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leafblowersThe Board of Director of the Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce unanimously approved (with one abstention) the following statement regarding the proposed leafblower ban:

“The Newton-Needham Chamber shares concerns about the noise and air quality problems that can result from thoughtless use of leaf blowers — especially when misused in residential areas where homes are located close together.

However the proposed changes presently being considered by the Board of Aldermen to Newton’s Noise Ordinance are too extreme and too broad and will place a significant financial hardship on many Newton businesses, apartment and condominium complexes, non profits and (when it comes to footing the bill for cleanup of city property) on every Newton taxpayer.

While it is conceivable that the owner of a single family home could possibly rake, or hire someone to rake, debris from their property, it would be financially devastating for operators of many office complexes, colleges, golf courses and even the city itself, to rely solely on rakes (presuming labor can even be found to do this work) over the period of many months and especially not under a year-round ban.  We are also concerned about the potential chance of injury and liability if wet leaves or other matter left on walkways, schools, and other areas cannot be cleared of debris quickly following a routine storm.

The Chamber strongly endorses stricter enforcement of the current noise regulations, including the present hour restrictions.  The Chamber also endorses stricter enforcement of the mandated criteria for leaf blower noise ratings with a limit of 65 decibels.

But the Chamber urges our Aldermen to reject these changes and would certainly be a willing partner in distributing information to businesses about existing regulations and restrictions.”