Letter: Transition leaf blowers fairly

March 30, 2023

Gas-powered leaf blowers have become an essential tool for maintaining landscapes in a variety of Concord settings. Article 37, a Citizen Petition, would ban the use of these machines, claiming that electric blowers are now at technological parity.

Residents’ concern about the noise that gas machines make is understandable. Most look forward to using comparable electric versions in the near future. However, the facts are that electric leaf blower technology does not yet equal the performance and longevity of gas blowers. Moreover, electric leaf blower costs are considerably higher. Being forced to use sub-par electric blowers now would drive up prices for users and landscaping customers significantly.

There is a possibility that the petitioner may agree to carve out certain sectors of leaf blower users and make them exempt from this ban for another five years. This carve-out could include: residential owners of large lots of 1.5 acres or more, the CPW, the Light Plant, both public and private schools, commercial properties that use landscapers, the Housing Authority, golf clubs, sportsman clubs, etc.

In short, five-year exemptions for everyone except the owners of more modest homes who take care of their own properties and the landscapers that they may employ. This hardly seems to be an equitable way to share the burden.

Moreover, the idea of trying to impose a “ban”, instead of working collaboratively towards a solution, flies in the face of Concord’s democratic ideals. For example, electric cars are growing in popularity and are projected to make up the majority of sales by 2030. Yet no one is suggesting that we ‘ban’ gas-powered vehicles.

Please help reject this ill-conceived Article by attending Town Meeting on April 30 and voting, “NO” on Article 37.

Richard Monaghan

Hubbard Street