Culver City Passes Leaf Blower Ban
Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, was interested to learn that cleaning up after yard work, storms, and all the fallen leaves of autumn will be getting a little quieter, if not more difficult, for the community of Culver City. At the July Culver City City Council meeting the council effectively banned the sale and use of leaf blowers that produce sound above 65 decibels. The leaf blower ban will take effect in five years.
Speakers at the meeting mostly spoke in favor of the leaf blower ban. The average leaf blower produces 70-75 decibels of sound at a distance of 50 feet. This means that at closer ranges the sound is considerably louder. Though the sound is generally not dangerous to hearing at distance—hearing damage occurs at 85 decibels and above—it can be a nuisance for neighbors and businesses in the area.
Chamber of Commerce President Steven Rose spoke in favor of the ban, weighing in on the side of the residents in attendance. He was not in favor of the ban on the sale of leaf blowers however. He pointed out that people could just go “across the street into Los Angeles” and buy leaf blowers there. The ban on the sale of leaf blowers would harm Culver City businesses without any real payout or upside to that part of the law.
City Officials were not in favor of the ban. Report projections suggest it will take workers five times longer to do the same job with a broom that they now do with a blower. All of these extra man-hours by parks and city facilities staff would cost the city $1 million more than it costs them now.
These projections were put to the test a couple of weeks ago at Fox Hills Park. Rather than use a blower, a city employee was sent to sweep the sidewalks and sports courts. Eventually the employee called to complain that the job was talking hours longer than usual, and that he was unable to get the sports courts clear using only a broom. A crew was sent to the park to assist using a blower and they were finished in 15 minutes.
Efficiency was not the only concern that City Officials had. They called into question the city’s ability to enforce such a leaf blower ban. The worry was not unfounded as Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica, and Beverly Hills have all reported problems with the enforcement of their bans. Staff members in those communities have reported that the ban was mostly ignored and that if complaints were made, the perpetrators were usually gone by the time law enforcement showed up.
Beside city officials, councilmember Goran Eriksson also did not support the ban. He viewed it as a waste of time and that ultimately it would make people “feel good” but accomplish nothing of worth, while hurting business owners.
Regardless of the opposition though, the leaf blower ban—both sale and use of—passed on a 3-2 vote. Mayor Cooper and Councilmember Eriksson were the two members who opposed. There is no word yet on when the ban will specifically take effect, or how the city plans to come up with $1 million to fund sweeping.
Martin Feinberg, Realtor, understands that reasonable people can and often do disagree about the best way to accomplish important objectives. Making the Culver City Real Estate area the best possible place to live requires everyone working together for the common good. Time will tell if the leaf blower ban achieves its goals.