What? What??? Leaf Blower Ban Proposed In Ritzy Greenwich

Residents Poised To Take On Landscapers In Quest To Become Like Westchester

GREENWICH, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — It’s a sound of summer some people could live without.

We’re talking about leaf blowers, wielded by small armies of landscape workers and homeowners in city suburbs.

The battle is currently being fought in the northern suburbs, reports CBS 2’s Lou Young.

Start the controversy. The summer sound of leaf blowers is under widening attack: an anti-blower Connecticut crusade is underway in Greenwich where meticulously manicured lawns are running afoul sensitive suburban ears.

“Their screech, their whine … they just drive people crazy,” resident Gretchen Biggs said.

The proposal is to ban the blowers during summer months when windows are more apt to be open.

“There’s two types of pollution: the noise and the fumes,” resident Serge Gabriel said.

“Noisy, smelly and annoying,” resident Mary Ann Renwell added.

The summertime blower ban is fairly common on the Westchester County side of the state line, but in Connecticut and Greenwich it’s something completely new.

And not necessarily welcome.

“I think it’s kind of intrusive. I think if someone wants to blow some leaves or grass clippings off to the side and kind of clean up then there’s nothing wrong with that,” said Chris Thatcher of New Canaan.

Blowers, however, have become ubiquitous, a kind of year-round power broom that handles snow in the winter, and all manner of debris in warmer weather. Westchester communities that have a summer ban include Rye, Scarsdale, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, White Plains and Pelham.

Expanding the idea to Greenwich has landscapers worried.

“It’s a tool that you have to have if you want to make money. Speed is money,” landscaper Ron Vitti said.

And raking by hand, they said, is time consuming. Besides, some homeowners like that ultra-manicured look.

“I don’t think it’s intrusive at all. I think it makes for a cleaner and better neighborhood,” Greenwich resident Reed Miller said.

Some of his neighbors would settle for quieter. Young has learned this summer will be history before the blower-ban proposal gets to a vote in Greenwich.

In towns where the blowers are banned, violators usually get a warning before being fined anywhere from $100 to $150 for each violation.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Lou Young
  • William Scott

    The pollution from leaf blowers–both noise and fumes–is highly offensive. Relative to size, their engines leave an enormous carbon footprint. They should be banned.

  • julianpenrod

    They’re not just in ritzy neighborhoods. It would be another dramatic demonstration of the stratification of society in America if Greenwich can get them banned but not othe places. And, in addition to being annoying, they are both mishandled and unnecessary. Their operators stand there blissfully for hours sometimes, shielded by earphones, while others are assaulted. And they are blowing nothing! I’ve taken pictures of workers walking thirty foot driveways blowing at most a thin sheen of dust before them! Then they’d go back and start again! That’s just padding the bill! In winter, they use them if there’s just a thin coating of snow. And always strting at 7:00 in the morning! And, in the end, what the leaf blower is for can all be done just as efficiently with a rake, but much more quietly. Add the weed whackers, hedge trimmers, lawn tractors, mulch that smells like vomit, insecticides and herbicides that seep into the water table and trucks with hourse trailers five feet wider than is legal on a residential street and landscapers make anywhere they work an unwelcome place!

  • David

    I hate them more than anyone on earth. The companies responsible have to be motivated to design a quieter machine.

  • TJ

    Ban Ban Ban Ban Ban. I guess “the land of the free” means nothing anymore.

  • Nathan Rosenthal

    The spanish speaking day laborers I hire to do yard work does not like this.

    • Bill

      There wasn’t a NICER way to word this? You SCHMUCK!!

      • Nathan Rosenthal

        Up yours, butt-munch!

      • nathans brother

        leave my brother alone Bill. your comments are anti semitic!! you pig!

    • David

      In English we match a plural subject with a plural verb. I bet your Spanish speaking day laborers know that.

  • gloria moy

    I wish the Parks Dept in NYC would get rid of the leaf blowers. The noise is horrible. Get rid of the leaf blowers and improve the quality of life.

    • Your neighbor with the clothespin on her nose

      Fine. But what do we do about your ceaseless public flatulence?

  • the suburbs suck


    • steven

      haha i totally agree……..people want their lawns to be as clean as their carpets….it makes no sense and defeats the point of the outdoors…….as long as their lawns are manicured perfect then life is perfect in their suburban bubble of la la land

      • james

        lol bravo guys……….well said up yours suburbanites!

  • GetAGrip

    C’mon people — solve the real problem: Ban trees and grass.

    • Longrod von Hugendong

      I would also like to see a ban on ritzy suburban neighborhoods …

  • Anthony Sciacca

    You neglected to mention that Yonkers has a gas blower ban from June 1 to Sept 30. But, Yonkers is on an austere budget with few enforcement officers. Therefore, the law is useless. I hear landscapers at least on Mondays and Tuesdays. Last Tuesday, three companies were blowing at 9 am, 11 am and 3 pm. Last year, we gave flyers to the workers to show them the ban and the fine, but they continue to blow dust and mold all over the neighborhood. Family members have Asthma! Are there really that many leaves to blow every week in the summer? I do not want to be an enforcement officer, that’s what we pay taxes for.

  • Zymurgist

    Ban them in residential neighborhoods. Use a rake.

  • tkawayjoses blower

    i purchased a million dollar home only to listen to these blowers going all weekend, i go to my inlaws dump of a home and they have peace and quiet, these blowers should be banned, make these people pick up the leaves and bring them to the dump instead of blowing them around from lawn to lawn.

    • Vienna Joe

      If you live where folks can afford million dollar homes, then you can afford to pay your landscaper much higher fees so that he can afford the extra time it will take his crew to hand rake your lawn. BTW, I doubt many rich folks “keep their windows open in the summer”. After all, if you’re a millionaire, surely you can afford central air. It’s amazing what the wealthiest Americans find fault with … just plain out of touch with the real world.

      • james

        since when does owning a home worth 1 million dollars make you rich in the NYC area? he never said he was a “millionaire” he said he has a home worth about that……big difference you blue collar moron

  • Barbara

    I don’t live in a wealthy community, but I totally agree that these blowers are a nuisance. They use one on the house across the street and we can hear the noise through the CLOSED windows. The operator has ear protectors on. Where are mine? What’s wrong with electric or battery operated ones? Ours is almost totally silent and non-polluting. So is a broom. If I were to bring in a commercial landscaper, one detail I would insist on is no gas powered blowers, even if it did cost more.

  • Ted Ball

    these towns that want to ban the blower should be charged 300% more for lawn care because it will cut into the amount of work that can be done . these people are the same ones that move close to airports and then complianthat the air traffic bothers them.. if you work at home good for you but don’t deny a landscaper the oportunity to make a living. the people of greenich need to get their noses out of the air and give regular people a chance to prosper.

    • Bill

      Prove the extra expense, or else STFU.

  • Charles Davey

    Absolutely a good idea. We have a ban here in Tarrytown, and it’s a ban based on good science, for the lawns, which suffer from the blasts of air that damage the roots, for people, who don’t need the particulate matter that is in the air, to the crews themselves who have to wear protective hearing because the machines are so loud. More pressure will result in healthier lawns (why do we need all that grass anyway?) a cleaner and healthier environment, and let’s put pressure on the manufacturers to come up with quieter machines to help the beleaguered crews too! There are many landscapers now who are advocates for the ban. Nothing wrong with rakes or leaving the grass on the lawns.

  • SR

    These people complaining are the same people that talk on cell phones, while driving their Land Rovers, after their mani & pedi and then yell at the lawn guys when they get home!!!! Really ladies! Get a job! I live in Saddle River, NJ, just or more affluent, as Greenwitch!!! Complain about things that matter!

  • NYC Girl

    They should be banned from operating across the street from a city school during school hours. It’s unbearably hot in the classroom when we have to keep windows closed in Sept and May/June when the blowers start up… between the loud noise pollution and the pollen/dirt they kick up in the air, my students and I are at their mercy. Many students and teachers already have allergies or asthma and these leaf blowers just make the matter worse. Try teaching a class of 28 8-year olds with that racket going on across the street. Simply impossible. It was even worse when a construction crew tore up the street on our corner on the first day of school… we were forced to shout over the noise for four hours in our classrooms. I applaud those in Greenwich trying to take back their streets and quality of life.

  • ms_mousetrap

    I love! Whine, whine, whine. Just stay there and stay the hell out of Mississippi.

  • Neil Mooney

    Life must be GOOOOD in Greenwich if that’s they’re biggest problem! Of course they’ll have to ban weed-whackers, edgers and lawn mowers as well. We can’t discriminate against power tools!

  • cecelia

    I think leaf blowers should be banned. The noise they make is awful. Plus my neighbors across the street blow everything to my side of the street then the neighbor on the right of me blows it back across the street. It’s a joke. They should rake the the leaves up and bag them. God forbid, a quick job is easy money. I am from the poor side of Stamford. Has nothing to do with how much money you have.

    • Laborer

      Of course, for leaves, stone age tools are best. For grass clippings, see my post below.

  • Toni

    People, GET a life! In this part of the country we do not have many month’s that we are able to landscape or do our job’s! I do agree that maybe 8:00 am should be the earliest time as to give people some sleep.

  • Clemdane

    The leaf blowers outside my condo sometimes start up outside my window at 7:00am. I have asked the HOA to ask them to wait till at least 8:00 if not 9:00 and they say they will tell the landscaping company, but it keeps happening.

  • Laborer

    I work for Clean Air Lawn Care. We operate our fleets using solar power mounted on our trucks. The only viable option should this ban take effect, is to spend about 1000 on a few Ryobi lithium ion blowers and a portable charging unit. The larger lithium batteries available for these blowers are the only way to go. Ryobi may consider bulk discounts for commercial companies. Don’t believe the reviews for Ryobi blowers, they are packaged with one smaller battery which sufficed to say doesn’t nearly have the run time of the larger batteries. When equipped with the larger batteries (x2 blowers) you can easily blow 3 maybe 4 middle sized properties. Without solar charging when in the field, perhaps the only way landscapers can adapt to this ban is to plug in charging unit at customers home if they agree. This can allow cycle charging to occur between jobs. Ryobi charging stations plug into any outlet and can hold up to 8 large batteries. It sucks, and will be a chunk of change, but it beats a broom and options are limited. Mind you, I am not plugging the company I work for or Ryobi, but I understand the dilemma.

  • Annette

    Those things wreak havoc on my allergies and asthma. I hope they ban them in my town. I cannot walk outside in the daytime because of them.

  • Rattled

    Some people work at home and the noise is inescapable when they crank up.

  • robert carozza

    it is absolutely ridiculous! where is the tolerance people?!
    as long as it is being done within the proper working hours there is no problem with it.
    i am a home improvement contractor and enjoy peace and quiet at home after a long work day and it annoys me when someone feels the need to cut their grass at 8 o’clock at night!
    mandate the hours when any noise can take place, leaf blowers lawnmowers construction etc, lets say 8am to 5pm thats it but don’t ban them, people need to make a living cmon know.

    • Charles Davey

      Don’t forget that many people are at home in the day. Those of us who work from home, retired people, students in the school holidays – and this is the time when the ban is in effect, for the most part.
      There is no good reason to use leaf blowers in the summer months. And those of us who are working on this issue are also looking at on-site mulching for the fall leaves, which will reduce the amount of time blowers are needed greatly.

    • d.

      and it can’t be limited 8-5, as we are working and not home during those hours. And I can’t afford landscapers! I personally don’t own a leaf blower (rakes only!!!), but must admit I occasionally mow my lawn after I get home at 7 or 8 at night.

    • Disturbed

      Some people work at home and the noise is inescapable when they crank up.

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