The Boston Globe has a feature story by Dugan Arnett about disagreements over leaf-blower policy in the Boston suburb of Newton, which have reached an intense level that some other communities have avoided. You can read the story (with metered paywall) here. Samples:
Anyone who has had a peaceful afternoon shattered by the jet-like roar of super-powered leaf blowers — especially when deployed by bands of workers alighting on others’ lawns — might relate to the outrage.
And Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who was attacked by a neighbor last week, apparently in a dispute over his yard, can certainly attest to how intense landscaping rage can become.
But why now? For one thing, hiring out lawn maintenance has never been more popular.
Arnett goes on to say how widespread the practice of hired lawn crews working on suburban lawns has become, in contrast to homeowners tending to their own property.
The other big change, the story points out, in the increasing intensity of all factors involving this practice: weeks per year, lawns per neighborhood, horsepower -- and emissions and decibels -- per blade of grass and fallen leaf. As he puts it:
Equipment has become ever more powerful — prompting various towns around the region, including Cambridge and Brookline, to begin looking at ways to minimize the noise.
But in well-to-do Newton, where as many as 70 percent of homes employ a landscaping service, according to one estimate, things have quickly gone off the rails.
On one side are residents, even some who hire landscaping companies, who complain that the heavy-duty, gas-powered blowers favored by lawn-care companies kick up dust, pollute, and make life miserable.
The story also describes a Newton group called C.A.L.M. -- Citizens Against Leaf blower Mania. You can learn more about their positions, work, and events here.