Opposition builds against gas leaf blower ban
Landscape companies met at City Hall and now the ban scheduled to take effect on July 1 will be up for discussion at the next City Commission meeting
Jan. 26, 2024
By Beth Kassab
Representatives from landscape companies met Thursday with Mayor Phil Anderson and City Manager Randy Knight in an effort to blunt what they say will be a financial hardship brought by a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers set to be enforced starting this summer.
A city spokeswoman said a discussion on the topic will be scheduled for the next City Commission meeting on Feb. 14.
The ban, which is aimed at reducing noise from the machines as well as emissions that are harmful to the environment, was passed in 2022, though the City Commission opted to delay enforcement until July 1 of this year to give residents and companies time to transition to electric and battery-powered equipment.
But people representing the landscaping companies said few in the industry knew about the upcoming change until recently and have not prepared.
Earlier this month, commissioners passed a $50 rebate in the form of a utility bill credit for residents who purchase electric leaf blowers.
But that does little to help the companies that serve thousands of lawns in Winter Park and use industrial level blowers that can cost $1,300.
In addition to concerns over the cost of the new equipment, landscapers have said the battery powered devices will slow down their work because they are less powerful, require charging and are heavier on workers’ backs.
“To comply with this law, more equipment on the trailer means more fuel costs to haul that equipment,” read one flyer that asks people to join in opposition to the ban. “This will result in higher costs to the homeowners and the landscaping companies purchasing and running generators to charge the blowers’ batteries.”
In Florida, Naples and Miami Beach have also approved bans. The Washington Post reported recently that cities across the country have put similar bans on gas leaf blowers into place such as Washington, D.C, and Evanston, Ill. California is set to begin enforcing a statewide ban on the sale of new gas-powered lawn equipment. Naples also enacted a ban.
Electric equipment is healthier for humans and the environment because there are fewer toxic emissions and comes without the jarring buzzsaw-like grind of a gas engine.