Regulate Leaf Blowers in Sebastopol
I support the work of the Sebastopol Peaceful Air Effort and the Sebastopol City Council to create and implement a city ordinance to effectively restrict the use of leaf blowers in order to prevent hazardous air and noise pollution.
SPARE's Compromise Solution
for a Sebastopol Leaf Blower Ordinance
After much debate, members of the Sebastopol Peaceful Air Effort (SPARE) propose that our City Council use this compromise solution as the basis for a local ordinance regulating leaf blowers. We believe that an ordinance based on this compromise will reduce leaf blower usage in our city by more than 90% while preserving the ability of individuals to use leaf blowers for their own homes.
City Use of Leaf Blowers
The City of Sebastopol will lead by example in curtailing its use of leaf blowers for walkways and hardscape by replacing gas-powered leaf blowers with leaf vacuums, push sweepers (like those by Haaga), and rakes and brooms whenever possible. The city will make a special effort to do this for city properties containing playgrounds and schools.
Private Individual Use of Leaf Blowers
Homeowners are encouraged (but not required) to use electric leaf blowers rather than gas-powered ones. They may not use gas-powered leaf blowers that are more than ten years old. They are free to use their personal leaf blowers on their own property from Monday through Saturday, except legal holidays, between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm.
Professional Landscaper Use of Leaf Blowers
The weekly blowing of hardscape (cement or asphalt) parking lots and walkways with leaf blowers is responsible for a majority of blower air and noise pollution in Sebastopol. Therefore, professional landscapers who work in Sebastopol on retail, commercial, or multi-unit residential properties will be required to transition to leaf vacuums, push sweepers, or rakes and brooms within the next six months.
Neighbor Request System
Professional landscapers who work for private single family homes will be required to respond to a new “Neighbor Request” system. (Professional landscapers will be defined as anyone paid to use a leaf blower in the City of Sebastopol). If a neighbor is bothered by a landscaper’s use of leaf blowers, he or she may request of the homeowner who hires that landscaper that the blowing take place during the same scheduled two-hour period on the same day each week and that he or she be notified of when this time will be, in advance. In this way, a bothered neighbor will be able to schedule his or her time – business appointments, naps, phone calls, and time outdoors – around the scheduled leaf blowing. In the absence of a neighbor request, professional landscapers will be able to schedule their work for private homes anytime during permitted usage hours (Monday to Saturday 10-4 pm, excluding holidays).
The Sebastopol Peaceful Air Effort was initiated by Shepherd Bliss and Jonathan Greenberg to respond to the toxic, disruptive impact that the unregulated use of leaf blowers is having on our community. There is overwhelming evidence, some of it presented on this website, that leaf blowers are the most unnecessary, easy-to-avoid polluters in our lives. It is time to stop this insane imposition on our health.
A century ago, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes ruled that “the right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins.” The other citizen’s nose, as well as our eardrums, and our lungs, are what we are seeking to protect when we urge our local elected officials to enact the an effective ban on leaf blowers in Sebastopol.