OLD TAPPAN, N.J. – When Christina Curry-Mai and her family moved to Old Tappan three years ago, they were surprised at how loud their lives had become.
“We saw the house in the winter,” said Curry-Mai, a local yoga teacher. “When we moved in, it was the first week of April. It was then we realized how frequently the landscapers are working in Old Tappan.”
Especially during the spring and during fall cleanup, she said, landscapers work for hours on end.
Municipal law categorizes landscape workers as construction workers, Curry-Mai explained. As such, Ordinance 170 allows them to work from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays.
Curry-Mai supports landscapers and the work they do.
“Of course, we all need to care of their lawns,” she said. “But I’d like us to find balance.”
Specifically, she’d like to see the borough reduce the hours landscapers are allowed to work. Fewer hours, she contends, would give people who are home during the day a break from the constant level of noise that assaults them.
Curry-Mai went before the borough council with her complaint and walked away with a request from the local governing body: to quantify just how many people are as bothered by the noise as the Mai family.
But Curry-Mai said she’s just begun to raise consciousness about the issue.
She also believes the noise situation should cause people to look closer at the environmental effects of power equipment used to groom residential properties. Citing the website quietcommunities.org, the petition states that lawn mowers emit 11 times the pollution of cars.
Further, it says the engines of leaf blowers, string trimmers, and edgers burn a gas-oil mixture that emits ozone-forming chemicals.
“We have to be able to be at peace in our home,” Curry-Mai said. “I feel like I’m at the mercy of the landscaping companies. Right now I feel they have more rights than I do.”