Landscape Landscape
Leaf Blower Ban
Leaf blowers pose multiple health risks due to air pollution attributed to their use.  The pollution comes in the form of unburned fuel, from the inefficient combustion process inherent in such devices, and from a mixture of fine particles blown into the air, particles that can go deep into the human lungs.  To address these concerns and others, many cities have banned leaf blowers; and Santa Monica has recently renewed its commitment to the enforcement of its leaf blower ban, which has been in place since 1991.  See Leaf Blower Facts page. 
 

The Law (S.M.M.C. 4.08.270)

No person shall operate any leaf blower (gas, electric, or battery powered) within the City. A leaf blower is defined as any motorized tool (gas, electric, or battery powered) used to propel fallen leaves and debris for removal. Infractions will be punishable by substantial fines to property owners, property and landscape management companies, individual operators, and/or water customers.

Six-month Report on Implementation of the Amended Leaf Blower Ordinance pdf May 24, 2011
leafblower

Reporting Leaf Blower Use

Report violations with your iPhone or Android phone, online using GO Santa Monica, by email, or by telephone.  Please provide an addressdate and time of day.  Code Compliance staff (Planning Dept.) will promptly follow-up on all inquiries.

GOSantaMonica 

 
An individual gas powered leaf blower emits 500 times the level of hydrocarbons of a modern automobile
(CA Air Resources Board).


And, with a muzzle velocity of 150 miles per hour, blowers blow dust particles, including herbicides, pesticides, and other contaminants up from the ground into the air, especially troubling asthmatics and allergy sufferers.




Enforcement Policy & Process:

  • The Code Compliance office of the Department of Planning enforces this law. 
  • Staff will act on reported violations as well as patrol throughout the week. 
  • Staff will inform operators of leaf blowers about the leaf blower ban and follow-up with a warning letter to the property owner and/or property management company and the gardening company (assuming the gardener information is obtained from the gardener or property owner/manager).  Staff will also send a warning letter if violations are reported by phone, email, or the city’s GO on-line reporting system.
    • Generally, two warning letters are issued as a courtesy before a citation/fine is issued.  This will allow the responsible parties time to work together to find alternatives in order to comply. However, any of the responsible parties involved in the violation may be cited by the police or code compliance officers without being issued a warning letter first. 
    • Property owners and/or property management companies may provide city staff with the gardener’s contact information so that future warnings and/or citations are issued to the leaf blower operator.
    • Compliance deadline is two weeks from the date the letter is issued.
  • Please continue to report violations as they occur. Each report is recorded, monitored and acted upon accordingly.
 

Apps for Reporting Violations

GOiPhoneApp

Download GORequest iPhone App   



Android

 Download GORequest Android App

Alternatives

Use alternatives like push brooms, rakes, and manual leaf sweeping machines. Leaf vacuums may be an option for larger properties.
  • Put your leaves to good use. Leaves left in place help soil retain moisture, thus minimizing irrigation requirements. Leaves used as a mulch eventually decompose and enrich the soil.
  • Hosing down paved surfaces or sweeping debris into the gutter is NOTacceptable however, and also violates city code.
  • Grants and rebates are available for a limited time to help Santa Monica property owners transform their lawns into colorful sustainable gardens that don’t need mowing, edging or blowing.  Click here for details.
 
Last updated: Wednesday, 10/09/2013

 

City of Santa Monica © 2014

Santa Monica Office of Sustainability and the Environment
1685 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90401 · (310) 458-2213 · TTY (310) 917-6626