MAPLEWOOD, NJ —Maplewood Mayor Vic De Luca and fellow township committee members met to pass an ordinance banning commercial, gas-powered leaf blowers from May 15 through Sept. 30 annually.
The meeting was heavily attended by landscaping professionals. Over a dozen spoke about the parameters of the ban being "unfair" or "illogical," and several of them blamed the town for not enforcing the previous ban on any leaf blower louder than 65 dB.
“Code enforcement doesn’t go after the Department of Public Works for failing to wear hard hats,” one landscaper claimed. “Why should they police us for the equipment we use instead?”
Another landscaper accused the town of giving the Board of Education and the Maplewood Country Club a “free pass” to use industrial, gas-powered blowers on their properties. He pointed out that the ban only applies to third-party landscaping companies.
Maplewood Township Committee member Greg Lembrich elaborated that property owners are not subject to the ban. However, he did stipulate that if any public properties contracted an external landscaping company, the company would still be fined for using gas-powered leaf blowers.
Several Maplewood residents also attended the meeting in order to voice their support of the ban.
“As a nurse and a mother, I know how detrimental it is to walk outside with my kids while these pesticides are in the air,” said one resident. “The noise is also an issue when I’m putting my kids down for nap-time far too frequently.”
“In order to protect our people and our environment, this is the correct ordinance,” added Maplewood Township Committee member Frank McGehee.
All Maplewood Township Committee members shared their support of the ban, and they voted unanimously to ratify the ban.
“It is an insult now for the third week in a row that you’re coming up here and blaming the town for not enforcing the previous ordinance,” said De Luca. “I was mayor 14 years ago when the original compromise was made between landscapers and homeowners. Unfortunately, the landscaping community did not uphold their end of the bargain.”
Other ordinances passed included:
The annual dwelling unit rate for sanitary sewer charges will remain $184, with an additional $10 charge for deferred maintenance in 2017 bringing the total cost to $194.
Liberty Mechanical Contractors, Inc., has been awarded the contract to replace the police building flue pipe.
Resolution adopting an anti-harassment, intimidation, and bullying policy for the Maplewood Recreation Department.
The Maplewood Township Committee will meet again on Tuesday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the Maplewood Municipal Building.