Bridgehampton CAC Briefed on CVS, Landmarks Law and Takes Aim at Leaf Blowers

Posted on 27 August 2014

By Mara Certic

Members of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee seemed somewhat encouraged by a Southampton Town Planning Board meeting when plans for the much maligned, proposed CVS pharmacy were discussed for the first time.

Peter Wilson, a member of the CAC who was at the planning board meeting on Thursday, August 14, discussed the proceedings with his fellow CAC members at their monthly meeting on Monday, August 25.  “Essentially, it was totally process-oriented,” he said. The meeting was delayed by a full hour, he said, but he got the impression that the board “wanted to see this through properly and give it their due course,” he said.

CVS Caremark and BNB Ventures IV are seeking a special exception permit to build a pharmacy on a vacant lot at the corner of Montauk Highway and the Sag Harbor-Bridgehampton Turnpike. The plan has angered Bridgehampton residents who believe that the pharmacy would cause a traffic nightmare at an already dangerous intersection. “We’re hoping the next decision will go our way. This is somewhat of a win for us,” said CAC co-chairwoman Nancy Walter-Yvertes.

The Bridgehampton CAC announced that members of Save Bridgehampton Main Street will hold another protest at the proposed CVS site this Saturday, August 30, at 10 a.m.

Sally Spanburgh, chairperson of the Southampton Town Landmarks and Historic Districts Board, was invited to speak to the CAC about legislation that was recently passed in Southampton that provides an incentive for owners of historic houses to preserve them.

The new law allows homeowners who allow their houses to be designated landmarks to add a guest house or carriage house to their property. In exchange the town would extinguish one of its development credits. Ms. Spanburgh showed pictures of each of the 46 properties in Bridgehampton that would be “technically eligible” to build new structures under the new law, but explained that even some of those would pictured would not necessarily meet all of the requirements.

In other action, the CAC unanimously passed a resolution on Monday asking the  town to ban gas-powered leaf blowers during the summer season.

Bridgehampton resident Steve Jones has become somewhat obsessed by the excessive noise that the landscaping equipment creates without appropriate regulation, he said. “The landscape convoys that stream into our town every morning have turned our residential areas into industrial zones,” Mr. Jones said.

The town’s noise ordinance was adopted in 1983 and has not been amended in the past 20 years. The code states that during the day, airborne noises should be limited to 65 decibels, with some exceptions—none of which are for leaf blowers.

Many gas powered leaf blowers create noise of up to 100 decibels, creating winds of 200 miles per hour. Mr. Jones invited two doctors, and residents of Huntington, to address the Bridgehampton CAC on some of the other side effects of the gas-powered leaf blowers.

Doctors Lucy Weinstein and Bonnie Sager are members of Huntington CALM (Citizens Appeal for Leaf blower Moderation) who have been trying to restrict the use of the equipment in their town. According to Dr. Sager, 16 towns in Westchester County have restricted their use, the country Israel has banned them and the City of Toronto now hands out $5,000 fines to leaf blower operators.

Not only is the noise and air pollution harmful, but also according to the doctors, the leaf blowers throw up topsoil and nutrients, which results in the need for more fertilizers. Often, Dr. Sager said, lawns then become fertilizer-dependent, which, in turn, increases the nitrogen content in groundwater, potentially causing dangerous algal blooms.

The CAC members and the doctors discussed alternatives, mentioning electric and lithium-powered leaf blowers. Jeff Peters, who owns JCP Landscaping in Sag Harbor, uses gas-powered leaf blowers during the summer, he said. He has been using new, quieter leaf blowers in his business and added that a ban would result in higher bills for customers. A ban on leaf blowers would add 20 to 25 minutes of work per lawn, he estimated. Electric leaf blowers, he said, “have no power,” and require noisy generators themselves.

Mr. Jones said he had been in contact with Southampton Town Councilman Brad Bender about introducing some sort of legislation that would ban the gas-powered leaf blowers during the summer. Mr. Bender could not be reached for comment by the time of this paper’s publication.

Be Sociable, Share!

This post was written by:

- who has written 157 posts on The Sag Harbor Express.


Contact the author

One Response to “Bridgehampton CAC Briefed on CVS, Landmarks Law and Takes Aim at Leaf Blowers”

  1. Dr. Bonnie Sager says:

    The issue of restricting gas leaf blowers is very similar to the movement to ban cigarette smoking in public. Pollution, particulate matter and noise from GLBs are put into the environment without our consent and we are subjected to the consequences.

    Leaf blower noise denies one of the peaceful use and enjoyment of their property. Why does the landscaping industry have the right to sicken people and undermine their work and play?

    It isn’t right that a landscaper can invade ones environment for his own personal convenience and use the bogus threat that it will cost more if he can’t use a leaf blower.

    The real cost is to society when someone suffers an asthma attack or allergic reaction and citizens are exposed to particulates that increase their risk of developing lung and/or breast cancer. Don’t forget hearing loss from decibel levels that far exceed OSHA and the World Health Organizations recommendations. Landscapers are the most vulnerable to all these health hazards and unfortunately the most ignorant of them. They just mow, blow and go.

    Other excessive noise is regulated, particularly in the construction industry, so why does landscaping get a free pass? The prevalence of leaf blowers and their casual and prolific use indicates a numbness and indifference to other people. It is time to regulate this industry for the health of all citizens and workers alike.


Leave a Reply

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off-topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Terms of Service

Follow The Express…


Pictures of the Week - See all photos