SONOMA, Calif – Gas-powered leaf blowers got a last-minute reprieve in Sonoma after the city’s mayor reversed himself by casting the deciding vote against a ban on the noisy landscaping machines.

Sonoma was poised to become the first city in Sonoma County, and one of the few in the nation, to ban gas-powered leaf blowers.

After taking public comment Monday night, including from several landscapers, Mayor Ken Brown cast the crucial vote giving opponents of a ban the slim majority they needed to defeat the effort. Council members Tom Rouse and David Cook also voted against the ban. Supporting it were council members Steve Barbose and Laurie Gallian.

As of 2011, about 20 California cities had bans on leaf-blowers in place, including Belvedere, Beverly Hills, Carmel, Del Mar, Malibu, Santa Monica, Mill Valley, Berkeley and Palo Alto. Other cities restrict hours of operation, or allow only electric or battery-powered blowers.
Sonoma restricts hours when leaf blowers can be used to from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday in residential areas, and in city parks on the same days between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.

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