A proposal aimed at limiting use of leaf blowers in South Miami now appears to be dead.
On Tuesday night, the South Miami City Commission rejected Mayor Phillip Stoddard’s proposal to change the city’s noise ordinance to specify exact acceptable decibel levels and durations of sound.
The change to the noise ordinance started out in June as some residents wanted to ban leaf blowers.
Instead of banning leaf blowers, Stoddard tried to put numbers to what he considers confusing ordinance wording.
The current language of the ordinance says a sound is inappropriate if it “annoys” people.
Stoddard, a biology professor, said he wanted to be able to quantify what “annoys” people.
Stoddard’s model, with exact durations and decibel reading levels, was based off of the city of Sacramento’s ordinance.
The commission rejected the changes by a vote of 3-2. Only Stoddard and Commissioner Bob Welsh wanted the changes.
Also on Tuesday, Steven Alexander was sworn in as city manager, and the commission welcomed René Landa as the city’s new police chief.
The commission effectively pushed out the former police chief, Orlando Martinez de Castro, last week.
Tuesday’s meeting was at at times tense.
Newman and fellow Commissioner Walter Harris got into an argument over a statistic that determined how effective the Martinez de Castro was at following through with arrests.
At one point, Stoddard had the sound technician cut the microphones of those on the dais because the conversation was getting too out of hand.
Microphone off, Newman said, “Oh, now we don’t want the truth to come out.”
After 50 seconds, the microphones came back on.
The commission also passed an ordinance that prohibits the use of helipads and the landing or takeoff of helicopters except in emergency situations.
Because there are no helipads or trauma centers within the city, emergency medical patients can be airlifted via helicopter out of South Miami, but not into the city, said Mayor Stoddard.
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