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    Hearing on leaf-blower compromise Monday

    A public hearing Monday will review proposals to amend the town’s seasonal ban on gas-powered leaf blowers to allow residential use of the devices and place restrictions on commercial use. A committee established by Town Meeting in the fall to study and recommend changes to the ban will host the 7 p.m. session in Town Hall. Selectwoman Diane Mahon, who is chairing the committee, said a preliminary proposal would allow residents to use the gas-powered devices, but limit their use by town employees and commercial businesses to between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on weekdays, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Town Meeting voted last May to ban the use of leaf blowers on private property from May 15 to Oct. 15 each year. Opponents to the ban organized a special town election in July in which a majority of voters supported overturning the Town Meeting decision, but the tally fell short of the required percentage. The close outcome prompted the formation of the study committee, which is also discussing proposals to limit how long leaf blowers can be used at one time, and how loud they can be. After taking input from the public, Mahon said, the committee will report to the Board of Selectmen, which is expected to make a recommendation on the bylaw before a Town Meeting vote in the spring.