Leaf Blower Ordinance (Proposed)

BigTree

LawnSite Member
Location
Walnut Creek, CA
Hello, In my area many Cities have banned gas powered leaf blowers with a few only limiting noise (typically 65 dBA at 50 feet as provided by manufacturer). I am planning on proposing a model ordinance in our area that hopefully strikes a good compromise between objections to noise vs. landscaper use.

Here is what ECHO has in their model ordinance:
MODEL LEAF BLOWER ORDINANCE
1. No person shall operate any leaf blower which does not bear an affixed manufacturer's label indicating the model number of the leaf blower and designating a noise level not in excess of sixty-five dBA when measured from a distance of fifty feet utilizing American National Standard Institute B175.2 methodology. Any leaf blower which bears such a manufacturer's label shall be presumed to comply with any noise level limit of this chapter provided that it is operated with all mufflers and full extension tubes supplied by the manufacturer for that leaf blower. No person shall operate any leaf blower without attachment of all mufflers, full extension tubes, shrouds and sound attenuating devises supplied by the manufacturer for that leaf blower.
2. No person shall operate any leaf blowers within a residential zone except during the following hours: 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Saturday. No person shall operate any leaf blower within any non-residential zone except during the following hours: 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday. No person shall operate any leaf blowers on Sundays and holidays. END OF ECHO ORDINANCE (THERE IS MORE BUT THE KEY PARTS ARE ABOVE)

There seem to be a few gas powered leaf blowers that can meet the 65 dBA level (but many don't). I think that the ECHO approach is a very good compromise ordinance. The only downside of which I am aware is that the landscapers would need to invest in quieter blowers - but they could still conduct their business pretty much as usual (i.e., no outright ban on any class of blower).

Now for the questions:
1. Are there downsides (other than equipment costs) to the ECHO model ordinance of which I am not aware?
2. Are you aware of a Town that has such an ordinance (i.e., based on noise levels and hours of operation) and are the Residents/Landscapers satisfied with the results?
3. Do you have any suggestions for this model ordinance (additions, deletions, revisions).

Please respond to this query with the assumption that IF some legislation were to be passed in your Town limiting leaf blower noise, what would you like to see as a fair compromise. I am hoping to elicit some constructive feedback from the folks who make their living and who this will impact - which is you. Thanks.
 

rlitman

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Long Island
I've got a Stihl BR500, and its the only piece of outdoor power equipment I have that I don't use hearing protection with. For that alone, its one of my favorite tools, and I use it far more often than I would, if it were louder.

I understand the desire for ever more powerful tools to get the job done faster, but the BR500 has plenty of power for me.

Still, leaf blower ordinances are reactionary politics of the worst kind. It just bothers me, that a city council would pander to a few squeaky wheel constituents with overly sensitive ears. What makes this so hypocritical, is that mowers and 2-cycle string trimmers are just as loud (albeit with a slightly less objectionable sound). Why not ban those?

Towns already have noise ordinances, why not just enforce them as is?
 
OP
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BigTree

LawnSite Member
Location
Walnut Creek, CA
Hello Rlitman, Thanks for the input. The City of Menlo Park CA and the City of Portland OR both have noise ordinances for leaf blowers based upon noise levels. They also have hours of operation. Portland pre-certifies blowers as acceptable and publishes a list (on their web site) - it is surprising how few actually make it on the list. Apparently the gardeners association that covers Menlo Park (among other cities) finds the ordinance tolerable and they even like the hours limitations (e.g., no more night work and 12 hour days). It seems prudent to consider a less noisy blower if it will do the job just as well. I have heard (no pun intended) good things about the Stahl model that you have noted and it is on the Portland certified list.
 

Allens LawnCare

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Eastern CT
With all the problems in the world......it's funny that blowers are even a concern
 

tamadrummer

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Zephyrhills,FL
I cannot even begin supporting this thread! When someone is trying to earn a living with good, powerful equipment. SHUT UP and leave them be. Every town has noise ordinances in place as it is, why make more law for laws already on the books?
 

STIHL GUY

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
CT
it would be pretty hard to work especially fall cleanups without using a gas powered blower
 

Allens LawnCare

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Eastern CT
People deal with what is in their face every day. They also enjoy peace and quiet...as in standard of living.

So don't I but I've never called to try and get an ass knob law created...how much time was spent on that.....TOO MUCH. People in local, state and federal government have too much time on their hands, they come up with stupid $hit to try and back up or support. How about working on the Unemployment situation, tax issues, HEALTHCARE, the homless etc... chances are 1 person wrote a letter or called in because they knew someone, that's crap if you ask me! Lifes turning into crap, everyones looking to sue someone, blame someone etc....I'm 31 but bring back the old days! Chances are the same guy that created that has an LCO doing his lawn, with a blower.
 

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