Landscapers air concerns over proposed gas leaf blower regulations

Landscapers air concerns over proposed gas leaf blower regulations
North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth speaks at a previous town board meeting. (Photo by Noah Manskar)

Town of North Hempstead officials announced plans to establish an advisory board about regulating gas powered leaf blowers at a crowded public hearing Wednesday, following concerns forwarded to the town board about a proposal regulating gas leaf blowers.

The proposal currently features a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers between June 1 and Sept. 30. It would also prohibit the use of leaf blowers and other motorized landscaping tools before 8 a.m. or after 7p.m. on weekdays, and before 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on holidays and weekdays.

The law would not apply to homeowners using their gas-powered blowers and not go into effect until June 2019, officials said, in order “to give time for the battery powered equipment to improve.”

But some of that may very well change, Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said.

“The changes that I have in mind are going to include environmentalists with landscapers on the advisory board so that we can work together to come up with something that would be beneficial to the environment, but also take into account the challenges that our landscapers face,” Bosworth said.

Currently there is no exact timeline on the committee’s formation.

The meeting was packed with landscapers, residents, and some medical professionals, with every seat filled and dozens of people standing on the side or just outside the meeting room.

Landscapers and business owners argued that switching to battery or electric-powered blowers would add several hours of work, which would then require the additional costs to be passed off to consumers.

Many also argued that their equipment meets professional guidelines when it comes to noise and environmental requirements, and that most issues residents experience come from unlicensed operators.

“I must stress that this ban is not just affecting landscapers, but all contractors and homeowners that require the removal of many different types of debris from their properties,” said Aldo Calabrese, a co-owner of a Port Washington-based landscaping company and officer of the North Hempstead Business Association.

Dr. Bonnie Sager, the co-founder of the Huntington Citizens Appeal for Leafblower Moderation advocacy group, said that while she supports landscapers, leafblowers are spewing toxic chemicals and excessive sound into the air.

Sager went on to argue that battery-powered leafblowers could reduce these hazards, get the job done, and help the environment.

“The legislation proposed is a fair and reasonable compromise for all and we ask council to vote on it as soon as possible to ensure the safety and health of your residents and the landscape worker,” Sager said.

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  1. My father was a landscape/gardener in Queens and on the Island, and i earned an associate degree in Ornamental Horticulture from what was then the SUNY Agricultural and Technical Institute at Farmingdale. We were taught to cherish and exercise great care for the gardens and plantings for which we were responsible, and to respect and appreciate the communities and customers we served. We were not taught to blast them with devices that pollute the environment, destroy the vital organic foundations of healthy, plantings, and to attack the health of our customers and neighbors, just for what we selfishly think is our own convenience! These landscapers today make me ashamed of my father’s devotion to and my own background in what used to be a wonderful profession. They should be ashamed of themselves!


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