The City of Marco Island approved its own Fertilizer Ordinance on May 7, 2016, and according to the City’s website, “the Fertilizer Ordinance governs the registration of professional landscapers on the island and limits the amount of fertilizer that can be applied to a property in one year and also puts limits on the time of year and the type of fertilizer that can be applied.”
On March 1, 2023, Marco Island Police Department Code Enforcement started enforcing the Professional Landscape/Fertilizer registration and compliance process. Marco Island Chief of Police Tracy Frazzano and Code Enforcement Officer Ira Warder said they have identified 203 landscapers working in Marco Island by actual “street canvassing.” Per the Chief, since they started this campaign, they literally stopped landscapers coming into the island and have identified who they are, kept a running list with contact information, and have contacted these companies.” Code Enforcement Officer Warder said, “of the 203 identified landscape companies, 121 have registered with the City.”
According to Chief Frazzano, those not in compliance after this grace period will begin receiving notices of violations and stop work orders, and if violations are not corrected, will be subject to a fine and brought before the Code Enforcement magistrate.
Chief Frazzano added that “their priority is to gain compliance, and this is done through education first and then follow through enforcement action. Landscapers who are doing work on Marco should have the registration decal given to them by Growth Management and displayed on their vehicles. If they don’t have that, they will be issued a Stop Work Order because we’ve already given enough time for them to get in compliance. And the only way they can continue to work is to come into compliance – either through registration, getting the specific training - whatever will get them into compliance.”
Since the registration and compliance campaign started in January, Code Enforcement Officer Warder and Kathryn Grigsby from Growth Management Kathryn Grigsby spearheaded this program. They also worked with The University of Florida offering a free Landscapers Certification class to Code Enforcement Officers and City Staff in-house, and they all passed the test! The free Landscape Training Classes were also offered to local companies.
Both Departments continue their community outreach which started with the electronic message board at the Jolley Bridge that was directed at landscape companies as they were coming onto the Island. Copies of the Fertilizer Ordinance were sent out to residents with their water bill along with the use of social media, street canvassing by Code Officers, Fertilizer Ordinance information on the City website, and calling on local businesses. Signs will be posted by June 1st in the fertilizer section of the three local retailers selling fertilizer.
The City website also highlighted the main rules governing fertilizer application:
- Do not apply fertilizer during the rainy season (June 1 – September 30) or when a weather event is predicted that will include heavy rainfall.
- Do not apply fertilizer to impervious surfaces (concrete, asphalt, pavers, etc.) or within 10 feet of a watercourse, lake, wetland or storm drain. Always use a spreader deflector shield when fertilizing.
- Do not apply phosphorus fertilizer unless a soil test has determined there is a deficiency of phosphorus.
- Fertilizers must contain no less than 50% slow-release nitrogen.
- Fertilizer may only be applied four times per year and no more than four pounds of nitrogen may be applied per 1000 square feet per year.
According to Chief Frazzano, fertilizer compliance is part of a Code Enforcement Officer’s assignment for the day and they will continue to expand their database.
If you have any questions on how to register your landscape business with the City, please email email@example.com or call Growth Management Department at 239-389-3949.
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