Hearings scheduled for landscaping hours restrictions

In mid-February, the Village of Garden City established new rules for landscapers, including a seasonal ban on the use of gas-powered leaf blowers from late May through early September, as well as a new requirement for landscapers to obtain a village license in order to work in Garden City. But previous board discussions on the subject have left some key details “up in the air”.

The March 2022 board meetings – Thursdays, March 3 and 17 – will attempt to clarify permitted operations for landscapers working in Garden City, starting with regulations on the hours they can operate.

Another issue that will be addressed by Commission action is noise emitted by landscaping equipment. A proposed local law would change the code for the Village of Garden City regarding noise, whether from landscaping or construction equipment, as well as noise from commercial properties located in the Village.

Two proposed local laws – one for hours of landscaping operations and the other an amendment to the village code governing “noise” – have been set for the March 3 board meeting. If approved by the Board, the changes will be adopted at the March 17 Board meeting.

During the February 15 meeting, Administrator Louis Minuto questioned the rationale for enacting separate local laws and potential changes to the village code beyond the initial two laws approved that evening. The discussion on the authorized calendar for landscaping operations – with particular interest in restricting Sundays, according to comments from Mayor Cosmo Veneziale – took place during the meeting. After questions from Administrator Minuto, village lawyer Peter Bee explained that the discussions about passing local laws leading up to this point left a gray area, “as to what is important and what isn’t.” is not” for any potential changes.

“In this context, I’ve heard a number of different suggestions (about the time periods allowed for landscaping). Cumulatively and collaboratively, I believe that the adoption of each of the suggestions would constitute a significant change (to the local laws approved after the February 15 public hearings). It is up to the council to decide whether or not a single proposed change would constitute a material change… But if the local law was challenged by a citizen, business or other entity, a conservative approach would be to ensure that nothing was open to a challenge. The more changes there are and the more significant the changes, the greater the risk that a court may find that individually or cumulatively they constitute a material change. I warn the board that it should be slow to make changes, and any changes you make to local laws should be extremely minor,” Bee advised.

The board voted to pass local laws regarding seasonal leaf blower bans and licensing of landscaping operations.

As part of the board’s deliberations at the last meeting, Mayor Cosmo Veneziale spoke about possible time regulations that Garden City may impose on landscaping and gardening equipment operations. The mayor asked village attorney Bee if the council could change local laws with “corrections” after the initial approval. As a first step, the mayor suggested discussion at an upcoming board meeting with a council resolution proposing to set the amount of a license fee, as well as hours and hours regulations. use of landscaping equipment. The mayor noted that there needs to be an established process for determining licensing fees as well as “timetables of work.”

Should Sunday work be banned?

“I am definitely opposed to people working outside on Sundays. I certainly don’t want people working and using heavy equipment around village properties on a Sunday. And I think allowing work from Monday to Friday until 8 p.m. is excessive. I think we should consider 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the latest – and on Saturdays we should allow equipment to be used from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. I think this is a great proactive environmental idea for the Garden City village and I think some regulations will need to be changed a bit more,” he explained.

Trustee Minuto said while he supported the licensing of landscapers and the seasonal ban on the use of gas-powered leaf blowers, the council and the village owed village residents and landscaping contractors describe all regulations and what will be expected for their operations.

Village administrator Mary Carter Flanagan, who as chair of the environmental advisory board was instrumental in moving the two local laws approved at the last meeting to council level. She told her board colleagues that regulating the hours and days of landscaping operations in local laws being considered on Feb. 15 would “open up a whole different Pandora’s box.” She said council would be interested in hearing from various stakeholders and village residents on this issue, and if council proceeds with its March 3 agenda, a public hearing on these bylaws would be held in two weeks, on the day of the Saint Patrick.

Administrator Carter Flanagan noted that while no input came from the EAB side on regulations for specific times and days of the week, she understood that Mayor Veneziale and Deputy Mayor Tom O’Brien each provided their thoughts for the final round of public hearings. She said some of the evidence raised indicated that residents might be more interested in quietness in the morning or early evening. Hours regulations were not part of the initial local laws approved last month, as the Council also considered the potential economic impacts on landscapers. In case of bad weather, they “should always maintain their sets of houses in the village”.

Carter Flanagan explained that what was included in the first local “landscaping” laws approved on February 15 were the hours of operation already included in the village code. The new local laws were not intended to regulate days and times. She said priorities had been set because the village had ‘no permits and no rules for so long, and it’s a good solid step in the right direction to put in place’.

Environmental Advisory Council member Molly Przetycki Fielder spoke during public comments and said she was unable to go out at all when leaf blowers and other landscaping equipment were used in his neighborhood.

“An independent vehicle emissions study found that when it comes to producing hydrocarbons, running a gas-powered leaf blower for 30 minutes is equivalent to driving a Ford F-150 from Texas to Alaska,” it said. she told the directors. She also warned of the combination of gas and oil from leaf blower engines spilling onto lawns, public lawns and also harmful to local water.

Administrator Carter Flanagan said she was proud to have the “widely supported common sense rule on the use of gas-powered leaf blowers.”

Fixing license fees

Licenses for landscaping operations and contractors in the village will be issued annually; any license issued will expire on December 31 of the current year. License fees are set by the Board of Directors and may be changed from time to time by resolution of the Board. Administrator Carter Flanagan explained that, at the direction of Village Attorney Bee, the exact fees were not specified in the language of local law because they could change at a later date. The Commission considered the $100 license fee that several nearby Long Island villages implemented to be a reasonable amount.

Licenses can be obtained by the owner of a landscaping company or a corporate officer, and applications must be completed, submitted to the village administration, and kept on file with the town hall.

To receive an initial license and annual license renewals, landscaping companies must obtain bodily injury insurance at a scale of $100,000/$300,000 as well as property damage – up to $50,000/$50,000 and with a combined limit reaching a minimum of $300,000. Per New York State Workers’ Compensation law, landscapers wishing to be licensed in the Village must show proof of workers’ compensation and disability insurance.

Michael Giordano, a landscaping/gardening professional with Giordano’s Garden Services/Nursery, based in West Hempstead, has asked the board to consider implementing the landscaping license from April 1 or late March, so businesses have time to prepare “and get everything together in the winter” so they can deliver their services to Garden City customers in time for spring. He said that by the time the Fall cleanups will take place, especially with last fall and the leaves falling so late, operations from the previous year’s landscape contractor may continue until January. He explained that part of the process for businesses involves a landfill permit from the town of Hempstead, which he said could take some time to process.

He offered the Board of Directors a positive view of the regulations relating to the licensing of all landscapers operating in Garden City in the future.

“Half the gardeners used to say, ‘we don’t know why Garden City doesn’t (already)!’ I think licensing is a bit of a hindrance to night landscapers and people want to know they are hiring reputable companies. Customers should want to know that they are using properly licensed companies, that they have workers’ compensation and liability insurance, and we think that’s a good idea. And hopefully we can make this leaf blower situation work as well,” he explained.

Terri S. Tomasini