Sudden reversal on Sonoma blower ban

Posted on October 23, 2013 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Sonoma’s ban on gas-powered leaf blowers, initially approved by the city council two weeks ago, is suddenly gone with the wind.

A vote to enact the ban looked like a mere formality on Monday’s council agenda until Mayor Ken Brown announced he had changed his position on the issue. His key vote swung the panel to a 3-2 majority to kill the ordinance.

The other council members voted as they had on October 7. Tom Rouse and David Cook voted against the ban. Laurie Gallian and Steve Barbose, and Brown, at the time, were in favor.

Opponents of the ban contend that without gas blowers, jobs will take longer – but clients won’t pay for the extra time.

Brown said the period between meetings gave him time to consider the economic effects on Sonoma’s community of gardeners and landscapers. The ban argument has “elements of a class issue,” he said.

The sudden reversal was a disappointment to advocates of the ban such as Darryl Ponicsan, who had collected over 300 signatures on a petition submitted to the council. “I’ve said all I want to,” he commented Tuesday.

Restrictions on leaf blowers fall under the city’s noise ordinance. They can be used to from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday in residential areas, and in city parks on the same days between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.

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