Leaf-Blower Debate Now Underway at Town Meeting

A recap of Town Meeting's sixth session on Wednesday.

Town Meeting members began to discuss a proposed ban on gas-powered leaf blowers Wednesday.

They also passed Minuteman High School’s budget and a town bylaw amendment that requires residents to bring in their uncollected trash by 9 p.m. the next day.

In addition, members decided not to reconsider an earlier vote of no action on Article 32, which would have been a report and recommendation from the town manager on the implementation of a consolidated town-school finance department.

Leaf-Blower Debate

Town Meeting member Carol Band submitted a substitute motion for Article 25 after the Board of Selectmen’s recommended vote of no action on her original article.

Band’s motion would amend the town bylaws to prohibit the use of gas-powered leaf blowers on private property in Arlington. 

In her presentation to Town Meeting, Band, of Precinct 8, said gas-powered leaf blowers create noise pollution, are a health risk and are bad for the environment. Member Jeremy Marin, of Precinct 16, also gave a lengthy presentation in favor of the motion. He focused on the health hazards associated with the blowers.

Members who spoke against the motion basically said that it is too extreme.

A similar motion was defeated at Town Meeting a couple of years ago. After about 40 minutes of debate on the motion Wednesday, Town Meeting adjourned until 8 p.m. Monday, May 14. Debate will continue then before a vote is taken.

Minuteman High School’s Budget OK’d

After a longer debate on the faults of the regional technical high school’s governance and funding structures, Town Meeting members returned to the question at hand, Article 45, and passed the town’s roughly $3 million portion of Minuteman’s operating budget.

The vote was actually quite irrelevant, as more than 11 of the school’s 16 member towns had already passed the budget, making it a done deal.

Members supported a recommended vote of no action on Article 46, which asked to establish a Minuteman stabilization fund for capital repairs, renovations and improvements. However, once again, enough member towns had already approved the article, so Arlington’s vote was more of a statement than an action.

Twenty-Five Articles To Go

With six sessions (18 hours) of Town Meeting now in the books, members have addressed 47 of the 72 articles on the Town Meeting Warrant and all 10 articles on the Special Town Meeting Warrant, leaving 25 to go when they reconvene Monday.

Past Coverage of Town Meeting 2012

Henry David Thoreau May 13, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Whats next? Leaf blowers make noise because they have two cycle engines. There are lawn movers, snow blowers, chain saws, cordless hedge trimmers and other equipment that also have these engines. Should the town ban all two cycle engines? "Leaf" the blowers alone.... Please......... Sam Stepanis Columbia rd.
Zoltan May 13, 2012 at 09:34 PM
I think it's primarily the professional landscapers who use gas powered leaf blowers because they have no viable alternative. Perhaps restricting their use to M-F 9am-5pm would be an adequate compromise.
x May 14, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Surprised the 'progresssives' in Arlington haven't passed a bylaw banning trees from dropping leaves on lawns. Reverend E. Raleigh Pimperton III
Tim May 14, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Maple Leaf May 16, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Why don’t we just ban everything.....how stupid. I have lived here my whole life and I am proud to call Arlington my home, but now I am really frustrated and honestly disgusted. When the town can’t sweep the street and debris is everywhere on my road I push the debris into piles and then sweep it up and put it into my own leaf bags. Guess I won’t be helping out like I use to and doing my part as a good citizen. Zolton, you are fair to say lets compromise, but these town meeting members who want this bylaw in place don’t comprise, it’s their way or the highway! I am just going to go out and buy a large and loud yard vacuum. It’s much louder than my gas leaf blower and has a bigger engine....That certainly does not help the environment...but the town meeting members who wanted the ban got it so enjoy! Thank you to those on Town Meeting who voted against this article.
abcdef June 03, 2012 at 11:35 PM
I must say Arlington you are so stupid! to come up with such a ban get a life! And who ever came up with such a ban get the he'll out!


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