Town Meeting members kept the town’s seasonal leaf-blower ban in place Wednesday night.
Members voted 110-95 against substituting a motion that would have put a repeal of the ban to a vote.
Town Meeting Members' Individual Roll-Call Votes
The substitute motion was proposed by Stephen Harrington, a Town Meeting member from Precinct 13 who forced the Board of Selectmen to call Wednesday’s Special Town Meeting by submitting a petition with more than 200 signatures to have the ban reconsidered this fall.
Wednesday’s final tally was recorded by a roll-call vote – Town Moderator John Leone read members names one by one, and their individual voice votes were recorded. About 81 percent of members were present for the vote.
The ban, which prohibits the use of gas-powered leaf blowers on private property from May 15 to Oct. 15, has yet to take effect, as it’s pending the approval of the state attorney general’s office. Members passed the ban in May in a 95-85 vote.
Prior to the roll-call vote, members agreed, in a 156-43 vote, to create a leaf-blower committee, which will be tasked with crafting a compromise, one with seasonal restrictions instead of an outright ban, for Town Meeting next spring.
This committee article was proposed by the Board of Selectmen. The committee will consist of four members of the Arlington Landscape Association, four Town Meeting members, four Arlington residents and one selectman.
“We must seek a reasonable, if imperfect, compromise,” said Selectman Daniel Dunn, speaking in favor of the committee on Wednesday.
Debate on the two leaf-blower articles went on for about 90 minutes Wednesday, with the voting taking another half hour. Approximately 15 members spoke on the issue. The final vote was announced at about 11 p.m.
In addition to the Town Meeting members and town officials, about 100 people watched the meeting from the Town Hall Auditorium balcony. Most of the spectators appeared to oppose the ban, as they applauded Harrington’s comments against it. The crowd thinned considerably as the meeting wore on.
Harrington had to submit a substitute motion in order for the ban to be reconsidered at the meeting, as selectmen recently voted “no action” on his petitioned article.
Tonight’s Special Town Meeting represented the second attempt to repeal the controversial ban. A group of landscapers in May to force a Special Election. At the Special Election, 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.
This article was first published at 11 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, and has since be rewritten.