Greenport may impose new limits on the use of gas-powered...

Greenport may impose new limits on the use of gas-powered leaf blowers. Credit: iStock

Greenport officials are considering updates to the village's noise ordinance to limit the use of gas-powered leaf blowers, but some residents say the proposal doesn’t go far enough and are calling for an all-out ban.

The proposal is part of a larger effort to tackle thumping music that spills out of downtown bars past midnight, noise in residential areas from loud pool parties, and the use of noisy lawn care tools between 9:30 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Commercial landscapers won't be able to rev up their equipment Monday through Friday before 8 a.m., before 9 a.m. on Saturday and at all on Sundays and holidays, according to a draft of the proposal. Greenport’s current noise ordinance, which dates to 1992, does not specifically address landscaping equipment.

More than a dozen residents asked the village to ban gas-powered leaf blowers at a Dec. 28 hearing, saying a constant barrage of humming affects their health, air quality and concentration.

“It’s like a swarm of enormous mosquitoes has taken over the neighborhood,” said village resident Hilary North. “And I can’t swat them.”

James Taylor and Hillary Gulley said they both worked remotely and scheduled meetings around landscaping work in their neighborhood.

“It’s the permanent soundtrack to my working day,” Taylor said, adding he still hears the blowers over music and with windows and doors shut.

Others touted environmental benefits to letting leaves decompose in gardens instead of blowing them away, noting the leaves provide food to hungry birds throughout the winter, a habitat for overwintering insects and nutrients to the soil as they breakdown.

Mayor Kevin Stuessi said he supported a leaf blower ban because it’s “the right thing to do” for the environment.

Other towns have taken similar measures, citing noise and public health concerns. In 2021, Southold limited the hours landscapers could use gas-powered leaf blowers and banned their use on Sundays and public holidays. Southampton and East Hampton towns have seasonal bans on gas blowers while a total ban will take effect in Southampton Village in October 2024. Huntington also has seasonal restrictions on the equipment.

Greenport’s noise proposal sets guidelines in commercial areas, banning noise that’s “plainly audible” — within 50 feet of the source — after 12:30 a.m. on summer weekends from May 15 to Oct. 1 and after 11 p.m. on holidays.

Fines would increase to $250 from $25 for a first violation and repeat offenders could face penalties between $1,000 and $20,000.

Trustee Mary Bess Phillips said the village regularly received complaints about music being “too loud or too late” downtown and said the 12:30 a.m. cutoff didn’t mean music had to end entirely.

“They can have music inside the building, as long as it’s not blaring,” Phillips said.

Some businesses fear the ordinance wouldn't be evenly enforced, since, Greenport officials said, neither village code enforcement officers nor Southold police use decibel meters.

“It lends itself to subjective decision making,” said Joan Morgan McGivern, an attorney for Claudio’s Restaurant. 

The proposed noise amendments come after the village last fall created an entertainment permit requirement for all businesses that feature live or amplified music or DJs. Those businesses must have permits in place by May 1, which can be revoked if citations are issued for noise and other violations.

Village officials are expected to discuss a possible leaf blower ban at a public hearing on Jan. 16.

Greenport officials are considering updates to the village's noise ordinance to limit the use of gas-powered leaf blowers, but some residents say the proposal doesn’t go far enough and are calling for an all-out ban.

The proposal is part of a larger effort to tackle thumping music that spills out of downtown bars past midnight, noise in residential areas from loud pool parties, and the use of noisy lawn care tools between 9:30 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Commercial landscapers won't be able to rev up their equipment Monday through Friday before 8 a.m., before 9 a.m. on Saturday and at all on Sundays and holidays, according to a draft of the proposal. Greenport’s current noise ordinance, which dates to 1992, does not specifically address landscaping equipment.

More than a dozen residents asked the village to ban gas-powered leaf blowers at a Dec. 28 hearing, saying a constant barrage of humming affects their health, air quality and concentration.

“It’s like a swarm of enormous mosquitoes has taken over the neighborhood,” said village resident Hilary North. “And I can’t swat them.”

James Taylor and Hillary Gulley said they both worked remotely and scheduled meetings around landscaping work in their neighborhood.

“It’s the permanent soundtrack to my working day,” Taylor said, adding he still hears the blowers over music and with windows and doors shut.

Others touted environmental benefits to letting leaves decompose in gardens instead of blowing them away, noting the leaves provide food to hungry birds throughout the winter, a habitat for overwintering insects and nutrients to the soil as they breakdown.

Mayor Kevin Stuessi said he supported a leaf blower ban because it’s “the right thing to do” for the environment.

Other towns have taken similar measures, citing noise and public health concerns. In 2021, Southold limited the hours landscapers could use gas-powered leaf blowers and banned their use on Sundays and public holidays. Southampton and East Hampton towns have seasonal bans on gas blowers while a total ban will take effect in Southampton Village in October 2024. Huntington also has seasonal restrictions on the equipment.

Greenport’s noise proposal sets guidelines in commercial areas, banning noise that’s “plainly audible” — within 50 feet of the source — after 12:30 a.m. on summer weekends from May 15 to Oct. 1 and after 11 p.m. on holidays.

Fines would increase to $250 from $25 for a first violation and repeat offenders could face penalties between $1,000 and $20,000.

Trustee Mary Bess Phillips said the village regularly received complaints about music being “too loud or too late” downtown and said the 12:30 a.m. cutoff didn’t mean music had to end entirely.

“They can have music inside the building, as long as it’s not blaring,” Phillips said.

Some businesses fear the ordinance wouldn't be evenly enforced, since, Greenport officials said, neither village code enforcement officers nor Southold police use decibel meters.

“It lends itself to subjective decision making,” said Joan Morgan McGivern, an attorney for Claudio’s Restaurant. 

The proposed noise amendments come after the village last fall created an entertainment permit requirement for all businesses that feature live or amplified music or DJs. Those businesses must have permits in place by May 1, which can be revoked if citations are issued for noise and other violations.

Village officials are expected to discuss a possible leaf blower ban at a public hearing on Jan. 16.

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Suffolk Ramadan security … Shootings down, larcenies down … Maple sugaring Credit: Newsday

Charges in Hempstead homicide ... NYC congestion pricing ... Wyandanch library custodian fired ... Yankees spring training 

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