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Hempstead wants to ban early morning use of leaf blowers

Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino announced a plan Friday, May 26, 2017, to limit noisy leaf blower use on weekends and to crack down on residents and landscapers who blow grass and debris into the roadways. (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

Hempstead Town officials will vote next month on increasing penalties covering the use of leaf blowers and lawn mowers early in the morning as well as residents and landscapers who blow debris into the street.

Town Supervisor Anthony Santino said the board would vote on the new regulations at the town’s June 20 meeting.

Town board members will vote to change the time when residents and landscapers can start using yard equipment, from 7 to 8 a.m. on weekends. Yardwork would still be allowed to start at 7 a.m. on weekdays.

Santino made the announcement Friday in front of a Roosevelt resident’s home as he demonstrated a leaf blower while wearing earplugs.

“There’s nothing more annoying than waking up early in the morning and being disturbed by loud leaf blowers and lawn mowers,” Santino said. “Part of the benefit of the peaceful suburban life is to escape from the racket from the city that never sleeps.”

Santino said the town cannot legally ban landscaping work on certain days.

Town board members will also vote on increased penalties for those doing yardwork who blow yard clippings and debris onto a neighboring property or into the street. Santino said the yard clippings can clog storm drains and make streets dangerously slick.

Santino said town code enforcement officers will begin “aggressively issuing summonses” this spring for residents or landscapers not cleaning up yard clippings.

If approved, penalties for noise violations and debris would range from $500 for a first offense to $1,500 for a third offense.

Town officials said they see an increase in noise complaints around Memorial Day.

Santino’s Democratic challenger for supervisor, Laura Gillen, said the town board should address quality of life issues, but argued Santino’s news conference Friday was a distraction and a waste of taxpayer resources.

“This leaf blower news conference is nothing other than political noise pollution from Supervisor Santino,” Gillen said. “To devote town resources and time to a publicity stunt declaring a war on leaf blowers, while jobs are being cut, is a shameless waste of taxpayer dollars and an attempt to distract taxpayers from bipartisan calls for Santino to pass town ethics reforms.”

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