GovernmentThe White Plains Examiner

Common Council Discusses Updates to WP Noise Pollution Ordinance

News Article Article pages that do not meet specifications for other Trust Project Type of Work labels and also do not fit within the general news category.

We are part of The Trust Project

Members of the Common Council discussed proposed updates to the White Plains Noise Pollution Control Ordinance, which sets forth regulations to prevent noise disturbances within city limits, during a Special Meeting on Jan. 31.

Councilwoman Jennifer Puja

Among the changes made in the proposed update are uniform usage restrictions for all landscape maintenance equipment, including leaf blowers, an extended phase-out period for gas-powered leaf blowers from Sept. 30, 2022 to May 14, 2023, permission for non-gas-powered leaf blowers to be used year-round in accordance with daytime use restrictions and a fall cleanup season that starts at Oct. 15 instead of Oct. 1.

Additionally, construction work start times were moved from 7 to 8 a.m. on weekdays and 9 to 9:30 a.m. on weekends and holidays.

In adjusting the time of construction, Mayor Tom Roach underscored that the city looked at what other communities throughout Westchester do, and the new start times are similar to other jurisdictions.

“It’s really a comprehensive update,” Karen Pasquale, Senior Advisor to the Mayor, said when sharing the proposed changes made alongside Building Commissioner Damon Amadio.

In addition to updating outdated language, Pasquale said they organized the ordinance in a clearer way and added modern equipment references, a purpose section and a definition section.

“I know that some may be disappointed that we’re going to have another leaf season with the gas blowers,” Roach said. “However, as you all know, for many, many years it has been unlawful to use them other than in the spring and fall.”

The provisions outlined in the updated ordinance may be enforced by a White Plains Building Code Enforcement Officer, Police Officer, Parking Enforcement Officer or Public Works Code Enforcement Officer.

Commending Pasquale and Amadio for their work making adjustments to the ordinance, Councilwoman Victoria Presser emphasized that she would like there to be a concerted effort to get the updated information out to residents should the ordinance pass.

“So that well before we have to send out warnings to residents, we have let them know once, twice, three times that this ordinance is in effect and it is the property owner’s responsibility to make sure it is respected and acceded to,” Presser said. “We need to get it from paper into practice.”

Pasquale underscored that if the updated ordinance passes, the city would create an informational awareness campaign for residents, property owners and landscape businesses.

Councilwoman Jennifer Puja said she appreciated the uniform usage across landscape maintenance equipment and the extension of the phaseout for gas-powered leaf blowers.

“I felt that doing it as quickly as this September would not be enough time to notify people,” Puja said. “I recognize that [the switch to battery-operated leaf blowers] is the future and [regulations] will eventually become statewide, but, at the same time, we have to do what we can to support our residents when there is a big change like this coming their way because it doesn’t just affect them and their homes but also their businesses.”

Councilman John Martin said he would like to hear from the Department of Public Works on how many gas-powered blowers they are still operating compared to battery-powered machines and any issues they are encountering when making the switch.

“Other than that, I think it’s a great ordinance,” Martin said.

An ordinance to repeal Chapter 3 to 4 of the current White Plains Municipal Code and replace it with the aforementioned noise pollution-related updates, is on the agenda for the next Common Council meeting.

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.