Updated at 1:53 p.m. April 8

WESTFIELD, NJ — Landscapers operating within the town will have to register with the public works department and pay a $50 fee.

The town council approved the new rule by a unanimous vote Tuesday. Officials said the registration is so the town can inform landscapers about the municipality’s rules and regulations and better address specific resident concerns. The new regulation does not itself include any provisions specific to leaf blowers, said Councilman Mark Parmelee, who chairs the code review and town property committee.

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“As for leaf blowers themselves, that’s not part of the ordinance itself, but we recognize that’s something that is a quality-of-life issue, and it’s something we continue to monitor,” Parmelee said.

He said that in addition to informing landscapers of its rules about disposal of leaves and branches — something that had previously been an issue — the measure allows the town to better address other concerns, including those about invasive species.

“It also allows the town to more timely and effectively address specific resident concerns,” Parmelee said.

As was the case previously, the regulation prohibits landscapers from placing leaves, sticks, branches, grass clippings or other materials along public streets and other places except for at the Conservation Center, except from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, during which the town’s annual fall leaf pickup occurs.

The annual $50 fee for registering to operate in Westfield would be waived for landscapers who have already paid to use the Conservation Center.

Landscapers will continue pay a fee of up to $15 per cubic yard of leaves that they dispose of at the Conservation Center. As detailed on the town’s website, the fee was set at $7 per cubic yard in 2020, town spokeswoman Kim Forde said.

“This optional registration for landscapers to utilize the Conservation Center has been in place since 2017 and is separate from the registration to conduct landscaping and tree removal business in town addressed in the new ordinance,” Forde said on Thursday.

Under the local law, people who are providing landscaping services “on a casual or part-time basis” do not have to register as long as they live in Westfield and do not use a commercial registered vehicle to transport their equipment — a provision that a man addressing the council Tuesday objected to.

Rob Dalgliesh, a resident of Prospect Street, told the council that he doesn’t want to be forced to use a commercial landscaper instead of a private landscaper because of the ordinance.

“I don’t want to be forced into using a commercial company that already has this [registration] because of this ordinance,” Dalgiesh said.

Officials characterized the registration fee as nominal.

“There is a basic level of registration required under this ordinance,” said Town Attorney Tom Jardim. “It’s not intended to be onerous. It’s intended to allow the town to track commercial operators that are doing business in our town.”

Approval of the measure came on the same evening that the local government heard from a resident of Manchester Drive, who raised concerns about noise from landscaping equipment.

Willliam Conroy said that he used a cell phone application to measure the decibel level of the sounds on his street.

“They were double what the current ordinance really is, but we weren’t really sure what we’re supposed to be doing about that,” he said.

Officials advised that he should call the municipal building at 908-789-4040 so that his complaint could be forwarded to the proper department.

“Oftentimes, our police department will be enforcing,” said Jardim, who added: “You should just call town hall.”

Email Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net | Twitter: @MattKadosh

Correction: A prior version of this story incorrectly described protocol for curbside placement of yard waste and a fee landscapers pay for leaf disposal. Yard waste continues to be prohibited from being placed in the street at any time. Leaves may continue to be placed curbside by residents and landscapers Nov. 1 – Dec. 15. While the ordinance permits the town to charge up to $15, the fee for landscapers to dump leaves at the Conservation Center was only set at $7 in 2020.

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