The took a small step toward an all-out ban on operating leaf blowers within the city limits during Tuesday night's council meeting.
Though the discussion item on the agenda involved reducing the number of hours in which people could operate leaf blowers, councilmen quickly asked for an outright ban.
Currently, people are allowed to operate leaf blowers between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekends.
Councilman Steve Aspel, who initially proposed the ban, said that he gets calls at least once per week regarding leaf blowers.
"I've been getting emails from the second after I was elected … about banning (leaf blowers)," he said. "This is the perfect opportunity. You go out and watch people, and they're just shooting (the leaves) from your lawn to my car."
Nevertheless, Assistant City Manager Peter Grant—filling in for City Manager Bill Workman, who was out of the country—said a ban would be a "fairly significant change" to city policy, and that that landscaping businesses and their customers in the community would feel the impacts.
"This would be a relatively large undertaking," he said. "If nothing else, we're going to get a flood of calls in the first six months or so from gardeners who don't know (about the leaf blower ban) or don't care or their customers who don't know or don't care."
City Attorney Mike Webb noted that enforcement of the ban could be a problem.
"The question is … with the amount of resources you have, is this a top priority for police officers to be going out in the field to give those tickets?" he asked.
Councilman Bill Brand said he thought it would be easier to enforce an outright ban, as "we have to enforce the hours as it is now."
Councilman Steve Diels, on the other hand, argued that more study would be needed—he noted that leaf blowers would have to be defined so that people don't "change the name and say (they're) blowing sticks.
Despite a council vote of 3-2 (Diels and Councilman Pat Aust dissented) to direct city staff to bring an ordinance banning leaf blowers Jan. 1 to a council meeting in October, Mayor Mike Gin vetoed it, noting that he wanted to see research on the impact a ban might have before asking staff to draft an ordinance.
"I want to know exactly what the impacts are going to be," Gin said before he announced his veto. "We're making a fairly major decision tonight on an issue that has fairly far-reaching impacts."
Brand said he was "disappointed" with Gin's veto, and he later noted that other cities have banned leaf blowing. "We are not cutting a new path here," he said.
Nevertheless, the council did vote 3-0 (Diels and Aust had stepped out of chambers at the time of the vote) to limit the hours people are allowed to operate leaf blowers to between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday and between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday. Operating a leaf blower on Sunday would not be allowed.
Additionally, city staff were directed to explore the fiscal impacts of an outright ban on leaf blowers and present a report to the council on the second meeting in October, as well as reach out to the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce and local business owners about the new restrictions on leaf blowers and a possible outright ban.