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Montclair Landscapers Want City To Branch Out On Leaf Blower Ban

MONTCLAIR, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Some landscapers in Montclair want the city to branch out on its leaf blower ban.

As CBS2's Vanessa Murdock reports, many who have paid stiff fines claim officials are only laying down the law for some.

"It's OK for them, but we can't use it," said landscaper Richard Galioto with King & I Landscaping.

Galioto says this video he shot last Thursday in Watchung Plaza is evidence that discrimination is alive and well in Montclair.

"They hire contractors for the town that they allow to use blowers," Galioto said. "They allow their employees to use blowers, the county employees taking care of parks use blowers."

But when anyone wants to use them, Galioto says they are subject to a fine.

The leaf blower ban started roughly 20 years ago.

"Quiet was an issue  -- health concerns always an issue," explained Montclair Deputy Mayor Bob Russo.

The ban is in effect five months out of the year. That's right: no blowers 3 months in summer, and two at the height of winter.

It's a fine worthy offense. One landscaper admitted off camera he paid $100 and his second offense cost more. Another, Dominick Caruso, admitted he's willing to take the risk.

"I'm going to use my blower today," Caruso said. "I'm not even going to lie."

Caruson says he hasn't received noise complaints, only compliments on a job well done.

Galioto said he's going to continue fighting an ordinance he says is unfairly enforced. Last Friday he filed an official complaint with the township charging they violated their own ban -- last night he sounded off to the council.

"Suspend it until they come up with something workable for everyone involved," Galioto said.

Deputy Mayor Bill Russo says while that's not likely to happen, he does raise valid concerns.

"We're going to make sure that this doesn't continue without our involvement," Russo said. "Fair enforcement is the issue and we're willing to talk about that."

What the township isn't willing to do -- lift the ban on blowers, Murdock reported.

The town council is establishing a task force that would include landscapers to explore fair enforcement of the ban.


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