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No, there is no intend to ban mowers.
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The Noise Advisory Committee may be addressing this concern with some proposed modifications to the motion. However, that 90 decibals A (dBA) figure is almost certainly at the ear of the operator. To reach the threshold that is in the article now (78 dBA at 50 feet), a machine needs to exceed roughly 101 dBA at the ear, which is nearly 4 times as loud as 90 dBA.
With one exception, even the large gas powered leaf blowers we evaluated do not exceed 101 dBA at the ear. However, this is causing concern and confusion, so I hope that we will be able to simplify the article so as to remove any concerns about this. Our intent is to control leaf blowers, not other equipment.
Full Question: Lawn maintenance contractors typically show up with a crew of 4 or more which translates into 4 or more pieces of equipment running simultaneously. While seeking to limit the multi equipment noise associated with the Contractors, it seems the homeowners who chooses to do their own yard work with one piece of equipment at a time are somehow disproportionally restricted.
Answer: The Committee has received arguments on both sides of the question of different provisions for residents. We did include special provisions for residents at one point, but we didn't in the current version. Our understanding is that it is legally questionable to differentiate based on who is making the noise. However, this is also again being considered by the committee.
The Committee wrestled with the issue of multiple piece of equipment numerous times over the past few years. We decided that it isn't practical to limit this. First, the amount of noise is not just a function of how many pieces of equipment there are; it also depends on their position, their direction, and the presence or absence of reflecting surfaces. Two units in one setting may be a more severe problem than 3 in another, for example.
Moreover, restricting the number of units would increase the length of time the crew operates, and it could also increase costs for landscapers.
The committee did extensive outreach to landscapers. There is no list of landscapers in town-Lexington does not issue permits for landscaping - so we used 7 sources to compile a list of nearly 60 firms that do business in town. We invited them to two 2-hour meetings that were devoted entirely to getting their input (in April and early May). We made substantial changes to the proposal as a result. These are described in my June presentation to the Select Board, which I'll attach and which you are free to share.
As noted in that presentation, we postponed consideration of a possible phase-out of GLBs because several landscapers said they needed more time to analyze and comment on this. We therefore invited them to submit comments until August 31, approximately 4 months later. Virtually none did.
Re costs: many of the figures in the discussion now are simple speculation, offered in some cases by people with no first-hand experience. We primarily relied on two sources for cost information: the American Green Zone Alliance, a national organization that assists communities in making the transition to cleaner electric equipment, and some local landscapers with first-hand experience working battery-powered blowers.
The information we obtained indicates that initial costs to landscapers are higher-something we have consistently noted in presentations-largely because of the cost of batteries, but that lifetime costs are lower because of lower energy costs and much lower maintenance costs. Costs for residents are very hard to estimate because it depends not only on lot size and the number of trees, but also on factors like the species (maples are less of an issue than oaks because their leaves fall earlier) and the slope of the property.
However, it is the case that some residents would experience a modest increase in costs because battery powered blowers are not as powerful as the noisiest GLBs and therefore can require more labor. From what we could gather, the cost increase for a fall cleanup could range from nothing at all (my experience, and the experience of one of the Select Board members) to as much as 30%. As one of the landscapers pointed out, this is much more of an issue in towns like Lincoln, where lots are very large, than in Lexington.
No, as far as we know, there are no data available about the number of residents who own their own GLBs. There are no permits for using them, so no one has any data. Anecdotally, I have seen very few, but there are some.