Petition Submitted for Special Town Meeting on Seasonal Leaf-Blower Ban
The day after the Board of Selectmen unanimously agreed to establish a committee to review the ban, a Town Meeting member took matters into his own hands.
A Town Meeting member submitted a petition to the town Tuesday to call a Special Town Meeting regarding Arlington’s seasonal ban on gas-powered leaf blowers.
Stephen Harrington, of Precinct 13, who opposes the ban, said nearly 250 registered voters in Arlington signed his petition – only 200 signatures are needed to force a Special Town Meeting.
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If Harrington’s petition is validated by the town, the Special Town Meeting would be the second attempt to repeal the ban, which was passed at Town Meeting in April. A group of landscapers collected more than 1,400 signatures in May to force a Special Election. At the Special Election, which took place on July 19, opponents of the ban won the vote by a 2-to-1 margin but fell 241 “No” votes shy of repealing the ban, as state law required them to get at least 5,780 “No” votes, which represented 20 percent of Arlington’s 28,898 registered voters.
In May, Selectman Steven Byrne urged opponents of the ban to submit a petition for a Special Town Meeting instead of a Special Election, as he saw it as the easier route and a much cheaper option.
If the petition goes through, the Board of Selectmen would have to call a Special Town Meeting within 45 days.
Harrington’s petition came a day after the Board of Selectmen unanimously agreed to establish a committee to review the ban, which has yet to take effect (it’s pending the approval of the state attorney general’s office) and prohibits the leaf blowers on private property from May 15 to Oct. 15.
The committee, which was put forth by board chairman Kevin Greeley, was intended to look at implementing restrictions rather than an outright ban.
Greeley said he was planning to bring a warrant article, with the committee’s recommended restrictions, to a Special Town Meeting at the same time of the regularly-scheduled Town Meeting next April.
The committee, if it’s still a go, will consist of Selectman Diane Mahon, Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine, Director of Health and Human Services Christine Connolly, four members from the landscapers group and four Town Meeting members. Greeley will serve as chairman of the committee, and Town Meeting members can apply to the committee by contacting Town Moderator John Leone.