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Leaf blowers stirring gripes

City will ask homeowner associations and gardening businesses how ban of resident-resented devices could affect them.

February 10, 2010|By Brianna Bailey

The Newport Beach City Council on Tuesday vowed to keep looking into the feasibility of a citywide ban on leaf blowers in residential areas after hearing complaints from residents about noise and allergens.

“I am absolutely opposed to leaf blowers,” Corona del Mar resident Hunter Cook said at a Tuesday City Council study session on the matter. “There is so much noise on my street at some times of the day that it makes it almost impossible to live.”

The city’s Environmental Quality Affairs Committee took up the leaf blower issue last year after hearing numerous complaints from residents about noisy leaf blowers in their neighborhoods.

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The committee found that the noise generated by most leaf blowers exceeds the city’s 55- to 60-decibel noise limit.

The gasoline-powered leaf blowers also generate high concentrations of exhaust, as well as stir up particles of dust, mold and pesticides, the committee found.

“All of that debris that gets blown around the neighborhoods gets into the gutters and blows into the ocean,” Corona del Mar resident Karen Tringali said.

Laguna Beach has had a complete ban on leaf blowers since 1993. As many as 100 California cities also have enacted partial or total bans on leaf blowers, the committee found.

City officials will send out letters to local homeowners associations and gardening businesses asking how a leaf blower ban would affect them, it was decided Tuesday.

The council also weighed whether to consider a partial ban on leaf blowers by limiting their use to certain hours, or putting noise restrictions on them.

“The easiest thing to do is to ban them altogether, because anything in the middle causes more problems,” said Councilwoman Nancy Gardner, who supports the ban. “Are you going to have someone running around with a meter measuring them or something?”

Councilwoman Leslie Daigle said she had reservations about a leaf blower ban and wanted to see more research on the matter.

“The economic impact needs to be considered and as well as any aesthetic impact,” Daigle said. “I think a lot of residents like a tidy-looking driveway.”


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