Mount Kisco recently approved regulations governing the use of leaf blowers within the village, becoming the latest Westchester municipality hoping to gradually curtail the machinery’s use.
The Village Board unanimously ratified the law on Oct. 18, after village resident Lilian Burgler appealed to officials earlier this year to prohibit the two-stroke gas-powered leaf blowers because of the carbon emissions and noise pollution they generate.
Trustee Peter Grunthal thanked Burgler for her efforts and spearheaded the drive to get the local legislation passed. Despite a longer than anticipated phase-in period, Grunthal thanked his colleagues for helping to protect residents and the environment.
“As all of you on this board know, I would have preferred to see a more rapid implementation but everyone on this board supported the principle and supported the ultimate legislation and I’m very grateful for that,” he said.
The law does not entirely prohibit gas-powered leaf blowers within the village until Jan. 1, 2027, as long at the equipment was purchased before the end of this year. That extended phase-in period irked some of the supporters of the legislation.
Until then, gas-powered blowers are prohibited from May 1 until Sept. 15. For the remainder of the year, commercial gas blowers are permitted Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be no hours of operation on Sundays and federal holidays.
However, homeowners and tenants would be allowed to use the machines on their properties from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and on Sundays and holidays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
There are also restrictions on the number of gas blowers that can be used simultaneously. There is a limit of no more than two blowers on properties less than three acres and a maximum of three gas blowers on parcels that are larger than three acres.
Despite the slower pace of phasing out gas-powered blowers, Grunthal said he believes it will make a difference.
“I do believe this legislation as time goes on will make life a lot more pleasant when we don’t have to listen to the two-stroke leaf blowers,” Grunthal said.
Mayor Gina Picinich said the compromise legislation was an important starting point to eventually rid the village of the noisy and polluting two-stroke gas machines. Over the next five years, Picinich said she expects that improved technology for electric and battery-powered blowers will be available to residents and landscapers.
“I think this legislation says that this community wants to move in that direction, that this board wants to move in that direction, and so I think that this is a very strong and solid start for us,” Picinich said.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/