It is officially leaf blower season in Brookline, and officials are getting the word out to residents about new regulations approved at Town Meeting a year ago.
A pamphlet detailing the new changes was sent out to all Brookline residents, said Kevin Johnson, the town’s director of highway and sanitation.
The main change in the leaf blower bylaw is that property owners are now liable for any offense, and can be fined up to $150 for repeated infractions.
More specifically, property owners are now co-responsible, along with hired landscaping companies, to adhere to the new permitted hours and times.
In Brookline, leaf blowers are banned between May 16 and September 30, and between January 1 and March 14. During any of the permitted days, leaf blowers are allowed, as long as they comply with noise level restrictions, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekdays, and from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekends and holidays.
Previously, the town allowed leaf blower operation until 8 p.m. on weekends.
First offenses come with a written warning, while second offenses will result in a $50 fine. A third offense is a $100 fine, while any subsequent violations would be a $150 penalty.
The revised bylaw also states that only a maximum of two leaf blowers are allowed on properties of 7,500 square feet or less.
Yet another change in the bylaw concerns how the town handles and enforces complaints.
The Department of Public Works is now in charge of receiving and keeping track of complaints and the police department handles enforcement.
Additionally, Johnson said the town recently hired an assistant recycling coordinator, who will partly have the responsibility of monitoring and helping to enforce new changes to the leaf blower bylaw.
Catching rogue leaf blowers in the act, however, is difficult, said Johnson, since a fine can only be doled out if a town official witnesses the infraction.
To comply with the town’s permissible leaf blower noise level, operators must use leaf blowers with a manufacturer’s sticker or a DPW sticker certifying a noise level of no more than 67 decibels when measured at a distance of 50 feet.
To get a sticker from the DPW, operators can visit the town’s Municipal Service Center on the first and third Tuesday of the following months: October, November, December, March, April and May.