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Fairfax Takes First Step Toward Leaf Blower Restrictions

How do you think the town should restrict leaf blowers? Ban them? Or limit the hours they are permitted? Tell us in the comments!

Fairfax Takes First Step Toward Leaf Blower Restrictions Fairfax Takes First Step Toward Leaf Blower Restrictions Fairfax Takes First Step Toward Leaf Blower Restrictions

 

It’s now up to the Fairfax Planning Commission to decide how the town should regulate leaf blowers.

The Fairfax Town Council unanimously agreed last week to move forward with a leaf blower ordinance, but left the guidelines open. For example, the ordinance could just ban gas leaf blowers or restrict other power equipment.

Fairfax resident Douglas Green delivered a petition of more than 42 hand-written pages with more than 1,000 signatures to the council in October 2012.

He told Patch his main opposition to the leaf blowers is the pollution they cause by kicking up dust and other materials.

“It’s horrendous for those with asthmatics,” he told the council at its Jan. 10 meeting. Green has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a kind of lung disease. 

Green, who lives in the Bennett House and uses a wheelchair, decided to do something about leaf blowers after a maintenance worker blew a leaf blower right at Green when he was rushing to his car to roll up his windows before dust was blown inside.

He also has an issue with how noisy the leaf blowers are, he said. He hears them regularly on Wednesday mornings at the Bennett House, a low-income apartment building for seniors. 

All of the council members appeared supportive of some sort of restriction when the topic was discussed at a Dec. 5 council meeting.

Last week, the council was similarly varying in opinion about the structure of the ordinance.

Councilman Larry Bragman said the town might need to be more creative. “Noise disturbance has become a hot-button issue,” he said, pointing to recent neighbor noise disputes involving the Bolinas Road 7-Eleven or neighbors unhappy with noise early-morning delivery trucks at Good Earth. “We do have a noise ordinance. Maybe we should really be looking at revising the noise ordinance.”

Mayor John Reed added that part of the issue is civility. “Being conscious of each other in the community is important. You can’t really pass an ordinance saying that.” 

In December, the council members discussed elements they liked in the  town of Ross’s ordinance, which restricts unnecessary noise and limits the use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers to the hours of 9 a.m. through 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

In San Anselmo, someone can only use a motorized leaf blower from 1 to 4 p.m. on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays for no longer than thirty minutes at a time per property.

Other Marin towns with leaf blower regulations include Mill Valley, Tiburon, Belvedere and San Rafael. 

Supervisor Katie Rice has told the Marin Independent Journal that she is considering an ordinance at the county level. 

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