Pelham Manor board abandons plan for leaf-blower ban, sets limits instead

At least for now, the Village of Pelham Manor Board of Trustees has abandoned a proposed plan to ban gas-powered leaf blowers in 2024, instead unanimously passing a local law introduced Monday that limits their use starting in April.

Under a draft local law discussed at a public hearing Oct. 25, the village would have barred the use of the gas-powered machines on Jan. 1, 2024, after allowing their operating in 2023 during certain months.

But it was all changed this week, with a different version of the law introduced for its own public hearing. The change was not noted in the board’s public meeting notice.

Aside from voting, none of the village board members addressed the decision to drop the all-out ban on the gas-powered devices.

The new law allows internal combustion blowers to be used from Oct. 15 to Dec. 15 and March 15 to April 15 on Tuesdays through Fridays 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. Exceptions in the law include a five-day free period to use the machines after a storm and in emergency operations.

A few residents at the public hearing suggested mulching as an alternative to blowing leaves, while Steven Shekane expressed frustration that generators were limited in the law.

During the Oct. 25 hearing on the proposed ban, several speakers highlighted what they said were problems with electric-blower technology, including the inefficiency of batteries, longer times to clean yards and the increased costs to homeowners. Others had spoken in support of ending the use of gas-powered machines because of the noise and emissions they produce.

Mayor Jennifer Monachino Lapey said the state had allowed the village to place red-light cameras at the Pelhamdale-Boston Post Road intersection. Because Boston Post Road is a state route, New York had to weight in.

A public hearing on the placement of the cameras, Local Law 6, will be held during the board’s regular meeting Dec. 13.