Summers in backcountry and Round Hill in 2024 will be quieter and air quality will be healthier than in past years. The Representative Town Meeting (RTM) on 1/16/24 voted to enact a new town-wide noise ordinance with an amendment to prohibit gas-powered leaf blower usage on residential property from June through August and into parts of September. With this seasonal ban, Greenwich follows Westport, CT in recently curbing this lawn care practice.
The town has been without a noise ordinance since early December when the Board of Health repealed an existing noise ordinance without addressing the growing issue of loud leaf blowers. The Board of Selectmen, which now oversees noise issues, referred the decision to the RTM on determining gas-powered leaf blower inclusion.
The details of the ordinance reinstatement with the new gas power leaf blower amendments are as follows. The use is prohibited starting in 2024 in residential zones from 6:00 PM the Friday before Memorial Day through September 30. An exclusion is carved out for properties of 2 acres or more when the ban ends the Tuesday after Labor Day. This affects many of the residential properties in Round Hill and backcountry which fall into this category and have larger properties to maintain.
Violators of any part of the noise ordinance, which includes weekends and hours of operations, will receive a warning for a first offense. A second offense carries a $100 fine, and additional violations will cost $249. Residents will have this summer to adjust to the new rules, so fines will not be collected until 2025. As written, the ordinance does not apply to electric-powered leaf blowers which have been used by a few individuals and lawn services.
The concern over noise and air quality has been proposed in the last couple of years by Quiet Yards Greenwich, a community-based advocacy group in town that has represented increasing support on the topic.