Message to Coalition Members for a Stronger Fertilizer Ordinance

 

A heart felt thanks to all who phoned and emailed the Lee County Commissioners prior to last night’s Public Hearing and to those who spoke at the Public Hearing. Regarding the public comments, 14 were in favor of a stronger ordinance and 4 were either opposed or voiced some objections.

 

The commissioners decided to send back the ordinance to staff for further revision. Bigelow wants staff to make the ordinance as strong as possible and include homeowners. Janes liked the Sarasota outreach materials. Mann was also in favor of including homeowners and like the Sarasota outreach materials. Hall was not opposed to the addition of homeowners. She mentioned that they should use the “incorporated document”, that I provided (the technical recommendations inserted in the ordinance.) She mentioned that she wanted to have a task force with a public relations component and thanked me for getting people together on this issue. Hall also wanted staff to include the financial impact on the taxpayer for enforcement and added staff. She also thanked and commended me for bringing so many groups together. Judah had a list; agreed with restrictions that included June (in previous conversations he felt that adding June was not going to work), agreed with the homeowners inclusion, wanted application amts. included in the ordinance (and wanted to see how it compared with Sanibel and Sarasota ordinances), liked the possibility of 3 violations and your commercial license is revoked. He also wanted to mandate the 50% slow release, thinks we should  ban phosphate, agreed that the turf damage exemption should be removed, advocated the 10’ setback w/deflector shields and 3’ no application, liked the Audubon International Program Standards for golf courses and that commercial applicators should  be certified or their supervisors that are overseeing their work be certified.

 

The commissioners came across with the message that they want a stronger fertilizer ordinance than that created by staff. The fact that they were considering even greater violation penalties and including golf courses was significant.

 

It was agreed that the adoption of the fertilizer ordinance would be deferred so that the staff would have time to make the proposed changes to the ordinance and then bring it up for adoption in February at another public hearing.

 

I will continue to keep you informed. Thank you for your valuable support in working towards a sensible solution to our excessive nutrient runoff pollution. Together, we can make a difference in improving our environment and our water quality here in Southwest Florida.

 

Thank you so much,

 

Marti Daltry

Regional Community Organizer

Sierra Club – Ft. Myers Office