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‘Troubling Violations’ Found at Several Arlington …

Group Working to Repeal Controversial Leaf-Blower Ban

The group says it already has enough signatures to force a special election.

A group of Arlington residents told the Board of Selectmen Monday night that they have already collected enough signatures to force a special election regarding .

The group, represented by longtime Town Meeting member George Laite and Black Diamond Landscapes’ Joseph Cusce Jr. at Monday’s meeting, plans to turn its petition in by Thursday’s deadline, the two men said.

“It’s the American way, it’s the democratic way, to let the voters decide,” said Laite, of Precinct 4.

Special-Election Process

The group’s petition will need valid signatures from at least three percent of all registered voters in Arlington by Thursday’s deadline in order to force the special election, according to Town Counsel Juliana Rice. Assuming that happens, after a five-day waiting period, the Board of Selectmen will be required to schedule a special election “forthwith,” or immediately, she said.

The special election would probably occur sometime in June, board chairman Kevin Greeley said.

Through the special election, Arlington residents could vote to repeal the controversial bylaw amendment, . However, in addition to winning the vote, opponents of the seasonal ban would also need at least 20 percent of registered voters to turn out at the polls; otherwise, the seasonal ban, which probably won’t take effect until next year, will remain intact.

For comparison’s sake, , which featured hotly contested races for both the Board of Selectmen and School Committee, had about a 26 percent turnout. Polls would only be open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. during the special election, Rice said.

Leaf-Blower Committee

Regardless of the special election, the Board of Selectmen, at the request of Greeley, is planning to establish a committee to explore the leaf-blower issue over the next year. Greeley said his hope is that the committee will come back to Town Meeting next spring with a compromise (possibly restrictions instead of an outright seasonal ban).

Greeley had asked the board to consider putting a “leaf blower ballot question” on the Town Elections ballot next spring. However, the idea failed to gain the support of the board and was defeated in a 4-1 vote. The ballot question would have been non-binding.

Meeting Notes

Greeley said, based on conversations he’s had, he believes a “majority of Arlingtonians are not in favor of this ban.” However, he said he could be wrong. Personally, he said he’s against it, calling it “too dramatic of a step to take right away.”

joe May 22, 2012 at 06:48 PM
It makes no sense i use my leaf blower for 5 minutes a week.Trimmers some mowers,chainsaws,scooters,are all 4cycle.how can u pick on one item.I think the most dangerous item we all carry are cell phones as far as causing illness like cancer.Lets be real they are on for a short amount of time a good breeze kicks up as much dust The bylaw reads private property ,so can i use it on the side walk (town property) Can we use electric blowers?Does the law apply to private ways.Questions that need answers.Also does anyone know were a copy of all the town bylaws can be picked up.
Coco May 22, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Wogga, well, It doesn't make sense for the Landscapers that use the gas leaf blowers EVERYDAY (may-Oct) to do their job properly and efficiently. Their customers want all the grass clippers cleaned away. Let's remember this is just another silly ban infringing on the rights of people. What's next ? lawn mowers? chain saws? motor cycles?
Dana May 24, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Let's ban snow blowers too! We LOVE government in our lives.
Chair Education Committee June 03, 2012 at 03:29 AM
It may seem "a frivolous intrusion on the rights and responsibilities of homeowners to maintain their property", but is actually a very serious intrusion on the rights of all who have no choice but to breathe the polluted air created by blower use. Do some research of your own at www.zapla.org, www.quietorinda.com and the S. California Air Resources Boards Leaf Blower Report of 2000, http://www.arb.ca.gov/ msprog/leafblow/leafblow.htm
b June 21, 2012 at 12:00 PM
There are laws on emmissions...and if polluted air is your issue then ban cars too while you are at it This law is not fair to the working class and those in favor are dreaming of the past when blacks toiled away around the masters house with brooms

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