PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. A typical noise complaint during the summer months can stem from loud music next door or a few inebriated people causing a ruckus. However, in some towns across Westchester County, including villages in the town of Mount Pleasant, certain lawn machinery has fast become an audible and irritable nuisance.
That piece of lawn equipment is the leaf blower. The machinery, originally intended for its quick and efficient means of moving fallen leaves, is now used as a year-round tool by maintenance workers and homeowners. That is why the village of Pleasantville, as advised by its Village Conservation Advisory Council, is considering an ordinance that would only allow leaf-blowers during fall and spring cleanup.
Helen Meurer, chair of the Pleasantville Conservation Advisory Council, said there are also reasons to ban leaf blowers during the non-fall months that go beyond noise.
"In the summer, for instance, when everything is a lot dryer, you can cause terrible disturbances of soil," Meurer said.
The local ordinance was proposed by the advisory council in January and discussed at the Board of Trustees meeting earlier this month. Pleasantville Village Administrator Patricia Dwyer said the decision on the ban is still in the early stages and will be discussed at future meetings.
"We need to see how it affects the local industry and their cost benefits," she said. "There are still a lot of factors that need to be weighed."
Leaf-blowers have recently become a hot-topic issue in the Westchester area. In 2009, Westchester County passed a bill that required all licensed home improvement contractors to use low emission leaf blowers. A CBS New York report published in late June noted that the towns of Rye, Scarsdale, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, White Plains and Pelham already have bans on leaf blowers during the summer months. The Mount Pleasant Town Code, chapter 139 article II, features a ban on the use of power tools such as leaf blowers between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.
"Even though I hate the noise, I think the most important thing is the pollution from leaf-blowers, which people don't realize," Meurer said. "We're hoping to persuade people that there are other means of doing landscaping in the summer without a leaf blower.
A ban on leaf blowers during certain months could have a significant impact on lawn maintenance companies, which frequently use leaf-blowers to clear things such as cut grass, small fallen branches and even snow. Meurer said she and the rest of the Conservation Advisory Council recognize this and hope there would be some way that both parties could work out a resolution sometime in the near future.
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