Naples considers banning gas-powered leaf blowers in neighborhoods

Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

Gas-powered leaf blowers have become the focus of a debate in Naples, since some homeowners say they are fed up with the noise near their homes. Others are not as concerned about the common outdoor tool used often by landscapers, maintenance workers and neighbors. The city is reviewing the matter, and neighbors hope a compromise is reached.

The City of Naples hosted a workshop Monday, where city officials held a discussion concerning the use of “lawn blowers” in the city. Among the options were amending the current noise ordinance to prohibit gas-powered leaf blowers on certain properties.

“We’ve been bombarded by leaf blowers for as long as I’ve been in Naples, 15 years,” neighbor Chuck Hoffman said. “It’s time for you to enforce the damn law.”

Others are wondering why these types of outdoor tools are causing such a controversy.

“Maybe they can make quieter blowers, but it doesn’t really bother me,” neighbor Al Hardy said.

Still, almost 200 homeowners, represented by the Old Naples Association, signed a petition asking the city to restrict the noise caused by leaf blowers in neighborhoods. They want the sounds the gas-powered tools make to never exceed 65 decibels, which is the level of noise made by conversation at a bar.

MORE: Old Naples Association petition for quieter leaf blowers

Landscapers fear, if an ordinance like this were to be reviewed and passed, it would force them to invest in battery-operated leaf blowers, which landscapers say is not as simple as it might seem.

“The challenge we have is the longevity,” said Tim Feltz with Blue Landscape. “You’re gonna blow half a property off, and the batteries going to die. “Now, we got to get generators into our trailers, and you’re gonna have the noise from the generators as we charge our equipment.”

Under the city’s current noise ordinance, it does not provide a specific regulation of leaf blower noise. There are only general noise prohibitions. there is currently no such ordinance that dictates the use of gas-powered leaf blowers.

One option the city considered for amending the noise ordinance was retaining it without specific prohibitions t leaf blowers. The other option considered was to prohibit the use of gas-powered leaf blowers on properties under 1-acre in size and restrict the use of electric or battery-operated leaf blowers to those that do not exceed 65 decibels.

No decision has been made, and the issue must become an item to be reviewed by council and put through meeting before there is a conclusion to the matter.

Jodie DeSalvo in Naples told us landscapers might come up with better strategies for their operation hours in neighborhoods to reach a compromise.

“I know that lawn people and leaf blowers probably start early in the morning,” DeSalvo said. “Maybe they could figure out a way as to which neighborhoods they need to start later in.”

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