Buried in the line items of the Seattle City Council’s changes for the 2014 budget is a “Statement of Legislative Intent” that will make Capitol Hill resident Dan Savage very, very happy. “The Council requests that the Department of Planning and Development (DPD),” it reads, “provide recommendations describing options for regulations and incentives to reduce or eliminate leaf blower noise and emissions in Seattle.”
The statement, part of the process to declare potential planning that could impact a department’s budget, provides DPD with six requirements for the final recommendations:
- Evaluate the older models of leaf blowers still in use in Seattle and the new models available for sale in Seattle to identify the noise and emissions associated with those models.
- Identify elements of the City code, state law and federal law that apply to noise and emissions from leaf blowers, and how models used and available for sale in Seattle compare to those standards.
- Identify the regulatory and incentive approaches used by other jurisdictions to reduce or eliminate noise and emissions from leaf blowers generally — and gas-powered leaf blowers specifically — and the advantages and disadvantages of those approaches.
- Identify stakeholders (including other City departments and other agencies) who use leaf blowers in their work or who might be involved in the implementation and enforcement of any new regulations or incentives. Stakeholders may include property owners, yard maintenance and property management businesses, stadiums, major institutions and Seattle Public Schools.
- Recommend regulations and incentives for reducing noise and emissions from leaf blowers in Seattle, including a schedule for developing and implementing the regulations and incentives, a stakeholder outreach strategy, enforcement procedures, staffing needs for program implementation, and other costs.
- Coordinate with the Department of Parks and Recreation, Seattle Center, the Department of Finance and Administrative Services, and other City departments to share leaf blower recommendations, so that City departments that manage properties can consider incorporating relevant recommendations into their own practices and equipment purchases.
According to the document, DPD officials say the department “will need to reevaluate its 2014 work plan to eliminate, delay, or reduce the scope of other tasks so that this work can be accomplished.” CHS approves, whatever the cost.
The recommendations are to be delivered by September 2014.