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The Seal of Arlington, MA

2008 Common Cause Award Recipient
2008 Common Cause Award Recipient
2007 Common Cause Award Recipient
2012 Special Town Meeting Leaf Blower Committee
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January 14, 2013 Public Meeting Preface and Documents
Arlington’s 2012 Annual Town Meeting (A.T.M.) voted to amend the Noise Abatement section of the town bylaws (specifically, Article 12 of Title V) by adding the paragraph “The use of gas powered leaf blowers on private property is prohibited between May 15th and October 15th.”

The Special Town Meeting of October 2012 established this committee to “study and make recommendations” to the 2013 A.T.M. on “whether and to what extent” the Noise Abatement bylaw should be amended “to modify, remove, or otherwise adjust restrictions on the use of gas-powered leaf blowers.”

To fulfill this responsibility, our committee has considered various ways that leaf blowers may be regulated, and we find that they fall into categories (in no particular order):
  • type of machine, fuel, and the maximum amount of noise emitted as measured in decibels
  • dates of use or non-use on a yearly calendar
  • times of use or non-use within the work week, weekends, Sundays, holidays
  • operator, public employee or private party
  • places of use, public or private property
  • places of use, upon properties of designated sizes, and the number of machines used simultaneously
  • duration of use and intensity of use
The 2013 A.T.M. may wish to leave the present Noise Abatement bylaw unchanged, with the existing restriction on gas leaf blowers going into effect on May 15. The meeting may wish to remove this restriction, or it may wish “to modify…or otherwise adjust” it. The latter choice could involve different specific restrictions drawn from the categories above, or from other categories that members of public may propose.

We offer the following text(s) of proposed amendment to the Noise Abatement bylaw as one way these various restrictions could be assembled into a matrix of regulation.

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