village buy green with taxpayers money?
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Nov 4, 17 5:33 PM
Unless they’re being charged by solar, wind, or hydro-electric, are they really “GREEN”? What’s “GREEN” about burning fossil fuels to charge giant batteries?
By sparkhampton (27), Hampton Bays on Nov 5, 17 6:44 AM
1 member liked this comment
And therein lies the scam of going green
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Nov 5, 17 10:17 AM
The "Green Movement" is little more than a slogan, in my view. Here in the Village, houses are being torn down at breakneck speed, and being replaced with 5000+ sqft houses that run AC 24/7 while they sit empty most of the time. The issue with the leaf blowers is noise pollution.

The detractors here want me to believe that it is impossible to build a satisfactory electric leaf blower, while electric cars populate our roads.
By gusef (53), Southampton on Nov 5, 17 11:47 AM
1 member liked this comment
Ya'll should read a little about point source pollution vs nonpoint source pollution.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 8, 17 7:01 AM
Surprised the aged Village Board can even hear the trimmers. The Village downtown is dead (sorry Chamber of Commerce) so
It might as well be quiet.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Nov 5, 17 8:33 AM
no cell phone towers ! no leaf blowers! no privacy !

what next week horse and wagons? these people are out of control!
By Erin 27 E (1281), hampton bays on Nov 5, 17 10:09 AM
And no maturity. The whole thread sounds like tyrannical children who resent boundaries and rules, and refuse to even countenance what might be for the common good. Genuine reflections of the Me Generation.
By June Bug (2680), SOUTHAMPTON on Nov 5, 17 3:52 PM
Next the local Gov will try to make us hang our laundry only behind our houses...... Oh wait! That’s been done by a loser Supervisior in SHT
By G (342), Southampton on Nov 5, 17 3:29 PM
This is insane. If you don't want to hear leaf blowers move to Siberia where your closest neighbor is 100 miles away. Otherwise, deal with it!

I guess What can you expect from the village that banned killing deer for food because they'd rather a deer jump out in front of a car and kill a local than offend the delicate sensibilities of the city people who value deer more than people
By TrueHamptons (33), Sag Harbor on Nov 5, 17 7:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
I guess your moniker "TrueHamptons" make you the arbitor of who should stay here, and who should go.
By gusef (53), Southampton on Nov 6, 17 5:32 AM
Most of these comments make no sense. The extra speed of gas power is unnecessary and destructive of our human health. If the purpose is to remove leaves, use a rake and a vacuum shredder. Blowing the leaves is harmful to the natural environment and unhealthy to the humans in the neighborhood.
By Eastcreek (3), Cutchogue on Nov 5, 17 10:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Nov 6, 17 5:19 AM
The only people here defending leaf blowers are landscapers. There is not a reasonable homeowner on the planet who would publicly defend the right to use a gas powered leaf blower. They are noise, air, and water pollutants.

By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Nov 6, 17 5:54 AM
1 member liked this comment
Well...it does work better, so that seems reason enough to prefer it. Why do you think government should get involved in your lawn equipment?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 6, 17 6:06 AM
I dont own a landscape company, I do however support the right to use gas powered leaf blowers, lawnmowers chainsaws, and weedwhackers/linetrimmers. I also support the large amount of LOCAL landscape companies who cant afford to replace their gas equipment with electric. As well as the local businesses who service and repair them.

Since we're talking pollution, what about the excessive amount of cardboard, plastic and styrofoam coming from daily packages from Amazon orders thats filling ...more
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Nov 6, 17 7:26 AM
1 member liked this comment
If we had embraced this reasoning in the past, we would still be riding around on horses so that the horseshoers can stay in business.
There will always be those who reject new technology. We all know how they wind up.
By gusef (53), Southampton on Nov 6, 17 7:59 AM
Except in that case, the new technology was clearly superior in performance to its forebearer.

Here, the "new" technology (electric blowers) is clearly inferior in performance.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 6, 17 8:49 AM
1 member liked this comment
I am a reasonable homeowner, I use a gas powered blower...just like every one else on my street. I'll continue to use what I want and you big government eco-Nazis can go do what you want. Leave people alone, not everything is need of a government solution or some thug to come in to put a boot on your neck.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Nov 6, 17 2:54 PM
1 member liked this comment
"There is not a reasonable homeowner on the planet who would publicly defend the RIGHT to own a gas powered leaf blower". That statement is a contender for the most idiotic one ever posted on 27 East, and that's saying something! The RIGHT to own a leaf blower?! Really? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot ?
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Nov 7, 17 6:55 AM
1 member liked this comment
Yes, had we embraced the reasoning in the past we wouldn't be facing global warming etc. We'd still be riding on horses an not polluting, but we had to make everything bigger , better faster an learn of the repercussions later. SH Village banned the original plastic bag that soo many of us actually reused and they replaced it with a different plastic bag....one thats not easily reusable . Where is the logic in that? So its not about rejecting technology and more so the rejection of the afterthought ...more
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Nov 8, 17 7:06 AM
I live across the street from a landscaper who runs a first-class business, both in terms of the quality of the work he does, and the equipment he owns. I noticed that he was using an electric blower the other day. He went out and purchased one on his own, without legislation, because he is forward thinking.
By gusef (53), Southampton on Nov 6, 17 9:06 AM
Just because one landscape company can afford to replace their gas equipment with electric does not mean ALL the companies can do the same. There are many locals who either , operate a full time landscaping company or operate as a part time business to make ends meet. I truly dont want to see the livelihood of these local families affected bc they were forced to go green.

As for the Tree Companies...electric chainsaws dont have the power like a gas powered one. The corded chainsaws have ...more
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Nov 8, 17 6:53 AM
They run on batteries. Just like the electric cars do. Amazing, isn't it?
By gusef (53), Southampton on Nov 8, 17 12:26 PM
If the CLIENTS demand battery powered equipment and are willing to pay the increased costs involved this might work, not because some political hack decides it's a good thing
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Nov 8, 17 7:25 AM
1 member liked this comment
“Paper or plastic?” ==> “gas leaf blowing or electric?”
By Nukiepoo (123), Southampton on Nov 9, 17 6:58 PM
This nonsense started about 10 yrs ago in rich communities in Nassau County, first recommended by Legislator Judy Jacobs who died a few years ago. Take a look around and see who has infiltrated our east end governments and communities. None of these people even know how to start a lawn mower or have done a minutes yard work in their lives. Talk to any landscaper, they can barely make a living now. Whats next solar powered electric mowers?
By Brady (15), Southampton on Nov 17, 17 3:34 AM
Why just in summer? Autumn is when they use leaf blowers the most. I've been tormented by them for the past two days. Right this minute, a guy is pulling apart the branches of a dense pine tree in order to blow any leaves on the pine tree off. That's ridiculous. Please, Southampton Town ban these atrocities year round. There's a perfectly good substitute tool for them -- the rake. It works. I know, because I use one.
By btdt (449), water mill on Nov 21, 17 10:22 AM
"Right this minute..." -Posted at 10:22 AM.

The world weeps for you.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Nov 21, 17 10:35 AM