MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The Maplewood Township Committee passed an ordinance on second reading at its April 19 meeting that bans the use of gas-powered leaf blowers in town, a week before the South Orange Board of Trustees did the same thing in its town. Approved unanimously, the ban will take effect on Jan. 1, 2023, and will not allow the blowers to be used at any point during the year.
Committeewoman Nancy Adams noted that the ordinance had been on the council’s agenda in the past, most notably in 2016 and 2017, when there was strong opposition to it being passed. Adams has been an advocate for the ban and for other environmentally friendly policies in Maplewood. No members of the public elected to speak for or against the ordinance at the meeting.
“This is a very big deal to me, and an amazing thing given the two hours of public comment at every meeting in 2016 and 2017 that this was on the agenda,” Adams said at the meeting. “It’s quite astonishing that there are no public comments now.”
Mayor Dean Dafis credited Adams with bringing the ordinance to the table and helping to usher it through the process of being enacted, saying the town has come a long way on several environmental issues.
“It’s because of your leadership that we are where we are here, and it’s because of your dedication and commitment to this issue,” Dafis said at the meeting. “Everything that had to be said was said, and now we’re taking the right action.”
Electric and battery-powered leaf blowers will still be permitted between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Monday through Friday and between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Sunday use is prohibited.
Turbine blowers — equipment that is connected to a small tractor or golf cart and is used to blow large volumes of air — will be permitted between May 1 and Sept. 30 of each year. They can be used between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.
For a first offense in violating the ordinance, a person will be fined $500. A second offense will cost $1,000, and a third offense will cost $1,500 and the loss of a license to perform work within the township. There will also be fines of $100, $200 or $500 for those who deposit leaves into the street more than seven days before a regular Department of Public Works pickup.