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Seriously, Stop Using Leaf Blowers!

No more warnings for violators. City gets serious about enforcing Santa Monica's leaf-blower ban.

When it comes to enforcing its leaf-blower ban, the city says no more Mr. Nice Guy.

This week staffers reported they're no longer issuing "courtesy" warning letters to violators.

Now, any one who uses a motorized leaf blower is handed a citation, and property owners are sent letters putting them on notice that future violations will not only be issued to the gardners—but also to them.

In a memo to the City Council, Santa Monica's Director of the Office of Sustainability Dean Kubani said it was "clear" property owners and landscapers were taking advantage of the warnings.

"Leaf blower operators were modifying the days and times that they worked in order to avoid being seen and photographed by City inspectors," he wrote.

Under the old warning process, Kubani said property owners had "two weeks to confirm that leaf blowers [were] no longer being used on the property" and staffers had to "see or photograph a violation in the field on the third instance in order to issue a citation."

Motorized leaf blowers were banned in 1991, but owners, water customers, and property and landscape management companies weren't held responsible under the law until the city's ordinance was amended in 2010.

Violators are subject to fines between $250 and $1,000.

Staffers had reported the 2010 amendment was effective because they saw a drop in reported violations. But in September, Kubani said a "large number" of complaints flowed into his office from residents who reported leaf blowers were still being used in certain parts of the city.

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Mike brown November 13, 2012 at 07:21 AM
Give me a break, use a rake? This would be a comment from someone who never cleaned up their own yard. What a bunch do AH! I don't mind putting up with a little noise to have my yard cleaned in a timely manner. If the landscapers charged by the hours, it would take twice as long and cost twice as much.
Glenn E Grab November 13, 2012 at 03:07 PM
the new leafblowers with 4 stroke engines are much quieter and don't give off a bunch of smoke like te 2 stroke versions......why not allow them?...give the gardeners a break.....
Tony Lopez February 01, 2013 at 01:12 AM
For all of you enforcing this, i want you to know that were just out there trying to make a living. Were not selling drugs. You guys have way too much time on your hands, to be photographing gardeners at work. Get a freaken life.
Glenn E Grab February 02, 2013 at 12:10 AM
in Santa Monica, it's ok to be a homeless bum-vagrant, but a hard working gardner with a leaf blower is a criminal
MMC HOA November 22, 2013 at 10:48 PM
Santa Monica has taken this law too far by banning all leaf blowers. Battery powered leaf blowers should be allow as in the City of Los Angeles. Most condo owners in Santa Monica do not have expansive yards and so much of the clean up is from hard scape. The amount of traffic in area is usually noisier than the electric blowers. If a home owner has a complaint about a neighbor's gardener then grow a pair and take a picture and call it in. Or like other noise prevention code, change the law to allow its use only at certain times and days. The city should be putting the money spent on patrols to better use, e.g., more cops, or school improvements or lowering our cost for trash disposal. Tell the City council to stop wasting our money on ridiculous enforcement.

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