After months of discussion, the Rehoboth Beach Environment Committee is finalizing recommendations that would eliminate the use of gas-powered landscape equipment within city limits.
The committee proposes to implement the program in phases – city-owned equipment and city contractors by Dec. 31, 2023; commercial lawn care companies by Dec. 31, 2024; and residents by Dec. 31, 2025.
If Rehoboth makes the proposed changes, it would be following in the footsteps of Lewes. In December 2020, Lewes Mayor and City Council voted to ban all handheld gas-powered landscaping equipment by Dec. 31, 2025.
Under Lewes’ adopted ordinance, the expectation is that residents and landscaping companies will move to battery or electric tools by Dec. 31, 2022. The ordinance allows for three exceptions to the soon-to-be-enforced rule – leaf blowers, string trimmers and chainsaws. However, those three pieces will then be fully banned at the end of 2025. Gas-powered lawn mowers are fully exempt from the ordinance.
Rehoboth is considering a more restrictive ban. For the implementation dates for each category, the committee is considering a recommendation that includes leaf blowers, chainsaws with a blade less than 14 inches in length, string trimmers and push mowers. The committee is also considering large chainsaws and riding mowers by the end of 2027 for city equipment and city contractors, by the end of 2028 for commercial businesses and by the end of 2029 for residents.
The committee is considering the implementation of a hardship waiver that would be overseen by the city manager, who would have the ability to designate that responsibility to the city arborist.
The committee is expected to resume discussion and possibly finalize the recommendations during its next meeting, which is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 20.
Commissioner Edward Chrzanowski, who chairs the committee, said the committee has heard from large-scale contractors, but he would like to hear more from mom-and-pop contractors and city residents.