Marblehead meeting KOs leaf blower ban

MARBLEHEAD – By a substantial 285-211 margin voters defeated a partial ban on leaf blowers at Tuesday night?s concluding session of Town Meeting.Christopher Bergonzi presented a compromise proposal amending his original total ban, a seasonal ban on gas-powered leaf-blowers from May 15-Sept. 15. Battery-powered and electric leaf blowers will be allowed. He compared leaf blower emissions to second-hand smoke.Edward Friedman questioned Bergonzi?s scientific research and said leaf blowers are not used from May 15-Sept. 15, making the article irrelevant. Another opponent said, “The only way you will get my leaf blower is when you pry it from my stiff dead fingers.”Several supporters exhorted the voters to remember health issues involving children and the elderly, and Conservation Commission Chairman Walter Haug said the health discussion made him change his mind and favor it.In the end of a lengthy debate voters supported former Public Works Director Dana Snow?s motion to indefinitely postpone or defeat the article.In other action voters approved a $675,168 renovation and elevator installation at the Old Town House and, at deadline, the debate continued on the $1.6 million purchase of the Chadwick Lead Mills property.Both proposals will also go before the voters in a June special election, along with the $4.9 million downtown drainage reconstruction and the purchase of a $1.1 million ladder truck for the Fire Department, which were approved Monday evening. All four proposals require debt exclusion overrides.In response to Jonathan “Jody” Magee?s proposal to outlaw the use of cellphones and other such devices by motorists, the town approved Magee?s backup plan, a symbolic amendment asking Town Clerk Robin Michaud to send letters to State Rep. Lori Ehrlich, D-Marblehead, and State Sen. Thomas McGee, D-Lynn, asking them to work for legislation on this issue.Voters also approved a lengthy flood plain bylaw, a requirement for federal flood insurance, and they quickly defeated a proposed bylaw that would have required three months restraint for a dog that bit a person and caused contusions.

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