Manor board holds public hearing on leaf-blower ban, swears in police officer from Mount Vernon force


New Pelham Manor Police Officer Shecore Speid (center) after being sworn in by Mayor Jennifer Monachino Lapey (third from right). Also pictured: other members of the village board, police leadership and village administration.

Several Village of Pelham Manor residents spoke Monday for and against a proposed ban on gas-powered leaf blowers during a public hearing at the board of trustees meeting.

The draft local law under consideration by the village board would bar the use of the gas-powered machines on Jan. 1, 2024, after allowing their use in 2023 in January through April and from Oct. 15 to Dec. 31 during the hours of 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Mayor Jennifer Monachino Lapey and Village Manager John Pierpont both noted Scarsdale places a limit on internal-combustion blowers and Larchmont banned them altogether.

During the hearing, Dominic Ragno, owner of D. Ragno Landscaping, said, “As discussed in the past, I understand and support the concept of a no-gas powered leaf blower, but I do strongly believe we have to wait for technology to catch up before we move forward with a complete ban.”

He said the technology for replacement blowers will not be up to standards by 2024, and said he opposed the proposed ban.

Several speakers highlighted what they said were problems with electric blowers, including the inefficiency of their batteries, longer times to clean yards and the increased costs to homeowners.

In supporting the proposed local law, Melissa Eustace said, “I contend that it’s absurd not to ban them much sooner” than 2024. She said running a gas-powered blower for 30 minutes creates a greater amount of emissions than driving an F-150 pickup truck 3,800 miles, or the distance from Texas to Alaska.

After the hearing, Trustee Maurice Owen-Michaane said, “I think this is democracy in action. It was fantastic to hear from a lot of faces and voices today. I think there’s a lot of good feedback from all the voices we heard, and I think it would behoove us to take a little more time to figure out what the right path is for now, possibly for the future, taking it all in to consideration.”

Trustee Joseph Senerchia reminded those present there were other views in the community. He said board members had responded to “eighty-something emails, some of which are in the room, most of which are not” and their voices would be listened to as well.

“We represent everyone,” said Lapey. “There’s nothing politically motivated about this.”

In other business, Lapey swore in Shecore Speid as a Pelham Manor police officer. Speid attended the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He worked in New York City as a corrections officer and has been serving in the Mount Vernon Police Department since 2019.

Police Commissioner and Trustee Breda Bennett said the police department and Pelham Together would hold a meet and greet for children and parents on Nov. 11 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. that will include components of the You and Me program for children with special needs.