BROOKLINE – Public Works Commissioner Erin Chute Gallentine wishes to remind residents of rules related to the use of leaf blowers in town as spring approaches, and residents begin work on their gardens, lawns and other outdoor spaces.
As residents remain at home to help mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, understanding of and compliance with Brookline’s leaf blower bylaw is more important than ever to help support quality of life, the environment, education, and work productivity.
The use of leaf blowers is highly regulated in the Town of Brookline.
Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are prohibited between May 16 and Sept. 30 as well as Jan. 1 through March 14 each year. Low noise (less than 67 decibels (dBA)) certified leaf blowers are allowed between March 15 – May 15 and Oct. 1 – Dec. 31.
Permitted hours of operation are limited to 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. Monday – Friday and 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. Any use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers outside of these times or with a decibel rating higher than 67dBA is prohibited.
Parcels less than 7,500 square feet can have no more than two leaf blowers used at any one time. Town Meeting approved the current bylaw in 2016 in response to resident complaints and a moderator’s committee that studied the noise, health effects, environmental impacts, and efficacy of gasoline and battery-powered leaf blowers. A brochure that describes the bylaw can be found at https://brooklinema.gov/leafblower.
“The use of leaf blowers can be a great disturbance to your neighbors and friends,” Commissioner Gallentine said. “Please ensure that you and your contractors know the rules, only use leaf blowers when critical, and at the lowest power setting for the job at hand.”
Illegal use of leaf blowers can result in fines of up to $150 and are applied to both the property owner and, in cases where a contractor is performing the work, to the landscape company as well.
Town Staff from the Police, Public Works, Health, or Building Departments are often called to enforce leaf blower complaints. Complaints should be directed to the Department of Public Works at 617-879-4900 Monday – Friday up until 3 p.m. After hours, holidays, and on weekends, calls should be directed to the Police Department at 617-730-2222. Residents should never call 911 for leaf blower complaints.