Greenburgh officials have scheduled a public hearing for next month to determine if a proposed local law regulating the use of leaf blowers to curtail noise and air pollution should go into effect.
Unlike other Westchester municipalities that have passed laws prohibiting gas-powered lawn equipment, Greenburgh’s proposal would only allow blowers – both gas and electric – to be used during specific weeks during the spring and fall. The purpose of the law is to limit involuntary exposure to noise and air-borne particulates, officials said.
The proposed law would allow leaf blowers to be used from March 1 to May 15 and October 15 to December 15. During those specified periods, use of blowers would be permitted between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and legal holidays.
All types of blowers would be prohibited the remainder of the year, according to the proposed law.
Violators would be subject to a $50 fine for the first offense, $200 for the second infraction and $500 for the third and any subsequent offenses. If the owner or renter of the property where the violation occurs is not the person operating the blower, the property owner or renter would also be subject to a separate fine in the same amount, the proposal states.
The law will be enforced by the Greenburgh Police Department, the Department of Community Development & Conservation, and the Building Department.
In the event of a weather emergency, like a hurricane or nor’easter, the town would have the authority to suspend the use of any blowers for any amount of time. Any directives would be posted on the town website and communicated to the police department and community development and conservation department.
Exemptions to the law would include debris clean-up resulting from town authorized tree removal and within two feet of outdoor equipment such as air conditioning compressors, generators and other outdoor machinery and related piping exposed above ground. Any work conducted by the Department of Public Works affecting public safety on roadways, walkways, and road islands would also be exempt.
That work would require prior authorization for extenuating circumstances, such as special events, equipment malfunctions, equipment shortages and personnel shortages.
Additionally, use of blowers for activities of the Department of Parks & Recreation would be exempt. Authorization would also be mandated, according to the proposed law.
If passed, Greenburgh would join about a dozen area communities that have either passed similar laws or are attempting to regulate lawn equipment.
Last September, New Castle officials unanimously approved a law prohibiting the use of gas-powered leaf blowers from June 1 through Sept. 30. In Croton-on-Hudson, the Village Board is mulling a proposal that would outlaw gas-powered blowers year-round in a phased approach by 2023.
Pleasantville officials are also discussing a ban to limit noise and air pollution and reduce health impacts. The proposed ordinance would allow leaf blowers to be used only in spring for two weeks and for a three-week period in fall. The weeks where they could be used would depend on the weather. Operation would be allowed after 10 a.m. on Saturday and after noon on Sunday.
The public hearing is scheduled for March 10 at 7:30 p.m. during the Greenburgh Town Board meeting, which is being held virtually. For more information, visit https://www.greenburghny.com/.