Residents have complained that Huntington Town’s gas-powered leaf blowers cause noise and odor disturbances. Huntington Town has now taken steps to restrict their use.
Updated town code now bans the use of the devices any time on Saturdays between Memorial Day and Labor Day — for both residential and commercial uses. Town code chapters dealing with noise and landscapers will apply to violators. Gas leaf blower use was previously allowed all year round on Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The updated law prohibits commercial landscapers using gas leaf blowers on residential properties on Saturdays or Sundays. This was previously only allowed on Sundays or holidays.
These restrictions do NOT apply to battery-powered leaf blowers. The town board met on Oct. 13 to approve the changes.
Joan Cergol, a Town Board member, said that she heard from many residents who were convalescing at their homes during the pandemic. “highly unpleasant noise and odor disturbances”Gas-powered blowers are used to create these effects.
“Every small step matters in moving toward a cleaner, greener and quieter Huntington,”Cergol spoke Thursday. “Migration to battery-powered vehicles and tools across a wide spectrum of industries has not hurt anyone yet.”
Ed Smyth (Deputy Supervisor) co-sponsored the resolution updating the town code together with Cergol. He said that most of the landscapers were open for the changes.
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“It’s a reasonable compromise,”Smyth said. “The dates coincide with when leaves are actually on the ground.”
A first offense will result not less than $250, but not more than $500, according to the town code. A second offense in the same 3-year period will result not less than $500, but not more than $1,000.
A third or subsequent offense within the 5-year period can result in a minimum $1,000 fine and maximum $5,000 penalties, or imprisonment not exceeding 15 days or both.
Mark McAteer of Huntington-based-The Laurel Group, a landscaper and landscaping business, stated that everyone should be able to adapt by moving away from gas powered leaf blowers.
“If the productivity were better we would all switch in one second but the productivity is not as good, it [battery-powered blower] costs more in labor because it’s [battery-powered] slower and less powerful; that means higher labor costs and if we’re going to spend more on labor ultimately the homeowner will absorb those costs.”
Deborah Morris, a native Long Islander, covers Huntington.