It’s Saturday morning in May. You went to sleep with the window open so the cool breeze could lullaby you to sleep. You’re ahead of schedule on your to-do list thought you might sleep.
But the sound awakes you. The sound – in the moment, more obnoxious than any sound ever produced in the history of mankind – of a gas-powered leaf blower howling in your neighbor’s yard.
Some in Encinitas are so sick and tired of their morning moods being soiled that they’re pushing for city leaders to adopt an ordinance that would ban gas-powered blowers outright.
Landscaper Eric Thompson knows his leaf blower is loud and unpleasant, but it’s essential to his job.
"Here, people want things tidy, they want it clean. Everything needs to look like the gardeners were here,” Thompson said.
But the smog and dust the blowers kick up is a bigger issue. City leaders say the blower ban falls in line with the climate action plan adopted last year aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions for years to come.
Audrey Reynolds and other Encinitians shared their concerns at Monday’s city meeting.
“I have to put up with the fumes, the noise, the carcinogenic particulates from these blowers,” Reynolds said. "What happens if a child changes direction and goes in front of a blower? What happens to the lungs of these children?"
"If they want to pay for an hour of service and the guys are spending 45 minutes of that sweeping their big giant driveway. That's what it is,” Thomas said. "We are going to do our job and try to be as courteous as possible."
The Encinitas City Council will vote on the ordinance in June. Electric leaf blowers will still be allowed if the ordinance is passed, but operators will have to use sound-muffling equipment.
Gas-powered blowers are already banned in Del Mar and Solana Beach. Violators in Encinitas could face fines up to $1,000.