‘Quiet Montclair’ Seeks To Reduce Gas Leaf Blower Use in Montclair

MONTCLAIR, NJ — A group called Quiet Montclair is making some noise about gas leaf blower use.

A group of like-minded Montclair residents, who don’t like the noise that gas leaf blowers create, have launched a campaign and a website (www.quietmontclair.org) to raise awareness of the negative impact gas leaf blowers have and to promote quieter, healthier, greener alternatives.

The timing is right as the ban on leaf blower use ends on September 30; expect to hear more noise during your next Zoom meeting or your child’s math class soon.

“The noise generated by gas-powered leaf blowers is extremely loud and travels for long distances, pervading entire neighborhoods on a daily basis,” said Peter Holm, a 2nd Ward resident and spokesperson for Quiet Montclair. “Environmental noise has well-documented negative effects on the ability of individuals to concentrate and be productive, as well as on children’s ability to learn. With so many Montclair residents working from home or attending school remotely, now is the time to address this problem in a serious way.”

“We hope that Montclair residents will take a few minutes to explore our site and learn more about how damaging gas leaf blowers are,” said Leah Katz, a Quiet Montclair member. “They are not only a nuisance. The noise and pollution create genuine health risks, firstly for the workers themselves but also for residents.”

Quiet Montclair promotes a range of alternatives, including rakes and battery-powered leaf blowers, which now compete very well with gas machines in power and longevity and cost less to operate. The website’s Quiet Alternatives page also highlights the environmental and horticultural benefits of “leaving some leaves” in yards and gardens to build soil health, protect plants, and support beneficial wildlife.

Montclair residents have a long tradition of speaking out against leaf blowers.

Quiet Montclair continues the tradition but is encouraging residents to take action, such as reducing their own use of gas leaf blowers, asking landscapers they employ to use alternative tools, contacting the Township to request better enforcement of the law, and adding their names to Quiet Montclair’s list of supporters at www.quietmontclair.org.

The group also seeks to identify and promote local landscaping companies that offer high-quality lawn services without the use of gas leaf blowers.

“The rapid advance of battery technology in recent years has created an opportunity for landscapers to gain a competitive advantage by offering a low-noise, zero-emissions service while saving money on maintenance and operating costs,” Holm said. “We believe there is a strong market in Montclair and surrounding towns for that kind of service.”

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8 COMMENTS

  1. This would be an easier suggestion to swallow if it was easier to get rid of landscaping debris. Leaves must be bagged in the autumn and on many properties this is an enormous task. In other places that I have lived leaves could be piled at the curb and the town would collect. Not here. Generally yard debris is remarkably hard to dispose of in Montclair, encouraging homeowners to use landscapers. Why not make disposal easier?
    Meanwhile the assertion that electric leaf lowers are anywhere close to gas powered in terms of effectiveness for a commercial landscaper is, to put it simply, untrue.
    Are leafblowers a bit annoying? Yes. Banning them will lead to other issues for residents. Let’s look at the whole issue before talking about restrictions.

  2. I support a ban on any landscape maintenance equipment over a certain decibel level and addresses the decibel levels of multiple devices operating simultaneously. This is a no-brainer goal. The technology is there. There is an added cost there, too – which is a good thing.

    I would support an ordnance passed now, but with a 2023 effective start date. This will give manufacturers/the marketplace more than enough time to bring products to market and set prices. Timing is the key negotiating point.

    Also, we need more time to address our fairly ineffective tree ordinance & enforcement. More and more people are clearing their properties of healthy trees because of landscaping costs, to free up space, and to eliminate the risk of falling limbs.

  3. Frank, You are on to something. Cut down all the trees in town and there will be no need for leaf blowers. Easy…problem solved.

  4. Intuitively, one would think. Actually, it becomes more of a problem as leaf blowers increasingly become a disenfanchised minority. Montclair’s Blue Wave Angst kicks in and then we blah, blah, blah. Montclair’s Developers add their support for the leaf blower ban in exchange for increasing building coverage/acre…and front yard parking. All trees bring is disease, leaves & their slippery sidewalks (& slippery railroad tracks) sunlight deprivation, squirrels, woodpeckers, etc. Seriously, there is a lot to hate about trees. Don’t even get me started on the Amazon…suburbia is not like the rainforest.

  5. If you are skeptical about the feasibility of using battery-electric tools instead of gas-powered, we encourage you to read some of the research we’ve collected on our site. In particular, check out the Quiet Alternatives page (www.quietmontclair.org/quiet-alternatives). Industry has made enormous improvements in battery technology in the past decade, and what was true about power comparability even a year or two ago is not true today.

    Regardless, residents have the right to quiet enjoyment of their own homes and to a local environment that doesn’t pose undue health risks. Many people find the noise and pollution more than “a bit annoying.” Competing interests need to be balanced against each other in a rational and responsive way, and we believe the status quo is no longer achieving that. So we hope to move the conversation forward. Thanks for engaging with the post!

  6. Montclair has a big problem with leaf blowers. When I moved here I had no idea how they would be this constant presence that we’d hear. Noise, noise, noise. And every year there are more leaf blowers and they do not respect the town’s rules (plus there is no enforcement and the town even gets an exemption!).

    There are electric, battery powered leaf blowers that are much quieter. Lawn mowers are quieter too (mine is battery powered and I feel bad for my neighbors who struggle with theirs every year), if you are a homeowner and the leaves are on your lawn, just pass the mower over them, problem solved. One thing I’ve noticed from traveling extensively, people here seem very afraid of everything natural. If your lawn is covered with leaves, sure I get it, you don’t want it die, rake them off. But I’ve seen people get out the leaf blower when there are literally a few leaves on their driveway or walk. What’s up with that? The season is called “Fall,” right?

  7. Sure wish we had some limits on gas leaf blowers here in Glen Ridge. Working from home as so many of us are now makes me want to open the windows and get some fresh air, but it’s impossible with all the landscaping noise. Let’s make quietglenridge.org happen!

  8. I find it ironic that people move to towns with big leafy trees, sprawling lawns, and then complain about landscapers. Gambling in Casablanca?!? I’m shocked! Keeping yards tidy and beautiful for us to enjoy doesn’t happen by itself. If you move next to a factory there will be noise. If you move to a leafy dense suburb there will be landscaper noise. Don’t buy or rent with only looking on Saturday and Sunday.

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