Ann Arbor City Council advances gas blower ban

News website MLive.com reported that the city council of Ann Arbor, Michigan, voted 10-0 on Dec. 4 to give initial approval to a proposal that would ban gas-powered leaf blowers. Following the council’s unanimous vote, the proposal now advances to a public hearing and final vote set for Dec. 18. The “Ordinance to add chapter 75 (Leaf Blowers) to Title VI of the Code of the city of Ann Arbor” states its purpose is to “protect the peace, health, safety, and welfare of persons in the City of Ann Arbor and to promote the City’s sustainability goals by reducing noise, pollution, and other negative effects from leaf blowers.”

Makita-backpack-blower
Battery-powered leaf blowers would get a sales boost if this gas equipment ban is approved in Ann Arbor, Michigan

“These are incredibly dirty, polluting machines,” said Council Member Jen Eyer, D-4th Ward, one of the ordinance sponsors. “They’re terrible not just for the environment, but for the very people who are using them, many of whom are low-income lawn care workers who have no choice but to use what their boss gives them,” she said.

The phased-in ban would take full effect on Jan. 1, 2028, giving residents and professional landscapers who use leaf blowers four years to transition to battery powered equipment or manual options (brooms).

“This ordinance is said Council Member Jenn Cornell, D-5th Ward, was the lead sponsor of the proposal, and says it is “all-inclusive, including parks, golf courses, commercial properties, and apartments and condominiums.”

Are Mowers Next?

Cornell added that the decision to focus on just leaf blowers, and not lawn mowers or other gas-powered equipment, is largely based on financial considerations. “I didn’t want anyone to experience financial hardship by having to replace several pieces of equipment, especially fixed and lower-income residents and small business owners,” she said. She added that her desire is to ban all gas-powered lawn equipment.

That proposal carries a penalty of $100 for a first offense and $250 for additional offenses.

The council also voted unanimously to launch an educational campaign directed at residents and businesses on the transition to electric lawn equipment.