The critics of noisy leaf blowers on Hilton Head Island have scored a victory in their long-running campaign to eliminate — or at least mitigate — the loudest of the gas-powered equipment in Sea Pines.
The board of directors for Sea Pines’ Community Services Associates voted last month to approve a new policyThis ban will apply to landscaping companies that use commercial grade leaf blower equipment above 75 dBA (A weighted decibels) when they are in a gated community.
The island-wide ban on landscaping maintenance that creates noise is already in place by the town government Greater than 95 dBAAt the property line where such work is taking place.
The Sea Pines insurance will take effect January 1, 2023. “any individual or entity engaged in landscape maintenance or cleanup or removal for hire.”
There are some exceptions to this policy, such as for maintenance on golf course and cleanup at residential properties after a major storm.
The policy does not prohibit the use of gas-powered leaf-blowers. These have been a problem in Sea Pines, a picturesque south-end community, for decades.
“We … recognize that many communities are now banning gas leaf blowers as being environmentally unfriendly,”Larry Movshin (chair of the CSA board) spoke at a Nov. 16 meeting. “We’re not prepared to do that yet. We haven’t studied the issue enough to know what the impacts will be on leaf blowers used in our community. But that should also be a goal.
“I understand there will be … people in the community who think we failed. I ask them to (not look) at the glass as being half empty, but as being half full, with the goal of filling it up over the next several years with an even tighter standard.”
The board hopes to eventually limit the use of leaf blowers that are commercial grade. “manufacturers’ ratings over 65 dBA,”The quieter equipment will become more widely accessible.
Board members approved a resolution saying “CSA desires to further reduce the environmental effects of all leaf blowers used in the Sea Pines community, as soon as possible, but no later than the end of calendar year 2025.”
According to Beaufort Gazette reports, the battle against leaf-blowers in Sea Pines has been ongoing for many years.
Mary Carol White, as an example. The issue was raised at a meeting in Sea Pines, according to the newspapers.
Gene Henry, from Atlanta, also complained about the noise in his 2015 letter to the editor.
“I think Sea Pines should put a leaf blower logo on its website as part of its brand,”Henry wrote. “These things need to be banned immediately.”
Sam Ogozalek works as a reporter for The Island Packet and covers COVID-19 rehabilitation efforts. He is also a Report for America member. He recently graduated Syracuse University and has been writing for the Tampa Bay Times as well as The Buffalo News and The Naples Daily News.