City staff found no support Monday night among aldermen for two ordinances that would have imposed more restrictions on how Evanston residents deal with leaves.

The City Council’s Administration and Public Works Committee voted unanimously to drop consideration of a staff proposal that the city expand its seasonal ban on gasoline-powered leaf blowers to also prohibit use of electric-powered ones.

And it did the same with a proposal that would have fined residents for letting leaves accumulate in the street in front of their homes.

Public Works Director Suzette Robinson said letting yard waste accumulate in the street can clog up sewers and lead to flooding. She added that more residents apparently started blowing leaves into the street after the city last year imposed a sticker fee for pickup of yard waste bags.

But Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said the ordinance would let the city fine people who just had leaves fall into the street, who hadn’t blown them there. She said she’d rather have city employees spend their time reporting street lights out, graffiti and other problems, rather than writing up people for having leaves in the street.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, said “leaf-blowers are here to stay.” She said it’s been years since she’s seen any commercial landscapers in town use a rake, and that it’s good for them to move away from gas-operated blowers to electric ones, because they are less polluting.

Rainey said nobody is enforcing the existing ban on gasoline-powered leaf blowers anyway.

And Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, said “Why put stuff on the books that’s never going to be enforced?”

Related stories

City eyes expanding ban on leaf blowers

Ordinance would empower leaf police

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation

9 Comments

  1. Leaf Cleanup

    At last… some sanity in the City! The best thing said was from Colleen Burrus!

    For once the whiners didn't win and that's a very good thing.

    1. Want a ‘green’ city

      Sorry Mr. VanSlyke, but you are wrong. In the 6th ward people complain about violations and the police respond (albeit rather slowly). I thought we wanted a "green" city. Gas powered leaf blowers have no place in that.

  2. trashing the leaf ban

    The City council showed some sense on not pursuing additional regulations.

    1. I totally disagree. The

      I totally disagree. The council was most definitely wrong for ignoring the city staff's recommendations. Gas powered leaf blowers are one of the most insidious devices imaginable. Try making a phone call when your neighbor's landscapers are running three of them in his backyard.

  3. I can’t believe the city

    I can’t believe the city council gave no support to city staff’s proposal to put further restrictions leaf blowers.

    Don’t any of them remember the uproar that occurred a few years back when Alderman Jean-Baptise proposed eliminating gas leaf blower restrictions? The outcry was loud enough that he was the only one who voted for repeal.

    If you work from home during the times gas leaf blowers are allowed, life becomes a living hell. Towards the end of any week living in Evanston starts to feel like living at the end of an O’Hare runway on a Friday at 5PM. Landscapers swoop into your neighborhood, one after another, running as many as four blowers simultaneously for 10 to 30 minutes.

    It’s deafening and it smells. I’ve had to reschedule conference calls due to the noise. Kudos to the city staff that came up with proposal, particularly the idea of fining home owners who don’t pay attention to what their contractors are doing.

    The police should be doing a much better job of enforcing the existing ordinance and any additional teeth that can be added to it is a good thing.

    If you can afford to live in an Evanston mini-mansion, drive your BMW, have your house cleaned by someone else, and your child taken care of by your nanny, you can afford to have your property maintained by people who don’t use such farsholtn (Yiddish word for accursed) equipment.

    1. Noise?

      I would consider leaf blower restrictions after the city does something about the loud trucks and the subcutaneous cretins who blast their distorted audio systems day and night.

  4. Who Proposed these ordinances in the first place?

    I think we should layoff the staff that proposed these silly ordinance they clearly do not have enough to do to keep busy!

    This is similar to wasting everyone time on the asking the council on what it should do with the animal shelter.

  5. Leaves blowers OK.

     The City Council made the right call on passing on the new regulations.

  6. Please Enforce

    Gas powered leaf blowers do more than make excessive noise and detract from the quiet of the neighborhoods. They wake up and upset napping infants and toddlers. Electric leaf blowers seem to be much less noisy, but still a little disquieting. The current ban is a reasonable compromise. I would suggest that any extension of the ban be to make it year-round. The police need to enforce the current ban. I'm a little tired of landscapers pretending they don't know about it. A few $75 fines slapped on them each week (from patrolling police officers would give landscapers reason to think twice before blowing off the ordinance (pun intended).

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published.