Leaf Blower Ordinance

Keeping New Castle Clean and Quiet

Gas Leaf Blowers Are Not Permitted

June 1 – September 30


On Sept. 22nd, during Climate Week 2020, the New Castle Town Board unanimously approved a local law to ban the use of gas-powered leaf blowers during the late spring and through the summer months.

Read entire ordinance here: Chapter §90 of the Town Code

Download a copy of the town flyer* here: TNC GLB LAW Handout

*includes translations in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Hindi

Executive Summary

June 1 –September 30

No Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers (GLBs)
Electric Leaf Blowers are permitted

October 1 –May 31

Gas and Electric powered Leaf Blowers are permitted

Noise Levels from Domestic Tools – no restrictions during the hours of:

  • 8 AM –8 PM –Mon –Fri
  • 9 AM –8 PM –Sat
  • 9 AM –5 PM –Sun & Holidays
  • All other times not to exceed 45 dB(A)

Download Flyer

TNC GLB LAW Flyer Side 1 Rev 4-2022v3 English
TNC GLB LAW Flyer Side 2 Rev 4-2022v3 Multiple Languages

Exemptions:

  • Chappaqua Central School District’s recreational fields and tennis courts, Town of New Castle recreational fields and tennis courts, country clubs’ tennis courts, homeowner associations’ tennis courts, swim clubs’ tennis courts, golf courses, and cemeteries.
  • Use of any gas-powered motorized leaf blower shall be minimized to the maximum extent practical.
  • The Commissioner of Public Works may temporarily authorize the use of gas-powered leaf blowers in case of emergency circumstances.
  • The Town Administrator may authorize the use of gas-powered leaf blowers on certain properties if a public safety concern exists.
  • For any of the above exemptions, the use of any gas fuel-powered motorized leaf blower shall be minimized to the maximum extent practicable.

SAB & Healthy Yards presentation on the New Castle Leaf Blower Environmental Protection Law: Green Garden Gabfest (March 20, 2021)

In the News:

Leaf blowers are no longer just for fall clean-up and for many years New Castle residents have asked their Town Board to restrict leaf blower usage. The Town of New Castle passed a seasonal restriction on gas-powered blowers (“leaf blowers”) from June 1 to  September 30  which will be in effect starting June 1, 2021.

Is a seasonal ban really necessary? 

Communities restrict the use of leaf blowers (seasonal and otherwise) to help safeguard residents, lawn care workers, and the environment from the negative impacts of these devices which include:

  • CO2 Emissions
  • noise pollution
  • particle pollution
  • wildlife habitat destruction

Aside from the noise, leaf blowers generate large amounts of airborne dust, allergens, animal waste, pesticides, and fertilizer that impact all individuals, especially those with allergies and respiratory conditions. The gas-powered models emit carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and other volatile compounds. Leaf blowers have wind blasts equal to a category five hurricane which destroy the habitats of wildlife and beneficial insects and also expand the range of pollutants are distributed to neighboring properties. All of these issues are intensified during the summer months when outdoor activity peaks for humans AND wildlife. This is also the time frame when the Air Quality Index (AQI), which measures and reports on air quality and pollutants, is at its highest levels in our community.

The Sustainability Advisory Board spent four years considering and investigating the issues related to year-round use of gas Leaf Blowers and exploring the impact of implementing legislation restricting their use. We reviewed ordinances (laws) and experiences from towns across Westchester County and beyond to develop a thoughtful and balanced approach for New Castle and its residents. As we move forward with implementing the ordinance, please continue to educate yourselves, neighbors, and lawn care professionals about the importance of leaf blower restrictions and healthy lawn practices. 

New Castle is not the first with a Leaf Blower ordinance:

The following 18 Westchester communities also have some form of leaf blower restriction over and above noise ordinances: Bedford (2018), Bronxville (2001), Dobbs Ferry (2008, amended 2013), Hastings (2008), Irvington (2020), Larchmont (2015), Town of Mamaroneck, Village of Mamaroneck, City of Mount Vernon (2020), New Rochelle, Pelham (2006), Port Chester (2008), Rye (2008), Scarsdale (1994, amended 2021), Sleepy Hollow (2013), Tarrytown (2008), Tuckahoe (2011), City of White Plains, Yonkers (2007).  As of June 2021, the villages/towns of Croton-on-Hudson, Greenburgh, Mount Kisco, and Pleasantville are actively looking at gas leaf blower legislation.

The New Castle ordinance focuses on leaf blower restriction for warmer months (annually June 1 – Sept. 30).  Use of leaf blowers during fall clean-up is still allowed, though we encourage healthy lawn and garden practices like leave mulching and leave leaves alone (lele).

Leaf-Blower-Ban-Map-Westchester-County-June-2018

Learn about the health impacts of using gas powered lawn care equipment:

AGZA-Leaf-Blower-Infographic

Gas powered landscaping equipment is shown to generate high emissions that in turn affect air quality.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

All people should be educated about the health effects from unhealthy levels of particle pollution and how to reduce exposure.  Particle pollution is linked to a number of health problems, including coughing, wheezing, reduced lung function, asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes. It also is linked to early death.

aqiguidepm

Rethink the “benefits” of Leaf Blowers (especially during summer months):

SAB-False-vs-True

Have the conversation:  

Homeowners can have a conversation with their landscapers and landscaping/lawn service companies about alternatives to unnecessary use of leaf blowers. Check out these resources: