The following is a Letter to the Editor from Arlington resident A. Michael Ruderman, a Precinct 9 Town Meeting Member.
In the July 19 Special Election, I urge you to maintain the regulation of gas-powered leaf blowers that we passed in our Annual Town Meeting.
We heard many arguments in town meeting against leaf blowers: their noise, their engines’ pollution, their blasting of sand and grit into neighbors’ homes. Yet, we were mindful of these tools’ speed and ease in corralling broad expanses of leaves in the fall. So, we amended the original proposal and approved a compromise: no gas-powered blowers on private property, during the driest weeks of the year, when the fewest leaves are on the ground, and the most windows and porches are open to fresh air.
It is during these weeks I most often see leaf-blowers employed as driveway and parking lot “sweepers.” For my neighbors in Precinct 9 who live beside businesses’ parking, the blower noise, reflected from the asphalt, is a frequent disturbance throughout spring and summer. Crews have many options for cleaning up this hardscape, options that actually collect debris instead of blasting it onto someone else's property. There are the quiet and efficient sweeping vehicles that towns use on streets and parking lots. At the opposite end of the mechanization scale, there is the ultimate in “green” and quiet sweepers for driveway-size applications: push brooms.
The compromise we passed--again, not a ban, but a regulation--requires us to do a little better at keeping the peace and quiet of a civil community. I think Town Meeting “got it right,” as we always try to do, when there are many sides and strong emotions on a particular subject. Please vote to uphold this regulation on July 19.
A. Michael Ruderman
9 Alton St.
Town Meeting Member, Precinct 9
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