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Aldermen trash proposed leaf rules

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?"

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