By the Bronxville Green Committee
Sept. 22, 2021: Revised Ordinance: At the September 13, 2021, public meeting held in Village Hall, Bronxville’s Trustees approved a new, more restrictive ordinance regarding gas-powered leaf blowers. This new ordinance will ban gas-powered leaf blowers eight months of the year. They will be allowed from March 15 until May 15 and from October 15 until December 15. The ban can be temporarily revoked during extreme weather events. The new law will take effect on December 15th.
As a result, gas-powered leaf blowers will only be permitted during the more difficult Spring and Fall clean-up seasons. When they are allowed, they may operate from Monday through Saturday 8AM until 6PM. They will be prohibited on Sunday. Electric-powered leaf blowers will be permitted all year. This amendment will align Bronxville with dozens of other Westchester communities that have extended restrictions on gas-powered blowers or, in rare instances, banned them altogether.
Background: Since early 2020 grievances about gas-powered leaf blowers have been the number one resident complaint to Village Hall. Concerns include noise pollution, lower quality of life, and negative impacts on our health and environment.
At the request of Mayor Marvin and the Village Trustees, the Bronxville Green Committee spent numerous months evaluating this issue and proposing solutions that protect our health and environment while understanding residents’ desire to manage their personal property as they see fit.
Enforcement: Since Bronxville requires all landscapers to register with the Village and each must display a registration number on their vehicles, residents should feel free to report a violation without directly confronting the worker, who might not be aware of the law and may take orders from an off-site manager. Photos of the violation and the registration sticker sent to Village Hall will prompt a letter of warning from the Village Administrator's office, followed by a possible revocation of their landscaper’s license and/or the issuance of an appearance ticket if the violation continues. By avoiding direct confrontations or involving the police, residents are encouraged to report violations. The Village and Green Committee websites will post procedures for reporting violations. In the new ordinance, both homeowners and landscapers will be held responsible for violations.
Electric-powered leaf blowers are a better option: Electric-powered leaf blowers are quieter and far safer for people and our environment. If they are charged with electricity generated by wind or solar, they have zero net emissions.
However, electric-powered leaf blowers are not perfect. They may not be powerful enough during times of heaviest leaf fall. They still kick up particles in the soil that can be harmful to breathe in. And by denuding the ground under your plants, like gas-powered blowers they rob pollinators and other beneficial insects of places to hibernate over the winter, essentially destroying their habitat. The best solution is to rake and mulch your leaves whenever possible.
The Bronxville Green Committee is a volunteer organization that is part of the Village of Bronxville. We work to propose and implement environmentally sustainable programs in our community. Visit our website to learn more about this issue, other healthy yard practices, and local programs that promote sustainability. Please consider joining our efforts!
The Bronxville Green Committee is a volunteer organization under Village government. We work with the Trustees and Village staff on programs that promote clean energy initiatives and sustainable ways of living. Our programs include The Bronxville Giving Garden, a community garden whose produce is donated to local groups; Take Back Day, when we collect items to be recycled; and Pollinator Pathways, which encourages adding native plants to our gardens. We believe everyone can make a difference by adopting simple, sustainable practices in daily life so we can work together to protect what we love -- our families, our homes and our town.