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Hearing set on proposals to soften Arlington's leaf blower ban

Posted by Brock Parker  January 3, 2013 10:59 AM

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Arlington will hold a hearing this month on proposals that would amend the town’s controversial ban on gas-powered leaf blowers to allow residential use of the devices and place restrictions on commercial use.

A committee established by Town Meeting in the fall to study and recommend changes to the ban will hold the hearing in Town Hall on Jan. 14 at 7 p.m.

Selectwoman Diane Mahon, who is chairing the committee, said the preliminary proposal would allow residents to use leaf blowers, but would place restrictions on the town and commercial business use of gas-powered leaf blowers. The town and commercial businesses could only use the leaf blowers from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

Town Meeting voted in May of 2012 to ban the use of leaf blowers on private property from May 15 to Oct. 15 of each year. Opposition to the ban led to a special town election in which a strong majority of people cast votes to overturn the bylaw in July, but opponents fell just shy of the number of votes needed to overturn Town Meeting’s decision.

The committee is also discussing proposals to limit how long leaf blowers can be used at one time, and how much noise the devices can create.

After taking input from the public, Mahon said the committee will report to the Board of Selectmen, which will make the final recommendations to Town Meeting for a vote in the spring.

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