Veteran readers may have recognized our past truculence when it comes to the widespread and unceasing use of Satan’s Whistle in the 24/680 – known to the evil scientists who created them as: The Leaf Blower.
Past efforts to lessen the impact of the whiny, fume-spewing monsters have been mocked or gone unnoticed by public officials apparently intent on keeping the legions of cheap “landscaping” crews in these parts in business.
Responses to past complaints have included: “Just don’t listen to them… pretend it’s the ocean,” “get triple paned windows,” or – our favorite – “Why don’t you move?”
We acted on that last suggestion and managed to escape the Devil’s Whirrr for the most part in recent years, but as we are early risers and prone to outdoor activities we cannot help but notice the Leaf Blower “Arms Race” is ratcheting up with earlier (4 a.m. to 5 a.m.) start times and no armistice granted on Holidays or what we had hoped would be blessedly noise and stress-free weekends.
You may be familiar with an earlier attempt by some neighbors (mentioned in the accompanying video) to reduce the noise level created by excessive blowing in Orinda (it failed). And now, according to a Change.Org petition, a group in Walnut Creek is seeking to ban gas leaf blowers. The group calls itself Walnut Creek Calm.
Gas leaf blowers have been banned in 25 California cities for their excessive noise, horrendous pollution and terrible health impacts to the community and the workers who operate them. Walnut Creek prides itself as a sustainable, livable community, yet we continue to allow the use of this dangerous equipment in our schools, public spaces and neighborhoods.
We are petitioning the City Council to follow 25 other California cities and ban the operation of gas powered leaf blowers in our community to improve our health, our air and our quality of life.
According to NPC Quietnet, here is a list of cities with an ordinance, although they do note their list may not be up to date.
|Belvedere (1987)||It shall be unlawful for any person within the city limits to operate any portable machine powered with a gasoline engine used to blow leaves, dirt and other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns or other surfaces.|
|Berkeley (1991)||…it shall be unlawful for any person, including any city employee, to operate any portable machine powered with a gasoline engine used to blow leaves, dirt, and other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns, or other surfaces within the City limits.|
|Beverly Hills (1976)||It shall be unlawful for any person within the City to use or operate any portable machine powered with a gasoline engine used to blow leaves, dirt, and other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns, or other surfaces.|
|Carmel (1975)||The operation of a combustion engine blower for the purpose of displacing, removing or blowing any materials from or about public or private property in a manner which allows the engine to be heard on public property and causes the materials to be blown into the air in a manner which allows them to settle on public property or on private property not belonging to the same owner on which the blower is being operated is declared to be a public nuisance and unlawful.|
|Claremont (1991)||…Whereas, the city council finds the operation of gasoline powered leaf blower use results in dust, engine emissions, and noise pollution…Whereas, the city council finds that gasoline powered leaf blowers exceed the noise standards as set forth in Chapter 5 of the Land Use and Development Code…Whereas, the Air Quality Management District (AQMD) in its twenty year Clean Air Plan recommends a ban on gasoline powered blowers…Now, therefore, the city council does ordain…Internal combustion engine (gasoline) powered leaf blowers shall be prohibited in the city after March 1, 1991…Use of any type of leaf blower on any city owned or maintained property is prohibited…|
|Del Mar (total ban)||It shall be unlawful for any person to use or operate within the City, any portable machine, powered with a gasoline engine or electric motor, to blow leaves, dirt and other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns, and other surfaces.|
|Hermosa Beach (total ban)||It is unlawful to use within the city limits or cause to be used electrical or gasoline powered backpack/leafblowers, such as commonly used by gardeners, landscapers and other persons.|
|Indian Wells (1990)||Leaf blowers shall be prohibited in all zones within the City except : (i) individual property occupants may operate a single electrically powered leaf blower with use confined to his/her property; (ii) golf course operators may operate gasoline powered leaf blowers during the months of September 15th through December 1st of each year.|
|Lawndale (1997)||(not yet obtained)|
|Laguna Beach (total ban – 1993)||The use of electrical or gasoline powered blowers, such as commonly used by gardeners and other persons for cleaning lawns, yards, driveways, gutters, and other property is prohibited at any time within the city limits.|
|Los Altos (1991)||…it shall be unlawful for any person within the City to use or operate any portable machine powered with a gasoline engine used to blow leaves, dirt, and other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns, landscape areas or other surface.|
|Los Angeles (1998)||(to be provided later)|
|Malibu||…the following acts and the causing or permitting thereof, are declared to be in violation of this Chapter:…Leaf Blowers. The use or operation of any portable machine powered with a combustion or gasoline engine used to blow leaves, dirt and other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns and other surfaces.|
|Menlo Park (1998)||To be provided|
|Mill Valley (1993)||It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a gas-powered device to blow leaves, dirt or other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns or other surfaces within any area of the City.|
|Piedmont (1990)||It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a gasoline-powered device used to blow leaves, dirt or other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns or other surfaces within any area of the City except that gasoline-powered leaf blowers may be used by public agencies on publicly-owned or operated facilities.|
|Santa Barbara (1997)||It shall be unlawful for any person within the City to use or operate any portable machine powered with a gasoline engine, or gasoline powered generator, to blow leaves, dirt, and other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns, or other surfaces.|
|Santa Monica (total ban)||No person shall operate any motorized leafblower within the City.|
|West Hollywood (1986)||The purpose of this Ordinance is to prohibit the use and operation of gasoline powered leaf blowers in the City of West Hollywood. These devices, used to blow leaves, dirt and debris, create an excessive and unusual amount of noise, often operating at up to ninety decibels. The sustained operation of leaf blowers at this decibel level is literally deafening to persons who reside and work within earshot of the many gardeners and property owners who utilize the devices. The sound is extremely annoying and distracting and not only causes disturbance of those in the vicinity of users of leaf blowers but has the potential to cause hearing damage. In addition, leaf blowers tend to blow dirt, dust and other particulate matter in the air, thereby reducing the air quality in West Hollywood, aggravating persons with allergies and asthmatic conditions and depositing such debris on other public and private property. There are many alternate methods of disposing of leaves available to gardeners and property owners, including electric blowers, rakes, brooms, vacuums and water. The use of gasoline powered blowers is hereby declared to constitute a public nuisance by virtue of the detrimental effect such blowers have on the community and residents of West Hollywood.|