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Residents Want Greenwich Leaf Blower Ban

Leaf blower mania has gone on too long in Greenwich, says Gretchen Biggs, founder of a group that is calling for a summertime ban on private and public use of leaf blowers.

“The number of leaf blowers in Greenwich has increased and are increasing every day, and people’s tolerance for them has not, surprisingly, decreased,” said Biggs. “Citizens of Greenwich have been asking you to do it for 20 years, it’s time to do it.”

The group, Citizens Against Leafblower Mania, also known as CALM, presented the Board of Selectmen with a proposal to adopt a partial ban on the devices from April 15 to Oct. 15.

Biggs, a Maher Avenue resident, said the town’s department of health has ignored her call to address the issue. No department members were at the board meeting Thursday. First Selectman Peter Tesei agreed with Biggs that it is an issue of health. “The health department should be here today,” he said.

This is not the first time the leaf blower issue has reached the ears of Greenwich lawmakers. In the 1990s, the town amended its noise ordinance to restrict use of gas-powered leaf blowers from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. weekdays and 3 p.m. to 9 a.m. weekends and holidays. However, Biggs said regulations currently in place were insufficient. “What’s new since the last time is that environmental awareness has grown in all areas … evidenced by the fact that hundreds of towns and cities have banned them because of the noise,” said Biggs.

The neighboring town of Rye, N.Y., was successful in banning the use of the blowers from May 1 through Sept. 30 in April 2008. No towns in Connecticut have imposed such a ban.

Graham O’Gorman, owner of the Greenwich landscaping company Greenspace, told the selectmen that his company tries to avoid the use of leaf blowers. “It’s going to be a matter of changing the way people think about how we do landscaping,” he said.

Tesei seemed doubtful the issue would be fully addressed by the Representative Town Meeting before September to make time for a proposal, public hearing and selectmen approval. The Board of Selectmen asked the town’s attorney’s office Thursday to draft a proposed ordinance before a public hearing is scheduled.

Do you think there should be a ban on leaf blowers in Greenwich? Comment below or send your response ahelhoski@mainstreetconnect.us

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