Your Comments Needed on the Draft Ordinance!

Thanks to everyone who reached out to council over the years, the city of Santa Cruz finally has an ordinance on the table to phase out the use of gas-powered leaf blowers in the city. We are currently in a public comment period, so we are rallying supporters to do two things to make sure a solid ordinance passes this Spring: let the City know you support this and urge them to fix a big loophole.

Most importantly, the ordinance would end the legal use of gas-powered leaf blowers beginning October 1 of this year. Air quality, public health, climate change, equity, and the health of landscape workers make this long overdue.

Before the full city council takes this up, it will first go before the Health in All Policies committee, which includes Councilmembers Kalantari-Johnson (the sponsor), Brunner, and Watkins. This committee has the chance to improve the ordinance before it goes to the full council, so please send comments to them within the next few days. You can email them with this link.

The draft contains little detail about enforcement, and without enforcement little will change. So please urge the committee to make sure that enforcement is feasible, effective, and spelled out in the ordinance.


The draft also contains a big loophole, an exception for public, commercial, and industrial properties 5 acres and up. While battery-powered blowers may struggle to cover parks over 50 acres, like the Delaveaga Golf Course, they can handle other sized parks just fine. (The City of Palo Alto just told us they now use battery blowers in all their parks, including one that’s 22 acres.) So an exemption as small as 5 acres would unnecessarily keep gas leaf blowers spewing noise and toxins at many dozens of sites throughout Santa Cruz, including parks and schools. So please urge the committee to keep any exemption to the ordinance to 50 acres and above.

There’s also a few more days to complete the city’s two-question online survey (through March 24). But our best chance of fixing the ordinance before it goes to the full council is to email your comments to the committee with this link, prior to their meeting, which is on Tuesday, April 2 at 9:30 a.m. in City Hall Council Chambers. Bonus if you can join us there in person! (Please email us if you plan on coming and we can all sit together.)

After all this time, Santa Cruz deserves a leaf blower ordinance that is equitable, enforceable, and effective. Please make your voices heard!