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Apr 11, 2019 3:10 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

East Hampton Village May Restrict Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers In Summer

The Village of East Hampton plans to silence gas-powered leaf blowers.   ELIZABETH VESPE
Apr 16, 2019 11:35 AM

The East Hampton Village Board is one step closer to prohibiting gas-powered leaf blowers during the summer months, in addition to requiring professional landscapers to pay a $200 fee to register annually with the village—regulations that have been quality-of-life concerns for months, if not years.

Since the Village Board’s March 15 meeting, a draft law has been refined to state that the use of gas-powered and diesel-powered leaf blowers by landscapers will be banned from June 1 until Labor Day each year, regardless of the time of day.

For everyone besides professional landscapers, the existing legislation will continue to apply. From June 1 to the second Friday in December, it only allows the operation of any gas- or diesel-powered lawn care equipment—including lawn mowers and trimmers, as well as leaf blowers—from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday or any federal holiday.

The new rule would not apply to municipal property or membership club golf courses.

“We came to what we thought was a pretty fair and equitable agreement,” board member Richard Lawler said during a discussion at the board’s April 4 work session.

However, Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. questioned why the law exempts municipalities and membership golf courses.

“I have an opinion, and I’ll say it,” Village Board member Arthur Graham replied. “We should encourage all people to use electric equipment whenever possible. There are some times when that’s not possible, and they’ll have to use gas-powered equipment.”

To answer Mr. Rickenbach’s concern, he added that the Maidstone Club landscapes about 208 acres and that “they have special requirements” in maintaining the turf.

He added that “the municipality should take the lead” and abide by the same laws as landscapers and homeowners. Village Board member Barbara Borsack nodded in agreement.

“It’s like Big Brother telling others what to do with not adhering to what we feel is the right policy,” Mr. Rickenbach added.

Mr. Lawler interjected, explaining to his colleagues that the village already has a policy in place to use electric landscaping equipment as much as possible.

“There are areas that are rather large,” he said, adding that battery-operated equipment sometimes fails and could leave large projects unfinished. “That would leave ourselves open to having lot of incomplete work,” he said.

“We’ve been around and around about this for months now,” Ms. Borsack, who’s attended multiple Southampton Village Board meetings focused on an almost identical issue, added. “I think we need to get it started … If we need to tweak it, we can always go in and do something later.”

Board member Rose Brown stressed that the board isn’t changing anything for homeowners. “Those regulations were put into place a couple of years ago by a previous board,” she said, referring to the hours during which gas-powered equipment can be used. As a resident of the village, she said, it is a challenge to arrive home only a short time before 6 p.m. to get yard work done.

“The flip side to that is that it’s very peaceful during the evenings and we get to enjoy our backyard,” she said.

A public hearing for the law has not yet been set as the board continues to discuss the legislation, which would require a $10 registration fee for each landscaping vehicle in addition to the landscaper’s fee.

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Sounds good on paper... At what cost???
By knitter (1717), Southampton on Apr 12, 19 2:42 PM
Peace and tranquility is priceless!
By Fred s (2560), Southampton on Apr 12, 19 3:23 PM
And when you quiet the sounds of the landscaper and create hardships for many local families, who will you silence next??
By toes in the water (839), southampton on Apr 13, 19 7:22 AM
Very bias to appeal to the summer crowd by enforcing a Summer Ban.

Are the complaints coming from summer residents or year round residents ? Foil request? Locals matter too!
By toes in the water (839), southampton on Apr 13, 19 7:27 AM
I suppose they could use generators to supply power for the electric blowers which are actually louder.
By tenn tom (234), remsenburg on Apr 13, 19 7:37 AM
1 member liked this comment
I agree toes. We need to stop pandering to part time residents.
By GoldenBoy (341), EastEnd on Apr 13, 19 7:40 AM
1 member liked this comment