Loud angry protests erupted at a Wednesday night meeting of the Hamptons Planning Board, as landscapers reacted strongly against a new proposal to ban loud gas-powered leaf blowers during the summer months. The landscapers accused the Planning Board of trying to put them out of business, and shouted down board members who attempted to explain the reasons behind the policy.
The Hamptons Police Department was called to preserve order, as the situation threatened to escalate into violence.
“You complain about the noise,” shouted one landscaper, who was evidently quite hard of hearing. “But there’s literally no other way to remove the leaves and debris.” Another landscaper, his ears encumbered by large hearing aids, loudly denied that gas-powered leaf blowers are disruptive to quiet neighborhoods. “What could be more pleasant than the gentle thrum of the leaf blower at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning?” he asked. “I’m standing right next to it, and it practically puts me to sleep!”
A third landscaper, who communicated his thoughts through a sign language interpreter, had a more scientific argument. “The dried leaves are rich in nitrogen,” he pointed out. “It’s a very important nutrient for the health of garden beds. Therefore, it’s vitally important that all of the leaves be removed from garden beds so that they can be used as fertilizer on garden beds, and gas-powered leaf blowers are the most efficient way to do this.”
Members of the Hamptons Planning Board appeared to be unmoved and the protest broke up without incident. A final decision regarding leaf blowers is expected soon.