Maplewood Township’s pilot program to ban commercial leaf blowing will begin Wednesday, June 1 and run through August 31, 2016.
The resolution bans the use of all commercial leaf blowers, both gas and electric, on public or private property. (Residential use of leaf blowers is not affected by the resolution.) At the end of the pilot, the township will evaluate the program and discuss whether to institute it again going forward.
The Township Committee passed the resolution after a lengthy hearing on May 17 during which many residents spoke out in favor of the ban, saying the blowers ruined quality of life in the town and posed a health hazard, blowing allergens and dust. Meanwhile, landscapers and representatives of landscaping companies complained the ban would unfairly target them and make it more difficult to run their businesses.
Deputy Mayor Nancy Adams, who initiated the resolution, said in a press release Tuesday that commercial landscapers doing business in Maplewood defied many of their own industry standards by, among other things, using more than one blower at a time on a property, blowing debris into roadways and neighboring lawns, operating blowers within 10 feet of doors and windows, and “most importantly, the use of leaf blowers at full throttle instead of the recommended low or medium throttle to control direction of debris.”
See the attached document from the National Association of Landscape Professionals, the commercial landscaper’s national organization.
“The constant din of the landscaping equipment, particularly the use of multiple pieces of equipment and multiple leaf blowers is obtrusive to residents who have and are entitled to a reasonable expectation of some peace and quiet in their neighborhoods,” said Adams in the release. “The use of blowers during the summer months is not for leaves, but to clean off sidewalks of cut grass and other debris; a task that could easily be accomplished with a push broom.”
The blowers blow off top soil, feces, dirt, allergens, dust and grass into the air and into the street, the latter of which violates the township’s current ordinance and is “widely ignored by the landscape companies,” Adams said. In addition, it is more costly to the town to clear out debris blown into the streets and clear out catch basins and storm sewers.
Residents who notice commercial operation of leaf blowers during the pilot period may report it to the Building Department at 973-762-8120 or, on the township website.
For more information on the pilot program, contact Adams at Nadams@twp.maplewood.nj.us.