• Seasonal Ban On Gas Powered Leaf Blowers In Greenwich Nets Nearly 200 Calls To Police, But That's Just Part Of The Story

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    The seasonal ban on gas powered leaf blowers (GLBs) in Greenwich is barely a month old but it is already sparking controversy.

    Greenwich Police received 181 complaints about people allegedly illegally using GLBs since the seasonal ban took effect on May 25th, according to the Greenwich Time. The seasonal ban runs until September 30th. Unless you are wealthy enough to own a 2-acre or larger property, in which case a different rule applies that allows GLBs to be used the day after Labor Day.

    Nearly 85% of complaints were considered "unfounded"—police didn't see any violations—but the remainder resulted in warnings to 28 rule-breakers. There were no repeat offenders. The neighborhoods with the most complaints include Cos Cob (19%), Midcountry (18%) and Old Greenwich (14%). We heard that at least one noise complaint was about an electric leaf blower that was louder than a GLB. Go figure!

    No fines will be levied against any individuals or companies using GLBs this summer, but fines are expected to start in 2025.

    You can thank the environmental activists from Quiet Yards Greenwich for introducing the new ordinance, and the admittedly "left of center" RTM for passing it.

    Screenshot, Quiet Yards website, featuring link to "call in a violation" and report your neighbors for breaking the seasonal gas-powered leaf blower ban

    What Are The Key Issues?

    We have spoken with representatives of 17 different landscaping companies and contractors who operate in Greenwich.

    Their employees are getting harassed by people, let's call them Karens & Kens, who feel empowered by the new ordinance to scream and yell at anyone who breaks the new ordinance.

    Electric leaf blowers are heavier, weighing as much 48 pounds as compared to 23 pounds for GLBs. Plus, since electric blowers are less efficient than GLBs, it takes anywhere from 1.5x to 5x longer per property to clear leaves, meaning workers have to carry much heavier equipment for much longer periods of time.

    Lithium batteries don't last as long as advertised, especially in the summer heat which reduces the lifespan. It takes 40 minutes to recharge a battery that only lasts 20 minutes on low speed and less than 15 minutes on turbo/ high speed. As a result, landscapers have had to stockpile numerous extra batteries, a significant expense considering commercial batteries can run as much as $450 each.

    The Town dump won't take the dead batteries either, so there's another issue and additional expense. There's also the concern that dead batteries could be illegally dumped, creating a fire hazard.

    There are no battery charging stations on Town properties. Most homeowners do not allow lithium batteries to be charged on their properties. Some landscapers do not have power at their equipment yards, so they are forced to take batteries home to charge. Workers are concerned about transporting multiple lithium batteries, too, especially considering the fire hazard if they were to get into an accident.

    Insurers are demanding additional changes to accommodate the fire risk, as well. The same with the Fire Marshal, who told one large landscaping company it had to store lithium batteries and chargers in a separate storage shed, away from gas cans and away from fertilizer, because of the fire risk.

    A Darien-based landscaper that operates in Greenwich was forced to build a concrete vault to store electric equipment and charging units. The vault required extra ventilation and climate control to prevent the batteries from overheating and catching on fire, another huge expense.

    Meanwhile, the Quiet Yards folks downplayed the issues with charging batteries, and suggested that workers could just throw the batteries into a milk crate and take them home to charge in their kitchen or garage, a completely absurd and potentially unsafe proposition.

    Public Domain.

    One landscaper just laid out $159,000 to purchase 22 electric blowers, 180 batteries and 90 chargers. Then he was required to purchase a supplemental insurance policy to cover the batteries due to the fire hazard. He's now required to keep giant drums that can hold 200 gallons of water at his facility in case of a battery fire. He had to install $13,000 worth of special battery containers to hold the batteries in a climate-controlled environment. He will also have to install a fire alarm with a phone line connected to the alarm, and possibly even add a night watchman to his roster.

    One long-time Greenwich landscaper added an all-electric service (mowing and leaf blowing) a couple years ago—a $120,000 investment. Only 8 clients signed up. An electric lawn mower already broke, and they have been waiting on parts since June 2023. Hopefully it's not the battery, which can cost as much as $12,000 to replace. The landscaper did not break even on the investment, and is considering ending the all-electric service.

    Theft of electric equipment is a growing problem, too. Not only that, but Karens & Kens have been spotted stealing GLBs, allegedly to "teach the landscapers a lesson" about following the Town ordinance.

    All of those extra expenses are, of course, going to be passed along to customers who are unhappy about the higher prices. When the switch to electric was forced in Montclair, NJ, for instance, prices rose anywhere from 10% to as much 37%. Some landscapers have even decided to stop working in towns with GLB bans because the economics just don't work.

    Oh yeah, the Quiet Yards folks apparently suggested a grant to help offset the significant, additional costs of switching to electric, but that offer disappeared after the landscapers asked for a variance to the ordinance for this summer.

    So What Is This Ordinance Really About?

    The landscapers showed us a new, more efficient, cleaner GLB that is quieter and cheaper than electric models, but still has the superior performance of gas powered equipment.

    They wondered if the Town would be willing to allow the use of this kind of GLB, so we reached out to Greenwich First Selectman Camillo, his assistant Ken Borsuk, and RTM Moderator Alexis Voulgaris for clarification on the intent of the Town mandate.

    That's when things got interesting.

    Borsuk told us that we "would have to speak to the people behind the ordinance at Quiet Yards Greenwich" in order to understand a Town of Greenwich ordinance.

    We asked Borsuk whether it was normal for the Town to defer to a third-party activist organization for clarification on a Town ordinance.

    He immediately pivoted, "It is a RTM matter. They approved the citizen-led ordinance by a large margin."

    But RTM Moderator Voulgaris disagreed. She said, "This is not an RTM issue.  The item was put before the RTM and the legislative body rendered a decision in January 2024, thereby concluding our official involvement with this issue."

    Then Borsuk said he "confirmed with the citizen group that led this initiative" that it was meant to address both noise and air pollution. Not just a reduction in air pollution, mind you, but "net zero emissions".

    Of course, the ordinance nicely aligns with the broader Democrat / globalist "climate change" agenda, including the goal of reaching "net zero emissions" by 2050, which means stopping the use of fossil fuels altogether.

    "Net Zero Emissions" campaign promise made by Biden. (Public Domain)

    We wouldn't be surprised to see the Quiet Yards activists push for a year-round ban on GLBs, just like what happened in Larchmont, NY, the first town in the Northeast to enact a complete ban on GLBs, which took effect as of January 1, 2022.

    What about electric blowers that are louder than GLBs? Will those be next on the chopping block?

    What about banning the sale of gas-powered lawn mowers, like they did in California or like democrats want to do in Minnesota? Do the Quiet Yards activists want to do that, too?

    Would they ever try to expand the ordinance to other gas powered equipment such as chainsaws, edgers, hedge trimmers, weed whackers, and even snowblowers?

    How far might they want to go?

    Screenshot, NY State Senate

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    Greenwich Patriots

    Greenwich Patriots organized in 2021 to help protect medical freedom, to preserve parental rights, and especially to stand up for children in schools in Greenwich, Connecticut. Learn more and join the newsletter here: https://greenwichpatriots.us/.

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