Councilman Looks to 'Control Leaf Blower Noise'

Stefan Armington wants to work with commercial gardeners and landscapers to regulate the use of leaf blowers in mornings and over weekends.

Morristown Councilman Stefan Armington and Councilwoman Rebecca Feldman have agreed to look at a reasonable set of policies to regulate noise from leaf blowers.

"Leaf blowers ... are disturbing to residents who live nearby," Armington said, and he asked if anyone on the council or in the administration wanted to help "develop regulations to better manage them."

Armington said he wanted to regulate the use of high capacity leaf blowers, which are typically used as a backpack unit with a hose. These are mostly in use by commercial landscapers, but the noise can be deafening.

Morristown does have a noise ordinance, but it does not specifically speak to leaf blowers or to particular decibel levels.

"I have no interest in banning leaf blowers by any means," Armington said, only to "better control leaf blower noise."

Feldman offered to work with him. "It's been a longstanding issue," she said, and one that will become more important as the newly formed Shade Tree Commission works to "rebuild the urban canopy."

Armington said he knows of landscapers and leaf blower manufacturers who have created best practices recommendations for interacting with suburban communities, and he intends to reach out to them and to individual businesses who service the area.

Go Motown February 20, 2013 at 12:20 PM
And next it will be the size of a soda.
Motown Resident February 20, 2013 at 12:47 PM
Rules rules rules.............................more government intervention. If there is a lawn mower ordinance just tie it into that and move on ....................oh wait, then you wouldn't have an exploratory committee or the press.
Rich February 20, 2013 at 01:06 PM
Different issues, Go Motown. I don't care how much soda you drink, if it affects me it is very indirectly. I do care if your landscaper wakes me up at 7:00 a.m. on the one day of the week when I can sleep late.
BiggDogg February 20, 2013 at 01:32 PM
it's only the dumb commercial landscapers that piss the people off early in the morning. I think the schools and residents that hire the landscapers should pay a fine if it's too early in the morning. I know in my neighborhood, the homeowners don't dare use power equipment before 9am or later on the weekends out of showing respect... "High Capacity leaf blowers"? give me a friggin break. I bet whatever gets passed, the official buildings and schools will be exempt from this rule, just like everything else in the State and Country
Chris Jansen February 20, 2013 at 02:13 PM
I would like them banned completely. They are extremely noisy and extremely polluting. They pollute the air. A single gas-powered leaf blower can emit as much pollution in a year as 80 cars. They're noisy. A normal decibel level, considered acceptable in residential areas, is about 60 decibels (60dB). Every increase in decibels means noise that is 10 times louder. Leaf-blowers usually generate about 70-75 dB. According to the U.S. EPA this level of noise actually degrades quality of life by interfering with communication and sleep, leads to reduced accuracy of work and increased levels of aggravation, which can linger hours after exposure. They worsen allergies and asthma and irritate the lungs. Because they operate at such high velocities, leaf blowers stir up the mold, allergens, and dust particles that otherwise have been tamped down with rain and decomposition.
Go Motown February 20, 2013 at 03:21 PM
As Motown Res said. Change the ordinance to include leaf blowers so Rich can sleep in. Thanks Chris for your input. I didn't know that today was, "Make up facts Day"
Michael February 20, 2013 at 03:53 PM
I agree with this, my neighbors have landscapers come about every other Saturday starting in the spring, most of the time at 7:30am. I know it may seem frivolous to some, like Go Motown, but I get up every day at 7, I don't think it's crazy to ask to sleep in a bit on the weekend. I think 9am is reasonable
Seth Bershadsky February 20, 2013 at 04:01 PM
Thank goodness this is Morristown and not Morris Township. There are many more things to concern one’s self with then the noise of a leaf-blower. When we have a blizzard, do you also complain when these hard working people are out all night keeping your driveways clear?? This is ridiculous for elected officials to be wasting time and money on such petty issues.
Michael February 20, 2013 at 04:11 PM
Seems like a rather flimsy argument since snow removal is a time sensitive issue. I've never hear of any schools or businesses not being able to open due to an abundance of leaves in the area....
Rich February 20, 2013 at 04:45 PM
Took the words right out of my mouth, Michael. This is neither a giant soda nor a blizzard. Those ridiculous analogies undercut, rather than support the arguments of the people who make them. This is a cosmetic property issue, and it can easily be done at reasonable times so that everyone's interests are served.
Go Motown February 20, 2013 at 05:29 PM
But keep in mind that these landscapers have other jobs to do as well, so to them it is time sensitive. Do I think they should be firing up their equipment at 7am? Hell no! But I do see 9am as more then a reasonable time. I personally would never start my lawnmower before 930am.
Carole February 20, 2013 at 05:42 PM
Rakes...use rakes! Hate these damn noise and air polluters. They travel in packs....reminds me of Ghost-busters. We are near some commercial properties who use these things constantly. Our own apartment complex uses them (contracted landscapers) to move one leaf at a time, on some occasions. They have been known to use the damn things even when there is nothing on the ground "to blow" because they have been contracted to do so. Perhaps there should be better communication between the owner/supervisor and the folks who are assigned to use these damn things. I guess you can tell I am not a fan of leaf blowers. Oh....they now use them for "snow removal", too.....ridiculous. Shovels....shovels, rakes! Bring back the quieter times. California areas do have bans on these things. I'm with "them".
Tryclyde February 20, 2013 at 05:43 PM
If they replaced "Leaf Blower Noise" in the title to "Illegal, loitering immigrants" I'd be all for it.
The Mud Lady February 20, 2013 at 06:20 PM
If you have a lot of trees and/or a decent amount of property, it can take two days to rake up all the leaves.
Seth Bershadsky February 20, 2013 at 06:24 PM
The carbon footprint of a leaf-blower is miniscule compared to the amount typical oil burning home heating systems or a car emits. That being said, what is the current requirement on the books for contractors to start working in Morristown? Rather than being snooty, isn’t it best to reach a compromise so as not to interfere with ‘quiet’ time and maximizing productivity of the landscapers?
The Mud Lady February 20, 2013 at 06:29 PM
80 cars? Is that if you use a leaf blower for hours every day for 365 days a year??
K.W. February 20, 2013 at 06:53 PM
Armington, a very large percentage of YOUR WARD (3rd Ward, Speedwell Ave area) make their money in the landscaping business. I find it very disturbing that you are trying to hinder their business. You are representing yourself, not your people. If you want to be on the council much longer you better move to another ward.
Mary Martinez February 20, 2013 at 09:58 PM
This is outrageous. Does Armington know that the town workers use backpacks to clean the streets around the green?? And other parts of the town?? Why would an elected councilman want to change things in the town that he lives and enjoys? He probably has people cleaning his lawn that use the same devices. I think there are other issues in town that need focusing, for example bullying in the schools and in public places.
Jack Cutler February 20, 2013 at 11:20 PM
Not a bad initiative, but certainly not the most important issue. I would much rather congratulate the property owners for their landscaping and property upkeep regardless of the time and spend the time dealing with the illegal immigrants that are ruining Armington`s neighborhood with stacking and ruining old home by slicing them up into illegal boarding mg houses. While he is at it, he could tackle the traffic problems on Speedwell Avenue caused by the makeshift crosswalks put up because the illegal immigrants apparently can't walk to the closest corner to cross the street. Glad you care Armington, but not the wisest use of your time.
Roseann Loia February 21, 2013 at 11:55 AM
Town government efforts well spent on one of the more crucial issues in town!
margret brady February 21, 2013 at 10:05 PM
Besides noise and sleep disturbance, there is potential hearing loss. The workers blowing those leaves that somehow wind up in my yard all wear sound blocking gear. The professionals business men who hire them don't want their clients and workers disturbed, so they have their yard work done on the weekends and early in the morning. They also put down a lot of chemicals to try and make their grass grow back but its the blowers blowing away all the top soil that causes their problems. I have the greenest grass in the neighborhood as a result of their efforts and the allergic reactions to prove it..
Kathryn March 22, 2013 at 06:24 PM
Montclair has a "ban" on leaf blowers in July and August but there is absolutely zero enforcement. So, beware--you can make the rules, but most landscapers don't care one bit about them. I have complained to landscapers working on my block that there is an ordinance against leaf blowers, but they just show up again the next week.


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