, Salem, MA

April 30, 2013

Council to take up leaf blowers


---- — SALEM — The City Council is the latest government body to take on noisy leaf blowers.

While a proposed ban failed last year at Marblehead Town Meeting, Salem appears to be taking a more measured response.

Ward 2 Councilor Mike Sosnowski said he has had complaints from residents about the noise, especially early on Sunday mornings.

“We certainly don’t want to put anybody out of business, but at the same time, we want to ensure quality of life for neighborhoods,” he said.

Not every councilor thought regulation was a good idea. Veteran Councilor Joe O’Keefe said it was an “abridgement of the civil rights” of anyone who wants to use a leaf blower.

“We have enough laws,” O’Keefe said. “We’ll be taxing air pretty soon.”

For the record, Sosnowski never said he wants to ban gas-powered leaf blowers, just to listen to homeowners to determine the extent of the problem to see if anything should be done.

“I’m sure there are going to be a lot of people on one side of the fence — literally — and a lot on the other side,” Sosnowski said, drawing chuckles from fellow councilors.

Ward 5 Councilor Josh Turiel said he expects the council, at most, will discuss regulating the hours of leaf blowers.

“I think Councilor Sosnowski is onto something good here,” he said.

The issue was sent to a council committee, which is expected to address it in a few weeks.