It was hard to tell which reached a higher decibel level, the leaf blowers, or the angry voices protesting a proposed ban on them. A recent meeting of the Hamptons (New York) Planning Board almost erupted in violence as landscape company owners reacted to a new proposal to ban gas-powered leaf blowers during the summer months, according to a story published on the Dan’s Papers website.
The landscapers accused board members of trying to put them out of business and shouted them down as they attempted to explain the reasons behind the policy.
Things got so bad that the Hamptons Police Department was called in to preserve order.
“You complain about the noise,” shouted one landscaper, according to the story’s writer, who described this person as “evidently quite hard of hearing.” “But there’s literally no other way to remove the leaves and debris.”
Another landscaper, described as having ears encumbered by large hearing aids, loudly denied that gas-powered leaf blowers are disruptive to quiet neighborhoods. “What could be more pleasant than the gentle thrum of the leaf blower at 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning?” he reportedly asked. “I’m standing right next to it, and it practically puts me to sleep!”
A third landscaper communicated his thoughts through a sign-language interpreter. “The dried leaves are rich in nitrogen,” he pointed out, according to the story. “It’s a very important nutrient for the health of garden beds. Therefore, it’s vitally important that all of the leaves be removed from garden beds (sic) so that they can be used as fertilizer on garden beds, and gas-powered leaf blowers are the most efficient way to do this.”
The story states that the Planning Board appeared to be unmoved by these protestations, and the protest broke up without incident. A final decision regarding the proposed leaf blower ban is expected soon.