In a unanimous and unprecedented decision, officials in a Westchester County municipality voted to ban gas-powered leaf blowers effective January 2022, becoming one of the first communities in the Northeast to take such action.
The Monday, Sept. 21 decision, according to the Village of Larchmont's Board of Trustees, was driven by environmental concerns.
“Larchmont is proud to be a leader in municipal green policy," said Mayor Lorraine Walsh. "Policies such as this, which ban the use of gas-powered leaf blowers entirely, are essential if we are going to make meaningful progress in turning back the environmental damages causing global climate change.
"Thanks to the Larchmont Environmental Committee for working so hard on this legislative change and educating the community about the impacts of gas-powered leaf blower use.”
Officials have debated the banning of the blowers since 1985, although the controversy then was spurred on by the machines' disruptive noisemaking. The board of trustees enacted a summer ban on gas-powered leaf blowers in 1995, and Walsh banned them during the COVID-19 pandemic via an executive order to lessen the auditory burden on residents working from home.
The new code includes provisions for a four-year outreach initiative to teach residents about the ill effects of gas-powered leaf blowers, including:
- Potential health hazards for work crews, residents, neighbors and passers-by when gas produced by the blowers are inhaled
- Environmental damage caused by the blowers
- social and environmental justice issues caused by disproportionate health hazards weathered by work crews using gas-powered blowers
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