Letter: Proposed gas leaf blower ban is inequitable 

April 20, 2023

Taking care of a Concord yard for 33 years has been a pleasure and as a senior citizen power tools are more helpful than ever. After careful research, I voluntarily exercised consumer choice and switched to a battery string trimmer, a small battery chainsaw, a heat pump and solar panels. 

My research suggests that the capabilities of battery backpack blowers do not match gas backpack blowers in effectiveness, convenience and cost. A ban that includes exemptions for town government, schools and country clubs is evidence that battery blower technology is not adequate or cost effective at this time.

Scientific breakthroughs in battery technology will make battery powered blowers comparable in performance and cost with gas powered equipment. However to pick an arbitrary date to enact a ban seems like guesswork and is inconsistent with fact based decision making.

Equally important, it is not equitable to target homeowners and their professional landscapers with a ban while providing an apparently necessary exemption for special groups including Concord Public Works. Any ban that includes exemptions for some yet excludes others is inconsistent with the principle of equal treatment for all. 

Prior to voting on Article 37 please ask yourself if it is fair to exempt some while ruling that others cannot use their legally purchased equipment. Also, please consider the possible unintended consequences from a ban such as noisy truck mounted gas generators to charge batteries, loud wheeled gas blowers, increased yard care costs and legal challenges. If a ban relies on neighbors to report violations and utilizes limited town resources to enforce compliance an adversarial environment may occur.

In time battery powered equipment may become broadly useful, until then education, incentives, patience, and courteous dialogue among neighbors to establish voluntary guidelines may be a better approach than a ban.

Scott H. Gillis

Alford Circle