Newport council moves forward on banning leaf blowers

NEWPORT BEACH -- Gardeners will no longer be able to use gas-powered leaf blowers in Newport Beach, once an ordinance the City Council approved Tuesday takes effect.

After the council members’ lengthy discussion and the failure of a motion to also ban electric blowers, the council voted 4 to 3 to force groundskeepers to use a more quiet method to collect leaves and debris.

“I hate blowers,” Councilman Rush Hill said. “They just drive us crazy in our house.”

Hill is not alone in the city -- residents in Corona del Mar organized a petition in 2009 and surveyed their neighbors. Their complaints were wide-ranging, including debris falling into the storm drains.

“It’s not just the noise,” Councilwoman Nancy Gardner said. “For many people, it’s about kicking up all the dust.”

Gardner proposed banning all blowers, including electric ones, but that was voted down 3 to 4.

In the final proposal, the council gave homeowners associations the ability to opt out of the ban. 

The ban will start six months after the council formally approves the ordinance, which will likely be within the next two council meetings.