The Redondo Beach City Council took steps on Tuesday to ban gas-powered leaf blowers within the city, citing long-standing noise complaints from residents and effects on air quality.
In a 3-2 vote with Councilmembers Nils Nehrenheim and John Gran dissenting, the council directed City Attorney Mike Webb to amend the city’s noise ordinance to include a prohibition on leaf blowers citywide.
The amended ordinance is expected to come back to the City Council at least twice for approval before it’s enacted. Based on the proposal, violators would be punishable the same as noise citations with the first ticket subject to a $100 fine, the second punishable by $200, and for the third citation within a year, the violator would pay $500.
Bans on gas-powered leaf blowers were passed into law in Manhattan Beach in 2011 and in Hermosa Beach since the early 1990s. Redondo Beach passed its first ordinance in 1986, restricting the blowers use to a certain time period. In 2012, the city further restricted their use so that currently gas-powered leaf blowers are only permitted weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
In voting against the citywide prohibition, Gran cited the estimated $240,000 per year it would cost the city’s public works department in additional maintenance costs. He was in favor, though, of banning them in residential zones.
Public Works Director Ted Semaan told the City Council that if the department switched to brooms and rakes, it would take five times the amount of time to maintain city property. However, a Redondo Beach resident and former employee for the city of Los Angeles, where leaf blowers are banned in residential areas, said those estimates were exaggerated.
In less than two years, gas-powered gardening equipment including leaf blowers, lawn mowers and hedge trimmers will surpass cars as the worst air polluters in California, according to the state’s Air Resources Board, which is considering more rigid statewide restrictions.
While air emission standards have become stricter for cars over the years, that hasn’t been the case for gardening equipment. With more than 16 million estimated little engines roaring away in California each day, that pollution adds up.
In addition, the state Environmental Protection Agency reports that the best-selling commercial leaf blower in just one hour of use emits as much pollution as driving a 2016 Toyota Camry about 1,100 miles.
Source: The Beach Reporter