Leaf Blowers – New Local Law At its June 19, 2018 meeting, the Town Board adopted a local law on the use of leaf blowers. The Board worked for months with the Leaf Blowers Task Force and staff and relied heavily on feedback from members of the community, especially those who considered the too stringent some ideas being reviewed. The Board adopted hours and days of use which are uniform throughout the Town. The Board rejected certain more stringent provisions, such as complete bans, licensing of landscapers, requirement to obtain a permit, shorter leaf season. There are two special rules for Hamlet Zones (see below), which are primarily smaller lots and based on zoning districts, otherwise Hamlet Zones are treated the same as the rest of the Town. The following is a quick summary table:
|EFFECTIVE AUGUST 15, 2018:|
|Hours Permitted for Leaf Season (September 16 through May 14)||Hours Permitted Off Season (May 15 through September 15)|
|Weekdays 8:00 AM through 6:00 PM||Weekdays, 9:00 AM through 5:00 PM|
|Saturdays and Holidays: 10:00 AM through 4:00 PM (no Sundays)||Saturdays and Holidays: 10:00 AM through 4:00 PM (no Sundays)|
|SPECIAL RULES FOR HAMLET ZONES|
|Year round: one leaf blower at a time and no push-behind blowers|
|Off -season (effective 2019): no gas powered blowers during off season|
To print out the regulations regarding the leaf blower law, or to read some tips on talking points, go here:
Reusable Bags – New Local Law Following a public hearing, the Town Board at its June 5, 2018 meeting adopted a local law patterned after the law in Suffolk County and accompanying resolutions:
- Effective April 1, 2019, stores with more than 5,000 square feet of ground floor retail space are required to charge a fee of 10c for either a single-use plastic bag or paper grocery bag for customers who arrive at the check-out counter without a reusable bag. This would cover ShopRite, Key Foods, DeCiccos, Pier I, CVS and Kohl’s. Small stores will not be covered, as the Reusable Bag Task Force determined that such stores distribute few single-use bags which are the subject of the law.
- Between now and the April 1, 2019 effective date, the Town will widely publicize and promote the use of reusable bags in partnership with the stores, Bedford 2020, other community organizations and schools.
- ShopRite has pledged to distribute during the ramp up period up to 6,200 reusable bags to its customers without any charge and DeCicco’s and Key Foods have pledged to distribute reusable bags for 25c each (free to a customer spending $50 or more) for the next six months.
- The Town Board has converted the Reusable Bag Task Force as a permanent, standing committee advisory to the Town Board which will be instrumental in implementing the new law. It also will monitor the progress of the program, set a baseline and benchmarks and advise the Town Board on recommended revisions in the law, including whether to consider a ban on single-use plastic bags if the program has not succeeded. Here is the new local law and the resolution which empanels the RBTF as a permanent committee.
The certified Resolution, Law and SEQRA forms
Reusable Bags Task Force
The Town Board appointed a Reusable Bag Task Force comprised of all members of the Town Board, serving as ex-officio members, and Allison Chernow, Filippine Hoogland (who serves as chair), Ellen Calves (who serves as vice chair), Diane “Pink” Pincus, and Rosemary Lee. The Task Force is planning outreach and broader education as a way to ease the community into the April launch. This includes working with smaller stores (unaffected by the law) to increase education and working with larger stores on signage and education. The Task Force will distribute reusable bags, establish ‘Take a bag, Leave a bag’ stations at public locations, and collect data about bag use before, during and after the ramp up period and April 1 to decide whether the education and the fee are successfully reducing single-use bag usage. The Task Force meets monthly and if you are interested in joining or have any questions please contact Filippine Hoogland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for the Power Point Presentation. As earlier reported, together with Filippine de Haan, who chairs the Reusable Bag Task Force, I hosted The Town of Bedford is in the information gathering phase and will continue to work with other municipalities.
Leaf Blowers Task Force
More than eight years ago, several Bedford residents launched Leave Leaves Alone, an initiative to encourage residents to adopt safer, cleaner gardening practices, including replacing the practice of blowing leaves from a lawn with mulching. While many residents switched to mulching, the use of leaf blowers throughout the years appears to have increased. In March of 2017, Leave Leaves Alone co-founder Fiona Mitchell and other residents approached the Town Board asking that the Board consider adopting a local law addressing leaf blower use due to their noise, emissions and other adverse environmental impacts (click here). Many Westchester County municipalities have already adopted ordinances regulating leaf blowers, ranging from seasonal bans to restrictions on the times of day during which leaf blowers may be used, and other towns are following suit. Westchester Leaf Blower Laws
The Town Board, on December 19, 2017, appointed a Leaf Blowers Task Force (LBTF) comprised of all members of the Town Board, (ex-officio), Ms. Mitchell and Teresa Donkin as co-chairs, and other residents. The Task Force’s charge was to help inform and frame a proposed ordinance for the Town of Bedford. Considering the scientific evidence concerning air quality, human health and the environment, comments from the public, feedback from enforcement and town officials and the advice and input from landscapers, the Task Force worked with the Board in the spring of 2018, to refine and formulate a proposal to restrict the use of leaf blowers. The Town Board passed the Leaf Blower Use Law on June 17. It will become effective in phases beginning August 15, 2018.
The Leaf Blower Task Force was reappointed by the Town Board in July 2018 and has been re-charged to support the Town in achieving a smooth implementation for residents and landscapers alike by communicating and informing the public about the purpose and benefits of the new law. The reconstituted Task Force is co-chaired by Fiona Mitchell and Helene Kopal, and staffed by Clare Sherwood, Midge Iorio, Betsy Weir, and Ken Hubener, a professional landscaper and Bedford resident. Town Board member Kate Galligan serves as the Board’s liaison to the Task Force.
The Task Force is actively seeking new members and is encouraging any resident or Bedford business person to join in the effort to facilitate the implementation of the leaf blower ordinance. We are also keenly interested in hearing your comments and ask that you provide them by email, here.
Westchester County law requires that landscaping contractors be registered with the County and that leaf blowers meet County emissions regulations. For further information please see https://consumer.westchestergov.com/consumer-laws/leaf-blowers.
For more information: Click here for the FAQs