Mayor Moves Up Start Date of Seasonal Leaf Blower Ban
When Rye enacted a seasonal leaf blower ban in 2008, making it illegal to operate a gas- or electric-powered leaf blower from May 1 through September 30, it was intended as a quality of life regulation; but in recent weeks, with the coronavirus raging and increased concerns about exposure to particulate matter, especially for those with preexisting respiratory issues, residents began asking the Mayor and City Council to ban leaf blowers before the seasonal ban went into effect.
City officials listened, and Mayor Josh Cohn declared “a state of emergency” and moved the start of the ban to April 18.
In his letter to resident Bonnie Council, who advocated for the City to ban leaf blowers immediately in late March and pressed the issue further upon learning that both Mamaroneck and Larchmont had instituted temporary bans, Cohn wrote: “Enforcement of the seasonal ban, as you may know, is difficult under ordinary circumstances. We have a small Police Department and landscapers may blow and run. We will see if compliance is any better during the health emergency.”
The long-term question on many residents’ minds is whether Rye will consider banning leaf blowers, or at least gas-powered ones, permanently. According to a new study by Harvard University, as reported in The New York Times, “research shows a statistical link between dirty air and death or serious illness from Covid-19. In an analysis of 3,080 U.S. counties, the study’s authors found that a person living for decades in a county with high levels of fine particulate matter, for example, was 15 percent more likely to die from the virus than someone in a region with slightly less air pollution.”