Attorney general approves leaf-blower ban

On Thursday, July 20, Marblehead Chief of Police Dennis King, Town Administrator Thatcher Kezer, and Health Director Andrew Petty released a joint statement on the Police Department’s Facebook page stating that the Massachusetts attorney general had approved the summer gas-powered leaf-blower ban, effective from Memorial Day until Labor Day.

In the statement, King said the bylaw will take effect “upon the town clerk’s compliance with G. L. c 40 §32.” Electric leaf blowers will still be permitted.

At Town Meeting 2022, a bylaw banning the use of gas leaf blowers from Memorial Day until Labor Day was passed in an effort to reduce decibel levels in the town. At Town Meeting in May of this year, an article trying to reverse the ban was presented, but was ultimately voted down, and another article passed by a vote of 246 to 165 that enforces fines for those who use gas-powered leaf blowers during the ban.

According to the enforcement bylaw, a written warning will be issued for a first offense, followed by a fine of $100 for a second violation, and $200 for a third violation and any thereafter. Each violation will constitute a separate violation.

Homeowners will ultimately be responsible for the fines, but landscapers who are in violation of the bylaw will be required to stop.

“Many will ask, ‘Can I report violators now to the Marblehead Police and Health departments?’ The answer is ‘yes,'” the statement reads. “The bylaw and enforcement mechanism are both in place, and will allow for violators to be addressed. Note: Response time may be affected by priority emergency calls.”

The prohibition bylaw states that the ban will take place during the specified time frame each year. The use of gas-powered leaf blowers will be permitted for the rest of the year. In the event of a town emergency, the bylaw reads that a representative, chosen by the Select Board, will be permitted to use gas-powered leaf blowers “at any time.”