Submitted by City of Evanston
With spring on the way, the City of Evanston is reminding residents of the updated restrictions regarding the use of leaf blowers.
After April 1, 2023, only electric-powered leaf blowers will be allowed for use in Evanston and will be limited to the following hours:
- Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.
Electric-powered leaf blowers can be used year-round, with the exception of city holidays.
The use of gasoline- and propane-powered leaf blowers will be prohibited year-round after April 1, 2023. (Currently, the use of gasoline- and propane-powered leaf blowers is prohibited seasonally through March 29.)
In November 2021, the Evanston City Council approved updates to the City’s leaf blower ordinance to address community concerns about air pollution, noise pollution and other environmental impacts. The city’s Climate Action & Resilience Plan, adopted in 2018, calls for phasing out gas- and propane-powered leaf blowers.
Additional leaf blower reminders
The city reminds community members and landscapers of additional restrictions regarding the use of leaf blowers:
- Using a leaf blower of any kind to spray pesticides is prohibited
- Charging an electric leaf blower with a portable generator is prohibited
- Raking or blowing leaves into the streets is illegal, and can block sewers and cause flooding
Any person who uses a leaf blower or permits the private or commercial use of a leaf blower on their property in violation of the city’s leaf blower ordinance is subject to fines.
Grants available to assist landscaping companies
Evanston-based landscaping companies registered with the city may be eligible for grants of up to $3,000 to assist with the purchase of electric-powered leaf blowers through the city’s Entrepreneurship Support Grant program.
Landscaping company registration
Community members and organizations who use a landscaping company are encouraged to check to make sure their company is registered with the City by visiting cityofevanston.org/leafblower. All landscaping contractors operating in Evanston must be registered with the city.
Hi I’m an Owner of a Landscaping business that has been around for over 50 years. This will be CRIPPLING for All Landscaping businesses that are Not National Businesses. As a small Independent business owner I and much of my friends that own their own respective landscaping businesses have been dealing with making the Hard choice of having to Drop All of our Accounts in the Evanston Area Simply because the Grants are Insufficient and the 5 year we were given isn’t enough time to make such a drastic Overhaul. Especially when getting your Lawn cut is a Luxury Not a Necessity! We work Very hard 7 days a Week starting Early March and Not Ending until Dec 4 doing our Best to make an Honest living and having to Often Reduce our Pricing because we are told $120 a month is Too Expensive for our back breaking work, time, cost for workers, gas and materials. Due to the economic state the general consensus for the Customers is to go for the Cheapest landscapers they can find. They All think it’s Ok to pay $40-60 a month for a Full Service Regular Maintenance. With Us being Forced to have to go Electric which is Inferior to the gas blowers the jobs like Spring cleaning and Fall clean ups would be Impossible and would take 4 hours rather than an 1-2 hours per Property. We would have to raise our Rates due to the length of time each property would require to be serviced so if we were charging you let’s say $220 for a spring clean up Now with using the Electric blowers cause it’s going to take Longer and be More Labor Intensive the price would be $420 or double that if it’s a Really Big Property. This is HORRIBLE!! Most people can’t Afford the Spring clean ups now which are usually anywhere between $160-240. This is Ruining the Smaller Independent Businesses! Evanston should Enact a Bill that Requires All its Residents to have to pay a base Price point for Landscaping. That way it Protects the Smaller businesses like us from getting Ripped off. Example due to the changes in the current Polices All Legally Registered Independent Landscaping Businesses should give the board OUR BASE PRICING FOR THE YEAR. When it Comes to the Services we Render in the Spring, Summer and Fall. So if that Year a Spring clean up is at minimum going to Cost $420 a Notice should be sent to All Evanston Residents to expect to pay anywhere between $520 or more depending on each Homeowners property size. This would Protect Us Independent businesses owners from having to drop All of our accounts as well as Prevent Residents to be Poaching for the Cheapest Company. You get what you Pay for right? You guys want to Enforce these Drastic changes so be Prepared to Pay for them. It’s better for the Environment right? So why Try to Cheap Your Landscapers? Honestly this is my Opinion but Most can’t do the Physical Back Breaking work we do 7 days a week Rain or Shine with No Sick days! We do All this just to live a Decent life. We’re Not Rich but We’re Not poor but we do all this for our family and Often times taking a Loss for our Time and Work. We’re so Under appreciated but are Essential for Most Middle Class, Upper Class and Lower Class Residents. I Hope this is Not Permanent. Whoever is in Charge with enforcing these Policies Email me. Me and Many of my Peers in the same Field as me can give you and Better solution. We’re the Ones that ACTUALLY SERVICE EVANSTON and do the Work we’re talking about so who better to talk to?
I’ve seen a lot of leaf-blowing which strikes me as more a display of machismo, than a person actually using the most time-effective way to remove leaves from where they’re not wanted, to where they can be picked up. Without using two, by two people, leaf-blowers disperse more than they collect to smaller areas. Rakes and brooms work fine to gather leaves together. And as has been said before in the RoundTable, leaf-blowers also blow away topsoil and many invertebrates which are important for ecosystems. These harms are unrelated to their power source or decibel level or carbon emissions.
This is unfair. Landscaping companys are going to go out of business left and right. They have only had five years since 2018’s CARP statement to prepare for this transition, that is just not enough time. Also 17 months is also not enough time to budget for and buy something else. Even with the $3000 of city assistance! Landscapers work hard! It takes several workers several hours to clear small lots with the super loud mega-blaster gas ones. Imagine how long it will take to do the job with electrics!
I think it’s well past time for landscapers to adjust their practices to NOT spending time unnecessarily blowing away every speck of grass and leaves they find. A quick run to make sure the sidewalk is clear of debris is all that is required. Lawns can handle some clippings and leaves without damage.
The time has come to transition over to battery electric technology. Remaining 100% gas powered in contractor communities is no longer an option.
This is all good, but what is the city going to do to enforce the ordinance? Currently, it’s a slow process that mostly rests with vigilant neighbors rather than the City. It requires the reporting a possible violation to the City via email or 311, including sending a photo and/or other identifying information with the name of the contractor, the time of the violation, the street address, etc. The city staffer then has to attempt to reach out to the contractor, and might get a response. To say it’s inefficient is an understatement. Clare Kelly, our Ward 1 council member, had the eminently sensible idea of tasking the parking enforcement staff with enforcement responsibilities, which would have made the system of warnings and fines much easier and avoided potentially pitting neighbor against neighbor. Unfortunately, to date City Council has chosen not to adopt that sensible approach. Come April 1, my optimistic self hopes that it will be quieter and cleaner in our neighborhoods. The pessimist in me thinks otherwise.
Who do you call when you see someone using a gas powered blower?
Call 311, it’s routed to the city’s Health and Human Services department. If it’s the first violation of the year, the city mails a warning letter to the company and property owner. That’s what they did in response to my complaint, which entailed me having to upload a video to the 311 website and multiple communications with the official. Having the parking services staff issue warnings would be so much easier for all.