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Arlington Town Meeting votes not to reverse leaf blower ban

Posted by Brock Parker  October 10, 2012 11:49 PM

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Arlington Special Town Meeting voted not to overturn a controversial seasonal ban of gas-powered leaf blowers Wednesday and instead voted to establish a committee to study potential changes to the ban.

The meeting voted 110 to 95 against a proposal by Town Meeting Member Stephen Harrington to reverse a bylaw approved by Town Meeting in May that would ban the use of gas-powered leaf blowers on private property between May 15 and Oct. 15 of each year.

At the urging of selectmen who said regulating leaf blowers needs further study, Town Meeting voted Wednesday to establish a committee that will report back to the Annual Town Meeting in the spring with recommendations.

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Candles and flowers were placed beside a leaf blower in front of Town Hall Monday as Town Meeting members arrived to vote on a proposal to reverse Arlington's leaf blower ban. The ban survived the night. Photo by Brock Parker.

Local landscapers have led a spirited campaign against the leaf blower ban and forced a special election to consider reversing the law in July. Although a strong majority of Arlington residents voted to overturn the ban, the opponents to the new law fell 241 votes shy of a state requirement to reverse the May Town Meeting vote.

Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office has not yet decided whether to approve the leaf blower ban.

Also Wednesday, Arlington Town Meeting voted to allocate almost $1 million in funding from the town’s free cash to help fund the elimination of full-day kindergarten fees.

Arlington Schools have done away with the $3,000 fee paid by most parents for full-day kindergarten because by doing so the school officials said state funding for Arlington schools will increase for the 2013-2014 school year.

The state funding increase will more than offset the added cost of full-day kindergarten, but the school department said it does need funding to pay for kindergarten this year.

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