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Aug 6, 2019 3:27 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers Will Be Banned In Summer In East Hampton Village Next Year

East Hampton Village Board member, Barbara Borsack, Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr, and Board member Richard Lawler.   ELIZABETH VESPE
Aug 13, 2019 3:21 PM

Beginning next year, noisy leaf blowers will be silenced during the summer months in East Hampton Village.

At an East Hampton Village Board meeting on July 31, the board voted unanimously to approve legislation to ban the use of gas- or diesel-powered leaf blowers by landscapers from June 1 until Labor Day, solving an ongoing “quality-of-life issue” related to the noise of lawn equipment. The new laws will go into effect January 1, 2020.

Fines for first offenses range from $250 to $1,000. For a second offense within two years, fines range from $500 to $2,500. If someone breaks the law a third time, they will face fines from $2,500 to $5,000.

If, during a major storm, the mayor declares a state of emergency, gas- and diesel-powered leaf blowers may be used to clean up.

In addition, golf clubs, such as the Maidstone Club, a private country club that encompasses about 200 acres of open land, still will be allowed to use the blowers.

In a related move, all landscapers working in the village now will have to complete an annual registration form and pay a nonrefundable annual registration fee of $200, in addition to a fee of $10 per sticker for each registered landscaping vehicle.

With members Richard Lawler and Barbara Borsack spearheading the effort, the board had been discussing seasonally prohibiting the use of the leaf blowers, in addition to requiring professional landscapers to register annually for a fee, for quite some time.

“We’ve been working on this for months,” Mr. Lawler said. “I think what we’ve come up with is a fair compromise.”

Ms. Borsack added, “Thank you to all of the landscapers who helped and worked with us.”

As a continuation from the board’s previous June 21 public hearing, two residents spoke in favor of the legislation.

Bob Hoguet, a seasonal village resident, was one.

“This is my 79th year in East Hampton, and when I came here as a kid to visit my grandmother, mostly we heard the ocean, the wind, the trees. We also heard the birds,” he recalled.

“One can plant trees or a hedge to block the side of a neighbor’s house, but it’s difficult to stop a neighbor’s noise,” Mr. Hoguet said while commending the board for its efforts.

“Hearing is one of our senses,” he said, adding that the sound of the machines crowds out the sound of nature. “I encourage you to continue down this path.”

Bob Casper, who in 2013 started a “Ban the Blowers” movement in East Hampton, also thanked the board. “There are hundreds of intelligent communities across the country that have either banned gas-powered leaf blowers or restricted them severely,” Mr. Casper said. “I want to thank you for getting it to this point … I hope it continues.”

Although gas-powered leaf blowers will be banned during the summer months for landscapers, they could be used again after Labor Day, but no earlier than 8 a.m. and no later than 6 p.m. on any weekday; no earlier than 8 a.m. and later than 3 p.m. on Saturdays; and only from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays or any federal holiday.

In other news, fines for illegally having dogs on the beaches have been raised. Dogs are prohibited on village beaches from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from May 15 to September 15. Previously, the fine was no less than $100 and no greater than $250 for a first offense. Legislation to raise fees was unanimously approved by the village board after a public hearing, at which no one spoke in opposition, at its July 31 meeting.

The new fine for having a dog on the beach will be a minimum of $150. After failing to pay the fine, a late penalty of $75 will be added to the minimum fine. After 60 days, a late penalty of $150 will apply, and after 90 days, $200 will be added onto the original fine.

The board also approved legislation to prohibit vehicles from being driven on the beach from 6 p.m. to midnight on the night of the annual East Hampton Village Fire Department fireworks display, which is Saturday, August 17. Again, the board voted unanimously, and no one spoke to object.

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I believe the Maidstone Club is the ONLY golf course in the village.
By Rich Morey (378), East Hampton on Aug 7, 19 9:38 AM
Have got to keep the course green and well kept for the people that don't like the noise???
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Aug 7, 19 11:00 AM
By not including the Maidstone Club, this law will be shot down in court as discriminatory .
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Aug 7, 19 12:19 PM
Are electric powered leaf blower exempt from this ordinance?

This is the better alternative to gas leaf blowers of course, but they still make some noise.
By brene56 (1), Westhampton Beach on Aug 8, 19 11:57 AM
Blowers on the golf course will not create noise for nearby homeowners except those on the boundaries of the 200 acre course & those affected are likely members who want the blowers to clear the course regardless of the noise.
By sharon tompkins (5), east hampton on Aug 8, 19 12:23 PM
So only the wealthy summer residents deserve to be protected from this horrific nuisance? Or is that they are the biggest crybabies. Either way, the message sucks
By Nukiepoo (123), Southampton on Aug 8, 19 8:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
is it too late to take out a one-day ad on the shinnecock billboard?
By StacyMeyrowitz (2), Brooklyn, New York on Aug 8, 19 9:46 PM
SHV passed it also, but no one enforceing it. I know they issued tickets, but ride aroung and you will see 30-40 crews using them. Guess they are at the beach catching surfers
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Aug 18, 19 4:00 PM