Swarthmore Lawnmower Ban Proposal Causes Break-Out In Democracy

Swarthmore Lawnmower Ban Proposal Causes Break-Out In Democracy

By Bob Small

We’re not used to an outbreak of democracy in on- party Swarthmore, Pa. but it seems to be happening. There was tremendous opposition to the condo monstrosity at 110 Park Ave., now in the process of being built.

So on Monday night, June 10, when there was an overflow crowd at the Swarthmore Council legislative meeting, there was a bit of electricity in the air. Mostly everyone was there to comment on the proposed vote on ordinance 05-2024 CPOME which would ban combustion-powered outdoor maintenance equipment (CPOME ). Battery-powered and electric devices are allowable.

Twenty-five citizens commented on the ordinance with 60 percent against, and half of those for it demanding modifications. The British Parliament’s description of this would have been “a dog’s breakfast”.

Three of the anti-speakers were especially persuasive.

Rob M. Jordan, who chairs the Swarthmore Republican Committee, called this an ill-conceived “elitist and dictatorial policy.” He said that when this was first proposed last winter and Borough Manager Bill Webb was asked “how many complaints have come into his desk over two years about outdoor lawn equipment smell or noise he held up less than five fingers.

He add this is a “poorly drafted, unworkable resolution that is full of virtue signaling, but extremely short on quantifiable health output and beneficial effects to residents.” He facetiously, we think, said that Swarthmore might earn the title “Communist Borough of Swarthmore”.

Independent Democrat Neil Young said “The original proposed ban on yard equipment—lawnmowers, snow throwers, and more—was thankfully halted last month. But the legislation being forced through against significant public opposition remains  impractical, unnecessary, and unworkable “ He added “the proposed ban is a textbook case of poor governance”.

Matt Tirpak, long-time owner of Swarthmore’s two-decade old TLC Landscape Service explained how the new law would cause his expenses to rise which would cause his charges to increase.

The room was still packed when David Boonin, who chairs the Environment Committee, declared the ordinance will be tabled.

Council’s next meeting is Monday, July 8.

The Environment Committee meeting, where this may be on the agenda, is 7 p.m., June 24. Boonin asked that Swarthmore residents with opinions on it to contact him at dboonin@swarthmorepa.org

Swarthmore Lawnmower Ban Causes Break-Out In Democracy

Swarthmore Lawnmower Ban Causes Break-Out In Democracy

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