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Re: misuse of leaf blowers

From: Jonathan McKinney <jmckinne_at_(domain_name_was_removed)>
Date: Mon, 1 Nov 2010 06:15:56 -0700

Dear esteemed City Council Members,

I want to thank you very much for your help with the neighbors at Sharon Green who were using leaf blowers at 6am when they should have only started at 8am. After you called them, they promptly stopped using the leaf blowers until 8am as required by law. This was quite urgent since they would do this almost every day. I and others are eternally grateful for your efforts.

We have a similar issue that's been going on for all 3 years since I've been at the same address in Menlo Park. I didn't report this issue before because I wasn't sure there was anything I could do about it. But it's become a serious problem for many people in my apartment complex at Seven Oaks and also at Sharon Green.

We live about 200 feet from a parking lot in the back of a business complex hosting (among others) Bank of America on Sand Hill Rd. Check out Google Maps Sat View to see that their back parking lot is just across the street from our apartments. Over the period of 3 years, each week at some point around 1am or anywhere up to about 6am, about 3 leaf blowers operate for about 1 total hour. It's very loud and disrupts our sleep.

About 10 times I called the police, but they only caught them in time once. However, nothing changed. Overall, we have become disillusioned with our ability to do anything about the situation through normal means.

Lately it's become worse because they operate every Monday at 5am - 6:30am. As opposed to 1-2am, operating around 6-6:30am means it's a bit before most people would wake up. So people easily lose 2-3 hours of sleep because of the intrusion of loud sounds over the period of 1 hour. It's hard to get back to sleep when you are soon to wake up.

Now, I'm aware that business districts have different rules to follow than residential areas. However, here is a situation where the business might as well be in a residential area as far as the sound level they create. The sound is very loud and annoying even through several thick walls within the apartments.

I've tried talking to the Bank of America people, but they have no idea who would be involved with such tasks. I feel I'm getting the run-around.

Can anything be done? Feel free to email me and I'll provide contact information (phone numbers, etc.) for myself and other people affected.

Desperate and losing sleep...

Jonathan C. McKinney
Elena I. Rykhlevskaia
and other Sharon Green and Seven Oaks residents.

On Sun, Feb 7, 2010 at 10:53 PM, Jonathan McKinney <jmckinne_at_stanford.edu>wrote:

> Dear esteemed City Council Members,
> I've lived in Menlo Park for only 2.5 years and it's a wonderful place.
> I've always dreamed of living in CA, and I'm very happy with Menlo Park.
> This happiness is only interrupted to a painfully negative state due to the
> frequent use of leaf blowers (and less often lawn mowers) by Sharon Green
> apartments, which typically about 3 gas-powered leaf blowers going 2-3 times
> a week starting at 6am in the morning. The earliness of their use is the
> most painful aspect.
> Certainly noise ordinances are violated, but without any type of ban, the
> places that want to use leaf blowers have gone overboard into the opposite
> direction. It seems they believe they can get away with anything.
> I'm certain this violates the noise ordinances with respect to day time vs.
> night time allowances, but it's unclear that using 2-3 leaf blowers (that I
> measure reach ~80dBA) would even be allowed during the day.
> I've called the police on several occasions, but it's of course a low
> priority and within an hour the leaf blowing has stopped so they miss them.
> I've also installed sound proofing material in my windows and have started
> to use ear plugs (I can still clearly here them). But I don't think I
> should have to do this.
> Is there anything I can do? I'm thinking of moving to Palo Alto, but there
> are so many other things about Menlo Park that are great and I'd hate to
> miss them.
> Thanks,
> Jon McKinney
> 600 Sharon Park Drive (Seven Oaks)
Received on Mon Nov 01 2010 - 06:17:20 PDT

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