Wednesday | Proposed Ban on Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers on Council Agenda

An ordinance will be considered for a second time Wednesday at South Pasadena City Hall when the meeting gets underway at 7 p.m.

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | South Pasadena City Council 2021

A key issue comes before the South Pasadena City Council Wednesday night as it considers a proposed ban on gas-powered leaf blowers in the city.

The City Council will consider the ordinance for a second time when it meets at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

On July 7, councilmembers conducted a first reading on the topic, which included a lengthy discussion, comments from the public, with city staff asked in the end to follow-up by conducting further comprehensive research and analysis.

Requested information by the council will include information from other cities in handling similar bans, the history of gas-powered leaf-blower regulations in South Pasadena, and planned efforts for a detailed public outreach effort to educate independent gardeners and the public. Those concerns are expected to come up during Wednesday’s meeting.

Technically, what’s in front of the council is a first reading and introduction of an ordinance, amending chapter 19A (Noise Regulation) and chapter 1 (General Provisions) of the South Pasadena municipal code to prohibit the use of gas-powered leaf-blowers within the city.

City staff presented the initial draft ordinance to the Natural Resources and Environmental Commission (NREC) in May.

According to a city report, the NREC proposed an amendment to the draft language emphasizing that property owners or tenants will be responsible for violations of the ordinance, as opposed to gardeners and landscapers originally included in the draft.

The NREC also stressed the importance of a comprehensive outreach program to encourage gardeners and the public to comply with the ordinance prior to its implementation on October 1, 2022.

“Gas-powered leaf blowers are major emitters of air pollution, emitting as much volatile organic compound pollution in one hour as a 2017 Toyota Camry emits driving from South Pasadena to Denver,” explained Bill Kelly, a member of the NREC. “Gardeners are most affected by the emissions from the gas-powered blowers that they wear on their backs.  They experience the highest noise level all day long, day after day, for years.  They also breathe the toxic and smog forming exhaust fumes.”

He pointed out that the South Coast Air Quality Management District offers a 75 percent rebate for individuals purchasing new leaf blowers, adding: “The City of South Pasadena will help gardeners access this money.”

Those looking to comment on the issue have until Wednesday, August 18 at noon to submit written comments to: ccpubliccomment@southpasadenaca.gov. In person comments can be made during the meeting. South Pasadena City Hall is at 1424 Mission Street, in the city or on zoom by going to: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/82599992830?pwd=ekRhNnNoTnIxOHV4RUplS2pUQllCZz09  Simply raise your hand during the agenda item.