Town Meeting Passes Seasonal Leaf-Blower Ban

Arlington's legislative body approved the annual five-month ban Monday in a 95-85 vote.

Town Meeting voted Monday to ban the use of gas-powered leaf blowers from May 15 to Oct. 15 on private property in Arlington.

The town bylaw amendment was put forth by Town Meeting member Robert Radochia as a substitute motion under Article 25 at the beginning of Monday’s session. After 15 minutes of debate, it carried 95-85 in a standing vote, after it was originally declared defeated by Town Moderator John Leone in a voice vote.

The vote to consider Radochia’s substitute motion under Article 25 passed by an even slimmer margin, 84-81.

Radochia’s compromise

Radochia, of Precinct 11, said he saw his substitute motion as a compromise between members who wanted to maintain the status quo and not prohibit the use of gas-powered leaf blowers and those who wanted to implement the year-round ban, . Between May 15 and Oct. 15, there aren’t many leaves, he said.

After deciding to consider Radochia’s substitute motion under Article 25, members chose not to consider Band’s (the two motions would’ve been somewhat at odds).

Article 25 was initially inserted by Band. However, it failed to get the support of the Board of Selectmen, which is why a substitute motion was needed for Town Meeting to act.

Supporters’ claims

Band and member Jeremy Marin, of Precinct 16, in favor of the year-round ban. They said gas-powered leaf blowers create noise pollution, are a health risk and are bad for the environment.  They also said that they are unnecessary for Arlington’s relatively small yards.

‘Extremism at its worst’

However, opponents of Band’s substitute motion said that any ban would be going too far. Member Maria Romano, of Precinct 7, reiterated this point Monday.

“This is extremism at its worst,” she said in a passionate address to Town Meeting.

“It is not your right to tell others how to live,” Romano added.

She also accused Band and Marin of fear mongering.

Town Meeting had defeated a similar leaf-blower article in 2008.


On Monday, the standing vote showed that 180 of Town Meeting’s 245 members (there are seven vacancies), or 73 percent of the body, voted on the town bylaw amendment.

As for life without gas-powered leaf blowers: “Ten minutes with a broom or rake is very therapeutic for the body and mind,” Radochia told Town Meeting members light heartedly.

The fines associated with violating one of the town’s bylaws cannot exceed $20 unless otherwise stated, Town Counsel Juliana Rice said last session.

Town budgets

On Monday, Town Meeting members also approved all town budgets, Article 40, in a unanimous vote.

Almost done

With seven sessions (21 hours) in the books, Town Meeting has now addressed 49 of 72 articles on the Town Meeting Warrant, leaving 23 to go when they reconvene Wednesday. Leone said if members work “diligently” on Wednesday, they might be able to finish.

Past Coverage of Town Meeting 2012

inthegloaming August 10, 2012 at 11:57 PM
If you are a Townie, and proud of it, are you proud that you are aggressively planning to go out of your way to harrass your neighbors with noise? What kind of adult response is that? What a childish tantrum when you don't get your own way. It's who's way or the highway? Yours, it seems, or you plot revenge. If this passed by a MAJORITY VOTE, then more people want it than not. Put on your Big Boy/Gal panties and deal like a grown-up. Now, that's being "a Good Citizen."
Coco August 11, 2012 at 02:50 AM
And it was overturned by the Majority of the town in a recent special election. So i guess that means me, my neighbors and hardworking landscapers in town can and should be able to use leaf blowers in a responsible manor.
charles ginsberg August 11, 2012 at 05:05 AM
first of all it won't even take effect until next year and second it is not a full ban. it is only for 4 months of the summer when there are not even leaves on the ground. obviously the majority does not win just like when george w bush lost the popular vote against al gore but won the electoral college thus becoming our president. it's just not fair. right? too bad. we follow the rule of law or else rebel. but quit complaining. whining and crying. whining and crying. move on already. jeez.
charles ginsberg August 11, 2012 at 01:48 PM
actually the majority of those who voted DID vote against the PARTIAL ban BUT the RULE of Law is for an election to over turn a town meeting vote a total of 20% of the REGISTERED VOTERS of the town must have voted for or against and that did not happen. So next year for a few months gets your rakes get your brooms but PLEASE QUIT WHINING
Coco August 11, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Granny, thats not true. How can you says town meeting members represent to town on this issue when the vote showed the opposite by a 2-1 margin. 5,500+ voted to overturn the ban & 2,500 to keep the ban! Obviously they WEREN'T representing their town.!
Coco August 11, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Granny, there was more than a 20% turn out for the vote. It was the highest ever in many elections. If they had another 241 NO votes..they would have won. If it was a full day of voting instead of the 1/2 day, it would have been overturned..no problem. Well, at least the Selectmen are listening to the majority and may fix this whole mess.sounds like they are working on a plan that will keep most people happy.
Coco August 11, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Huh? This isnt a republican or democrat issue. This is a home owners rights issue. Like i said thank god the Selectmen get "it" On my way to NH...have a good day.
Tim August 11, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Charlie Greenberg is a whiny yuppie who doesnt know what it like to get up at 5 am to get to work . No he wants quiet all day in the city so he can sleep. He is like my crazy neighbors who don't like Christmas light. PS. Charlie I am not hiding my name . If you are from Arlington like you claim then you would have no problem figuring out who I am
Tim August 11, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Arlington is trying to be controlled by a group of communists . I think this vote has shown that people are not going to stand for this anymore ....
inthegloaming August 11, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Plenty of people work at night, Tom. People who do very important jobs that we get to take for granted while we sleep. Police, firefighters, doctors, nurses, hospital staff, bakers making our morning bakery stuff we grab on the way to work. And they struggle to get restorative rest while the rest of us go around blithely making as much noise as we want because our parents didn't teach us that we didn't own the block ( well, mine did) or that it was rude, inconsiderate, un-neighborly and downright low-class/uncouth to disturb your neighbors. (As Mum used to say, "Hey! Stop that! We're you brought up in a barn?!") Why does everyone so hate their neighbors in this town that they actually WANT to be mean to them and plot revenge?
inthegloaming August 11, 2012 at 06:50 PM
By "work together in peace" toward "common ground" it seems what you really mean is "vote in a way that agrees with MY no vote."
inthegloaming August 11, 2012 at 06:59 PM
(sigh) Tim? Do you really believe no one works at night/everyone has a standard 9 to 5 job? I'll repeat until you accept some FACTS: Police. Firefighters. Doctors. Nurses. Hospital staff. EMTs. Bakers who make our morning goodies we grab on the way to our day jobs. Someone who's elderly, or housebound or chronically ill or gets migraines might need to sleep during the day. You're so angry about rules being imposed on you, but you seem to think it fair that YOU impose your rules of staying awake all day because thats more convenient for you/serves your side of the argument better.
Tim August 11, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Inthegloaming . I happen to work overnights and on my days Off I am up at 5 so please spear me the violins . I am sick and tired of these cry baby yuppies . This ban is never gonna happen ..Good luck to Charlie Greenberg . What's next Charlie ?? Banning Christmas lights?
inthegloaming August 11, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Good for you Tim! Whatever floats your boat. But what about other people who can't do that? Are you saying they HAVE to because YOU think that "morning people" are somehow "better" than night people? And what "yuppies" are you referring to? The other night workers who don't get up at 5 am on their day off? btw, it's not good to shake up your sleep schedule like that. Better to keep to a routine. So if you sleep 8-10 recommended hours during the day (because of a night job), then keep it that way or you'll screw up your R.E.M. cycle, which is the restorative cycle. (Oh, wait, NOW I see why you're so dense! Your brain isn't working on all cylinders due to sleep schedule fubar-edness.) And oh spare me the "this is a slipper slope, next it will be Xmas lights and children playing and . . and. . . and. Stick to the real subject at hand and don't toss in non-existent distractions. Think you can manage that? With your sleep deprived brain?
brent munroe August 12, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Cambridge, Brookline and now Arlington. What a surprise. Do you know why this kind of crap doesn't happen in working class towns? Because in working class towns people are working, not sleeping through the day. This is pathetic
inthegloaming August 12, 2012 at 07:05 AM
Brent! Are you saying no one works at night/Everyone works during the day? Especially "working class" people? (And please define that class, because seems to me anyone who HAS to work for a paycheck is a member.). Wow. I have to say there are no words to adequately respond to this kind of willful ignorance.
joe August 12, 2012 at 01:19 PM
the more i read the more i think you are all nuts.Get off the computer get out and live life.Why are you fighting with people. who really cares what you think.I am just fine with people not feeling the same same way i do.I will still do what i want as long as commonsense wins the argument.
Tim August 12, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Inthegloaming The yuppies I am referring to are the silly ones that move here and wanna change things that have been happening for years to their way because they don't like it ... The silly yuppies that complain because you have too many Christmas lights on your house .. Or how about the yuppies that don't want their kids to say the pledge in school but want to sing Hebrew folk songs . Silly liberals who have warpped common sense . Those Yuppies you know the kind I am talking about the ones who get their masters from Harvard but don't have enough common sense to get out of the rain. The kind that grew up in Winthrop and move to Arlington because they got their butts kicked their whole lives and are now trolling the internet dating sites .. Those yuppies ....
charles ginsberg August 12, 2012 at 04:15 PM
tim you are dating yourself. the yuppies have grown up. "you know the kind I am talking about" Tim you are such a racist pig biggot piece of crap. no one has ever kicked my butt and i've had a few good fights. tim, for you this has nothing to do with leaf blowers but everting to do with hating people who are not like poor ignorant you. you are a patehtic piece of crap.
inthegloaming August 12, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Joe: well, some of us can multitask while stuck at work, if we have to wait for, say, software programs to upload on computers we might be revitalizing. Going on the Internet with an iPad can pass the time very entertainingly. For my part, every now and then I just get tired of passively watching The Stoopid keep blabbering without raising some objection. But you raise a good point. As me Mum useta say: Never wallow in the mud with a pig. You just get dirty, and the pig enjoys it. So why are YOU here reading and commenting instead of "out" -- dude! It's either drenching raining or unbearably humid "out" there! Ugh! -- living life? And do we care what you think? :-)
inthegloaming August 12, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Um, sounds like some personal grudge you got going ther. I have never met nor heard of these people. Btw, do you remember that the term "yuppie" refers to young upwardly mobile urban professionals. What's wrong with being any of those things? Most of our grandparents and before emigrated to the US to have the opportunity for a better life for themselves and especially their kids. People wanted to progress, to CHANGE, to have freedom (of religion, for just one) from the oppression of "nothing changes here for centuries/ we've always done it this way in the past and we'll keep doing it this way." Tim, if you want things to never change, I'm afraid you'll just have to go live somewhere where there aren't advances in culture/society informed by science, technology, open-minded education, separation of church and state, media, etc. Kentucky? Afghanistan? I don't know. But I'm guessing Charles and I will help you pack! :-) I'll bring the hummus dip.
Tim August 13, 2012 at 12:07 AM
I am all for change .. As for that Nit Wit Charles Greenberg calling me a racist he has no clue .... It has to do with leaf blowers .. Who are these people to say what I can and cannot on my property? LIKE I SAID WHAT'S. NEXT CHRISTMAS LIGHTS ? This ban has nothing to do with noise pollution , or air pollution because if it was we would be banning MBTA BUSES seeing that they produce over 90db of noise which is way over acceptable levels . I am also pretty sure that buses produce more air pollution then leaf blowers . This ban has to do wi th a group of these crazies who don't like leaf blowers or don't like the fact that their neighbors have a landscaper . And as for you Charlie Greenberg keep throwing the insults ....
charles ginsberg August 13, 2012 at 03:33 PM
i'll bring the chips. and Tim don't forget to get that swastika tatoo removed.
charles ginsberg August 13, 2012 at 03:37 PM
hey tim which is probably not even your real name, give it a break. go enjoy the rest of the summer if you even know how. maybe you could take an anger management class or something. I'm done. you're pathetic. see you at the next battle. sieg heil timmy, sieg heil.
Shaun August 23, 2012 at 11:55 PM
And yet the tax rate per $1000 of home value is half that of Arlington while Cambridge spends twice as much per capita than Arlington supporting parks, green space and the arts.
MICHAEL MALONEY January 14, 2013 at 04:05 PM
I use a blower due to a back injury. However, I am dead set against someone like Kerble, who, last year, sent his crew to work at 7:00 AM, a Sunday morning, at the corner of Robbins Rd. & Howard St. It's illegal, but the police did not respond to my complaint & the blowers ruined the morning.
Morningside April 07, 2013 at 01:05 PM
They get special compensations
Morningside April 08, 2013 at 10:20 AM
How late could you be selling houses, 7pm, 8pm? Tell you something mr hardest working man errrrr moron in America, I work at least 10 hours a day, starting at 7 everyday
Morningside April 08, 2013 at 10:25 AM
They call it a leaf blower because it was coined that. Like most people call copy machines Xerox machines.......the could be called Brother machines, IBM machines, Dell machines, Canon machines
Morningside April 08, 2013 at 10:37 AM
All I know is I will be putting my mothers house up for sale soon, and I want a Real Estate guy who does not sleep half the day away, or is close minded, stubborn, rude, condescending, or a Nazi lover which is surprising for a Sheeny like Greenspan, ginstien ummmm Charles


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