Orinda's leaf blower foes are making noise again.
The group Quiet Orinda, which last November tried unsuccessfully to convince the City Council to ban these devices with gas-powered engines, is hoping the city will take another look at the issue.
Council members, however, appear reluctant to do so.
Quiet Orinda, which says blowers are an unnecessary source of noise and air pollution, is ready to compromise. Its members want the city to create a task force to look for middle ground between blower foes and advocates.
"There was so much push-back about the total ban, especially from homeowners in particular, that we decided to retrench and consider what a compromise might be," said founder Peter Kendall.
Middle ground could include allowing gas-powered blowers to remain but further restricting them to just a few hours or days of the week.
The group also would like city support on a "green gardening" initiative to encourage landscaping techniques that steer clear of pesticides, herbicides and gas-powered tools.
Quiet Orinda's efforts last year to ban blowers brought some national attention to this leafy burb, including a feature in The New Yorker magazine.
The group will continue its outreach efforts, including a table at the weekly farmers market. Members also loaned a pair of leaf blowers to Miramonte High School on Thursday so students could analyze the dust they raise. Engaging the city's youth is a critical part of Quiet Orinda's public awareness strategy, Kendall said.
The group plans to submit its requests to the city in writing, he said, adding it "would be unacceptable" if there is no response.
"We haven't gone away, just like the problem hasn't gone away. It's gotten worse."
Council members welcome Quiet Orinda's efforts to trumpet green gardening but are reluctant to rehash an issue they feel was settled last November.
The city, Councilwoman Amy Worth said, has already compromised.
"We spent a significant amount of time reviewing (the leaf blower issue), hearing testimony last year, and I guess my position remains the same," she said. "I think we worked very hard several years ago to craft a noise ordinance that sought to seek a compromise between the various perspectives."
Orinda's current regulations restrict leaf blower use to between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekends.
Pollution concerns are best directed to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which has more resources to deal with them, said Mayor Victoria Smith.
Quiet Orinda has already done most of the work a task force would do, said Smith, adding that the group's public education campaign seems the best use of its efforts.
"They have their information that they'll put out there and their belief that it's noisy and (creates) pollution. I don't think anyone would disagree with that," she said. "It's just a question of whether you regulate that to an extent that you don't regulate other things."
Contact Jonathan Morales at 925-943-8048. Follow him at Twitter.com/sosaysjonathan.