News Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.
Months of pleading from landscapers and their supporters to the White Plains Common Council to reconsider an ordinance that eliminated the use of gas-powered leaf blower equipment in the city apparently made a difference.
Last week, the council voted 4-3 to amend a section of the Noise Pollution Control Ordinance to allow the operation of internal combustion leaf blowers from Oct. 15 to Dec. 15. The prohibition will take effect again on Dec. 16, 2025.
On property of 5,000 square feet or less, only one gas-powered leaf blower is permitted.
City officials had contended the phase-out of gas-powered leaf blowers was necessary to reduce noise and pollution and protect the environment. Meanwhile, landscapers argued the alternatives of electrical or battery-powered equipment were not feasible.
Voting in favor of amending the ordinance were councilmembers Jennifer Puja, Nadine Hunt-Robinson, John Martin and Richard Payne.
Martin said the amendment was being offered as “a compromise” to what had become a controversial issue and a frequent topic during Citizens to be Heard portions of council meetings.
“I think it’s a reasonable compromise,” Hunt-Robinson said. “I think we’ve had a successful spring with the electric leaf blowers and we’ll never go back. I do understand the concerns on both sides.”
“I see it as compromise,” Puja said. “A lot of what we heard came after the ordinance was adopted. There should be no opt-out. Everybody should be in compliance. I think there’s a learning curve as there is with anything new.”
However, Mayor Thomas Roach, Council President Justin Brasch and Councilmember Victoria Presser opposed the amendment.
“I understand the burden this places on landscapers, but we must sometimes accept burdens and difficulties in service of the greater good,” Presser said.
Roach maintained the underlying motivation of those in opposition to the ban was “time is money.”
“Technology has already advanced. The idea that somehow these batteries are more dangerous than gasoline…Electric is the way to go,” Roach remarked. “There’s another option for people: Do it yourself. It’s not that hard to do your own lawn.”
In White Plains, no one can operate any landscaping machinery or equipment between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. on weekdays and 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. on weekends and holidays.
Rick has more than 40 years’ experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, running the gamut from politics and crime to sports and human interest. He has been an editor at Examiner Media since 2012. Read more from Rick’s editor-author bio here. Read Rick’s work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/pezzullo_rick-writer/