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Leaf-Blower Enforcement


Monday, March 25, 2013

I have received the following letter from Mayor Schneider to my letter regarding enforcement of the city ban on gas-powered leaf blowers.

First, my apologies for the delay in this response. I have been thinking about your comments and asking for ideas on how to better enforce this law that was passed by voters fifteen years ago.

As you know, most of the City’s zoning and building code rules are enforced on a complaint basis. The gasoline leaf-blower ban works in the same way. Unlike building and zoning violations that don’t move around, the challenge with this particular rule is that by the time anyone with enforcement powers respond to this type of complaint, usually the person using the gas-powered blower has left the area.

You bring up some good ideas below, especially as they relate to educating the public about the law. I doubt if the City is legally allowed to confiscate someone’s property, as you suggest; however giving them a ticket on the spot for violating the law could be possible. I would bet that many people don’t even realize they are violating a city law when using a gas-powered leaf blower because they don’t know it even exists. So, yes, the City could remind key property owners and landscape gardeners about the rules. Specifically, I have talked with city staff about these potential methods of communication:

* Add reminder in the water bill insert - mailed to property owners in the City.

* Include as a regular part of the Green Gardener Program curriculum.

* Produce a short PSA to play on Channel 18 and ask SBTV to run the PSA.

* Send a letter to landscape business owners with a City business license.

* Produce a printable information sheet in Spanish & English on city website.

* Remind Police Beat Coordinators and Patrol officers of this law and enforce it when they come upon it.

I am including key city department heads to this e-mail so they too can read your comments. As I mentioned, I’ve talked with some of them and can follow up to see what’s feasible from this list - or perhaps with some other ideas.

Thank you for your persistence on this issue.

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