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City Council: Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers on the Chopping Block

Coronado City Council
Coronado City Council
A plan to replace gas-powered leaf blowers and weed whips with electric ones, a raise for City Manager Blair King and an appeal to spare a Spanish-style bungalow on Encino Row top the September 5 city council agenda.

Leaf Blower Conversion: The proposal calls for replacing all gas-powered leaf blowers and weed whips with zero-emission (electric) ones by December 31, 2018. The Municipal Golf Course would be exempt because of costs. Maintaining the greens with battery-powered units would cost an additional $90,500 per year to meet its current maintenance schedule. This would be in addition to the $98,000 the staff estimates it would cost to convert the lawn blowers and weed whips used to maintain the city’s 21 parks. Converting golf course equipment would result in higher green fees, according to the staff report.

Gas powered lawn and garden equipment (GLGE) poses a serious environmental hazard. The California Air Quality Board (CARB) predicts that by 2020 exhaust emissions from leaf blowers and other small gas-powered engines will surpass that of vehicles. Currently California is a leading producer of GLGE pollutants. Many cities have already taken steps to limit the use of this type of equipment. Some have issued outright bans.

The proposal also calls for the city council to revisit the issue of gas-powered leaf blowers during its 2018-2019 budget workshop.

City manager salary increase: If approved, the city manager would receive a two-percent pay increase for the 2017-2018 fiscal year which would also be applied retroactively to July 1, 2017 (the beginning of the 2017-18 fiscal year). King currently earns $216,958. The raise also allows 120 hours of annual leave to be converted to cash during the fiscal year. This is the fifth raise King has received since he was hired in 2010.

Historic home designation: In August, the historic resources commission (HRC) issued a demolition permit for an S. D. Chapin bungalow at 1034 Encino Row. Despite being built by a notable San Diego builder, the commission determined that the house was not an example of his best work.

Others disagree. Commissioner Susan Keith argues that the house should be preserved because no Spanish bungalow built by Chapin has been recognized as historic. Keith lives within 500 feet the Encino Bungalow and was disqualified from participating in the discussion or voting on the demolition application.

In her appeal to the council Keith wrote: “It is estimated he [Chapin] built over 200 houses in Coronado. Many of his homes have already been demolished, and a few have been designated historic. Most of these designated resources are large homes on fairly large lots…[but,] there is NO Spanish bungalow represented…”

City Council will meet at 4pm on September 5, 2017 at City Hall, 1825 Strand Way.


Gloria Tierney
Gloria Tierney
A freelance writer in San Diego for more than 30 years. She has written for a number of national and international newspapers, including the Times of London, San Diego Tribune, Sierra Magazine, Reuters News Service and Patch.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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