Lewes City Council votes to ban gas powered landscaping equipment

Lewes plans to remove most of the gas-powered landscaping equipment to improve air quality.

In order to reduce greenhouse gases and noise pollution, Lewes City Council approved a ban on all gas-powered landscaping equipment, with the exception of lawnmowers, from 2022.

Gas strand cutters, leaf blowers, and chainsaws are allowed to remain in operation until 2025, when battery-powered versions should be as good as their gaseous counterparts.

Alderman Andrew Williams says the technology is already in place for most devices.

“The reason I wanted the five years too is because I don’t want people to throw all of their gear in the landfill at once. Hopefully you will have five years to let it run out over time. “

Councilor Rob Morgan’s original ordinance also put gas-powered lawnmowers on the chopping block, but Williams says battery technology in mowers just hasn’t caught up and won’t catch up until 2025.

Councilor Bonnie Osler says this ordinance may not even be needed. They found that most commercial landscaping companies are happy to switch to battery-powered equipment, and both consumers and commercial users can make the switch themselves if the city needs to intervene.

This ordinance also creates a new section on environmental protection in the city law.

Williams said this new section opens the door to future policies to protect against greater threats than a gas-powered leaf blower – like banning pesticides and herbicides, which are causing immense damage to the local ecosystem.

The city council also made efforts to move its city’s electoral roll to the state system.

City manager Ann Marie Townshend says the two-voter role system confuses some residents.

“I’m less concerned about the administrative burden on staff than the number of people we had to turn away because they were registered to vote with the state, live in the city, showed up and not registered with the city. I think it’s really more about making it easier for the voter. “

Voters must register with the city to vote in local elections, but must separately register with the state for other elections.

The proposal was accepted 3: 2, with Council member Bonnie Olser and Mayor Ted Becker speaking out against it. Olser argued this should just be a matter of educating voters about the system

Townshend says they tried to reach out to voters but still turned away at least 10 to 20 people from voting for the city.

The change in city law must now be approved by the Delaware General Assembly. After that, the city council can decide whether or not to use the state electoral roll.

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