[HISTORY: Adopted by the County Legislature of the County of Ulster as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Pesticide Applications
Article II Non-Toxic Landscape Maintenance
[Adopted 12-6-2006 by L.L. No. 3-2006]
This Legislature finds that individuals and their personal property are, or can be, unwittingly exposed to pesticides applied on their neighbor's property from commercial and residential lawn applications. This Legislature further finds that pesticides may pose health and safety risks to people, particularly children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with infirmities. The intent of this article is to provide information to County residents about certain pesticide applications to which they may be exposed, so that they can take steps to minimize such exposure to themselves, their families, pets, crops, livestock, backyard wildlife and property.
Accordingly, this Legislature hereby adopts the special notice requirements for commercial and residential lawn applications of pesticides as set forth in § 33-1004 of the New York Environmental Conservation Law. It is intended that this article be read and applied consistently with that section and all other applicable provisions of the Environmental Conservation Law and regulations promulgated thereunder.
This article shall be known as the "Ulster County Neighbor Notification Law."
All terms used herein shall be as defined in Article 33 of the New York Environmental Conservation Law. As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ABUTTING PROPERTY
- Any property which has any boundary or boundary point in common with the property on which the pesticide is to be applied.
- Any state agency; municipal corporation; public authority; college, as that term is defined in the Education Law; railroad, as that term is defined in the Railroad Law; or telegraph, telephone, telegraph and telephone, pipeline, gas, electric, or gas and electric corporation, as those terms are defined in the Transportation Corporations Law, which applies pesticides.
- COMMERCIAL LAWN APPLICATION
- The application of pesticide to ground, trees, or shrubs on public or private outdoor property. For the purposes of this article, the following shall not be considered "commercial lawn application":
- A. The application of pesticide for the purpose of producing an agricultural commodity;
- B. Residential application of pesticides;
- C. The application of pesticides around or near the foundation of a building for the purpose of indoor pest control;
- D. The application of pesticides by or on behalf of agencies, except that agencies shall be subject to visual notification requirements pursuant to § 33-1003 of the Environmental Conservation Law where such application is within 100 feet of a dwelling, multiple dwelling, public building or public park; and
- E. The application of pesticides on golf courses or turf farms.
- The Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
- Any building or structure or portion thereof which is occupied in whole or in part as the home, residence or sleeping place for one or two families.
- GENERAL USE PESTICIDE
- A pesticide which does not meet the state criteria for a restricted pesticide as established under the authority of § 33-0303 of the New York Environmental Conservation Law.
- MULTIPLE DWELLING
- Any dwelling which is to be occupied by or is occupied as the residence or home of three or more families living independently of each other.
- Land and improvements or appurtenances or any part thereof.
- RESIDENTIAL LAWN APPLICATION
- The application of general use pesticides to ground, trees, or shrubs on property owned by or leased to the individual making such application. For the purposes of this article, the following shall not be considered "residential lawn application":
- A. The application of pesticides for the purpose of producing an agricultural commodity;
- B. The application of pesticides around or near the foundation of a building for the purpose of indoor pest control;
- C. The application of pesticides by or on behalf of agencies, except that agencies shall be subject to visual notification requirements pursuant to § 33-1003 of the New York Environmental Conservation Law where such application is within 100 feet of a dwelling, multiple dwelling, public building or public park; and
- D. The application of pesticides on golf courses or turf farms.
The provisions in this section are adopted in their entirety and without exception pursuant to § 33-1004 of the New York Environmental Conservation Law.
Retail consumer information sign. All retail establishments that sell general use pesticides for commercial or residential lawn application shall display a sign meeting standards established by the Commissioner pursuant to Subdivision 1 of § 33-1005 of the Environmental Conservation Law in a conspicuous place, and such sign shall be placed as close as possible to the place where such pesticides are displayed.
Prior notification of commercial lawn applications.
At least 48 hours prior to any commercial lawn application of a pesticide, the person or business making such application shall supply written notice, as defined in Subdivision 3 of § 33-1005 of the Environmental Conservation Law, to:
Occupants of all dwellings on abutting property with a boundary that is within 150 feet of the site of such application; and
Owners, owners' agents, or other persons in a position of authority for all other types of premises that are on abutting property with a boundary that is within 150 feet of the site of such application. Owners or owners' agents of multiple-family dwellings shall supply such written notice to the occupants of such multiple-family dwellings, and for all other types of premises, owners, owners' agents or other persons in a position of authority shall post such written notice in a manner specified by the Commissioner.
Such prior notification provisions shall not apply to the following:
The application of antimicrobial pesticides and antimicrobial products as defined by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) in 7 U.S.C. §§ 136(mm) and 136q(h)(2);
The use of an aerosol product with a directed spray, in containers of 18 fluid ounces or less, when used to protect individuals from an imminent threat from stinging and biting insects, including venomous spiders, bees, wasps and hornets. This subsection shall not exempt from notification the use of any fogger product or aerosol product that discharges to a wide area;
The use of nonvolatile insect or rodent bait in a tamper-resistant container;
The application of a pesticide classified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as an exempt material under 40 CFR 152.25;
The application of a pesticide which the United States Environmental Protection Agency has determined satisfies its reduced risk criteria, including a biopesticide;
The use of boric acid and disodium octaborate tetrahydrate;
The use of horticultural soap and oils that do not contain synthetic pesticides or synergists;
The application of a granular pesticide, where "granular pesticide" means any ground-applied solid pesticide that is not a dust or powder;
The application of a pesticide by direct injection into a plant or the ground;
The spot application of a pesticide, where "spot application" means the application of pesticide in a manually pressurized or nonpressurized container of 32 fluid ounces or less to an area of ground less than nine square feet;
The application of a pesticide to the ground or turf of any cemetery; and
An emergency application of a pesticide when necessary to protect against an imminent threat to human health; provided, however, that prior to any such emergency application, the person providing such application shall make a good faith effort to supply the written notice required pursuant to this article. Upon making an emergency application, the person making such application shall notify the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health, using a form developed by such Commissioner for such purpose, that shall include minimally the name of the person making such application, the pesticide business registration number or certified applicator number of the person making such application, the location of such application, the date of such application, the product name and United States Environmental Protection Agency registration number of the pesticide applied and the reason for such application.
Posting of residential lawn applications.
All persons performing residential lawn applications treating an area more than 100 square feet shall affix markers to be placed within or along the perimeter of the area where pesticides will be applied. Markers are to be placed so as to be clearly visible to persons immediately outside the perimeter of such property. Such markers shall be posted at least 12 inches above the ground and shall be at least four inches by five inches in size.
Such markers shall be in place on the day during which the pesticide is being applied and shall instruct persons not to enter the property and not to remove the signs for a period of at least 24 hours. Such instruction shall be printed boldly in letters at least 3/8 of an inch in height.
Pursuant to § 33-1004 of the New York Environmental Conservation Law, the Ulster County Department of Health shall enforce the provisions of this article administratively, provided that all sanctions, which shall be assessed after providing a hearing or opportunity to be heard, shall be as specified in § 284-5 of this article and shall be payable to and deposited with Ulster County.
A person providing a commercial lawn application who violates any provision of this article shall be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000 for a first violation and not to exceed $10,000 for a subsequent offense.
An owner or owner's agent of a multiple dwelling or owner, owner's agent or a person in a position of authority for all other types of premises who violates any rule or regulation pursuant to § 284-3B of this article (prior notification of commercial lawn applications), and a person who violates any provision of Subsection C of such section (posting of residential lawn applications), shall for a first such violation, in lieu of a penalty, be issued a written warning and shall also be issued educational materials prepared by the Commissioner pursuant to Subdivision 2 of § 33-1005 of the New York Environmental Conservation Law. Such person shall, however, for a second violation, be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $100 and not to exceed $250 for any subsequent violation.
A person who violates the provisions of § 284-3A of this article (retail consumer information sign) shall be issued a warning for the first violation and shall be provided seven days to correct such violation and shall be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $100 for a second violation and not to exceed $250 for a subsequent violation.
Criminal sanctions for persons providing commercial lawn applications.
Any person providing a commercial lawn application and having the culpable mental states defined in Subdivision 1 or 2 of § 15.05 of the New York Penal Law who violates any provision of this article, except an offense relating to the application of a general use pesticide, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $5,000 for each day during which such violation continues or by imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment. If the conviction is for a subsequent offense committed after a first conviction of such person under this subsection, punishment shall be by a fine not to exceed $10,000 for each day during which such violation continues or by imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
Any person providing a commercial lawn application who violates any provision of this article relating to the use of a general use pesticide shall be guilty of a violation and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $2,500. If the conviction is for a subsequent offense committed after the first such conviction of such person under this subsection, punishment shall be a fine not to exceed $5,000.
This article shall take effect on the first day of January after it shall have been adopted and filed with the office of the Secretary of State. Within 20 days after adoption of this article, the Clerk of the County Legislature shall forward one certified copy thereof to the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and one to the New York State Attorney General.
[Adopted 6-10-2009 by L.L. No. 4-2009]
This article shall be known as the "Ulster County Non-Toxic Landscape Maintenance Act."
For the purpose of this article, the following are defined as follows:
- INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT
- Technique for agricultural disease and pest control in which as many pest control methods as possible are used in an ecologically harmonious manner to keep infestation within manageable limits.
- NATURAL, NON-TOXIC, LEAST TOXIC OR BIOLOGICAL PESTICIDE
- A pesticide that is a naturally occurring substance or microorganism that controls pests in a non-toxic manner or, if approved by the Department of the Environment or the Advisory Committee, the least toxic method possible.
- NON-TOXIC PEST MANAGEMENT (NPM)
- A problem-solving strategy that prioritizes a natural, non-toxic approach to turf grass and landscape management without the use of toxic and synthetic pesticides. It mandates the use of natural, non-toxic or, as a last resort with the Advisory Committee's approval, least toxic cultural practices that promote healthy soil and plant life as a preventative measure against the onset of turf and landscape pest problems. Essential NPM practices include, but are not limited to:
- A. Regular soil testing;
- B. Addition of approved soil amendments as necessitated by soil test results, following, but not limited to, the recommendations of the Northeast Organic Farmers' Association, Massachusetts and Connecticut Chapters, Organic Land Care Program and/or the Organic Material Review Institute of Eugene;
- C. Selection of plantings using criteria of hardiness; suitability to native conditions; drought, disease and pest resistance; and ease of maintenance;
- D. Using, with the Advisory Committee approval, the least toxic organic or non-toxic nonorganic products, as some organic products are toxic;
- E. Modification of outdoor management practices to comply with organic horticultural science, including scouting, monitoring, watering, mowing, pruning, proper spacing, and mulching;
- F. The use of physical controls, including hand weeding and over seeding;
- G. The use of biological controls, including the introduction of natural predators, and enhancement of the environment of a pest's natural enemies;
- H. Through observation, determining the most effective treatment time, based on pest biology and other variables, such as weather and local conditions; and
- I. Eliminating pest habitats and conditions supportive of pest population increases.
- Any insect, rodent, fungus, weed or any other form of terrestrial or aquatic or animal life or virus, bacteria, or other microorganism (except viruses, bacteria or other microorganisms ordinarily present on or in humans or living animals) which the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation declares to be a pest.
- Any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest and any substance or mixture of substances intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliator or desiccant. It shall include all pesticide products registered as such by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and all products for which experimental use permits and provisional registrations have been granted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
- Any substance that is harmful to humans. It is recognized that, by their very nature, pesticides and herbicides are toxic to those pests they are designed to eliminate. Obviously, the concern of this article is to limit pesticides' toxicity to humans while preventing pests from multiplying and thereby endangering humans. A pesticide's relative toxicity to humans is the standard that should govern the determination as to which pesticides should be utilized. Measures of relative toxicity have been determined by measuring their effect upon adult humans, who have greater mass and weights than children. Thus, children are at greater risk from exposures to even low levels of pesticides.
The County of Ulster agrees with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that "all pesticides are toxic to some degree...and the commonplace, widespread use of pesticides is both a major environmental problem and a public health issue."
The County of Ulster recognizes that all residents (particularly children), as well as other inhabitants of our natural environment, have a right to protection from exposure to hazardous chemicals and pesticides in particular.
The County of Ulster recognizes that a balanced and healthy ecosystem is vital to the health of the County and its citizens and as such is also in need of protection from exposure to hazardous chemicals and pesticides in particular.
[Amended 8-17-2010 by L.L. No. 3-2010]]
Furthermore, the County of Ulster recognizes that it is in the best interest of public health to eliminate the use of toxic pesticides on County-owned land; to encourage the reduction and elimination of the use of toxic pesticides on private property; and to introduce and promote natural, non-toxic or, as a last resort and with the Advisory Committee's approval, least toxic management practices to prevent and, when necessary, control pest problems on County-owned and -leased land.
Therefore, the County of Ulster seeks to implement non-toxic pest management (NPM) on County-owned and -leased lands.
The County of Ulster hereby adopts the precautionary principle (as defined by the Wingspread statement) as the basis for its non-toxic pest management (NPM) policy. The precautionary principle states: "When an activity raises threats of harm to the environment or human health, precautionary measures should be taken, even if some cause and effect relationships are not yet fully established."
The County of Ulster hereby adopts an NPM policy that mandates the following on all properties where the County is responsible to maintain the outside areas, including lawns and grassy areas:
The use and application of toxic chemical pesticides, either by County of Ulster employees or by private contractors, for the purpose of turf and landscape maintenance, are prohibited on all lands maintained by the County of Ulster.
If toxic products must be used, based upon a waiver or exemption, then natural, least toxic turf and landscape cultural practices and maintenance shall be the method of choice to understand, prevent, and control potential pest problems.
All control products used under the terms of this policy shall be in keeping with, but not limited to, those products on the approved list of the Northeast Organic Farming Association, Connecticut and Massachusetts Chapters, Organic Land Care Program or approved by the Advisory Committee.
County of Ulster employees who work with turf grass and the landscape receive education and training in natural, least toxic turf and landscape management to be coordinated by the Advisory Committee if, in its opinion and discretion, such training is necessary.
A listing of all County-maintained lands affected by this policy shall be made available to the public by posting a list on the County website.
An Advisory Committee on Non-Toxic Pest Management will be formed with the following members: Commissioner of Public Works or designee, Coordinator of the Department of the Environment or designee, Executive Director of the Soil and Water Conservation District or designee, Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension or designee, and the Chairperson of the Environmental Management Council or designee. The Advisory Committee will oversee and assist in the implementation of the NPM policy, develop an NPM program consistent with this article, and advise the Chairperson of the Ulster County Legislature's committee responsible for environmental issues of any problems encountered or amendments required to achieve the full and successful implementation of this policy.
The Advisory Committee shall seek the participation, advice, and counsel of experts in the fields of non-toxic turf and landscape management and NPM protocol. Broad community participation, including parents, schools, advocates, and local landscaping businesses, shall be encouraged on a nonvoting basis.
Any decision by the Advisory Committee pursuant to this article shall be by majority vote of the entire Committee membership and not merely a majority or those present and voting.
All turf and landscape pest management activities taking place on land maintained by the County of Ulster land shall be subject to this article, except as follows:
Pesticides or classes of pesticides classified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as not requiring regulation under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act under 40 CFR 152.25 and therefore exempt from such regulation when intended for use and used only in the manner specified.
Biological pesticides, such as Bacillus thuringiensis or milky spore, that are not genetically modified.
Pesticides in contained baits for the purpose of rodent control.
Poison ivy and poison oak that constitute a health hazard.
Any property or categories of properties as recommended from time to time by the Ulster County Coordinator of Environmental Resources and approved by the Ulster County Legislature by mere resolution.
Any County agency or contractor may apply to the Advisory Committee for a single-use waiver of the restrictions established pursuant to this article. Such application shall be in a form and manner prescribed by the Advisory Committee and shall contain such information as the Committee deems reasonable and necessary to determine whether such waiver should be granted. The Advisory Committee may grant such waivers by a majority vote of the voting membership, not merely a majority of those present and voting.
In determining whether to grant or deny a request for a waiver, the Advisory Committee shall consider the magnitude of the infestation, whether the pest situation poses an immediate threat to public health, property, or the environment, the availability of effective alternatives consistent with this article, and the likelihood of exposure of humans to the pesticide.
No waiver shall be approved unless the following conditions have been met:
Any pesticide used of all available choices must have the least acute and chronic toxic effect on human health or safety; and
The applicant must submit a plan demonstrating how underlying causes of the pest outbreak will be addressed in a manner consistent with this article to prevent future outbreaks.
If a pest situation poses an immediate threat to human health and warrants the use of pesticides that would otherwise not be permitted under this article, the Ulster County Commissioner of Health or Public Health Director shall have the authority to grant a temporary emergency waiver for a period of 30 days. Notice of the waiver request shall be given to the Advisory Committee for advice on resolving the problem without the use of pesticides. The Commissioner or Public Health Director may extend the waiver for one additional period not to exceed six months. Nothing in this waiver provision prohibits the County of Ulster from adopting additional waivers via resolution for as long as the condition exists. Any County department using a pesticide under such a waiver must comply with all applicable federal and state laws regarding pesticide use and Article I, Pesticide Application, of this chapter.