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A Split Coronado Council Votes To Ban Gas Leaf Blowers

A landscaper uses an electric leaf blower in Coronado, Oct. 18, 2019.

Photo by Matt Hoffman

Above: A landscaper uses an electric leaf blower in Coronado, Oct. 18, 2019.

The Coronado City Council this week voted 3-2 to ban gas-powered leaf blowers, with the majority saying the noisy machines contribute to climate change and harm quality of life in the affluent town.

"We live in a small town and it can get kind of noisy here. We’ve got helicopters, we’ve got airplanes we’ve got a lot of cars those are our big issues," said Councilman Whitney Benzian who proposed the ordinance. "This is one of the small things we can do to mitigate that sound."

Listen to this story by Matt Hoffman.

Beginning in January, the only legal blowers will be the much quieter electric ones.

RELATED: Coronado Puts The Brakes On All Future Bike Lanes After Resident Complaints

Reported by Matt Hoffman

Enforcement of the ordinance would be based on complaints to the police, who could give offenders a warning or a fine. Mayor Richard Bailey, who was one of the no votes, said police have better things to do with their time.

"If our police officers have enough time to respond to these calls about potential illegal gas-powered leaf blowers operating in our community I’d much rather prefer them spending time somewhere else," Bailey said.

Bailey added that he is unclear exactly what problem this is solving.

"If the objective is to improve air quality then why stop at gas powered leaf blowers why not move to gas power lawn mowers or weed whips?"

The law is not popular with landscapers, who say the electric blowers create logistical problems. Thorson Peters, who owns Thorson’s Lawn Care, says switching to electric is not worth it to him.

"For me to run electric I would have to have a generator and I’m out on the road all day so there’s no way for me to recharge my tools," he said.

Benzian said the community supports the idea.

"Some for environmental reasons, some for like I said because it’s noise pollution," he said. "It’s really a quality of life issue for our community."

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Aired: October 21, 2019 | Transcript

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Photo of Matt Hoffman

Matt Hoffman
General Assignment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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