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Ordinance # 687

An ordinance of the Town of Fairfax amending Title 8, Health and Safety of the Fairfax Town code, by adding a new Chapter 8.40 entitled:  Pesticides; the prohibition of use on Fairfax parks, open space parcels and public rights of way including both aerial spraying and ground applications and the public notice of pesticide use on private property.

8.40.010 Purpose: 

The use of pesticides with known carcinogens in the Town of Fairfax is of such great concern to the Town Council that in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of Fairfax residents this ordinance is being adopted.  The Town Council is formalizing Fairfax's official policy of NOT using pesticides on town property by prohibiting the use of pesticides on Fairfax parks, open space parcels and public rights of way including both aerial spraying and ground applications;  and, requiring public notice entitled "neighbor notification" prior to pesticide use on private property.

Residents of Fairfax have a right to know when pesticides are being used in their neighborhood on private property in order to allow time to take precautions to protect themselves, their family, pets and property from the hazards of pesticide exposure.

The headwaters for Corte Madera Creek are the Fairfax and San Anselmo (Cascade) Creeks which traverse the town limits. Coho salmon and steelhead (native to these creeks) have been list4ed as threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act.

8.40.20  Definitions: For the purpose herein, pesticides shall mean any spray adjuvant, substance or mixture of substance, which is intended to be used for defoliating plants, regulating plant growth or for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest which may infest or be detrimental to vegetation, man, animals or households, or be present in any agricultural or non-agricultural environment, including fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, nematicides, rodenticides, dessicants, defoliants, and plant growth regulators.

8.40.31  The use of pesticides on Fairfax parks, open space parcels and public rights of way and buildings owned and maintained by the Town of Fairfax, is hereby prohibited.

8.40.31 Use:  The "use" shall be defined as both aerial and ground spraying and or dusting and all other ground applications.

8.40.32  Exceptions:  The only exceptions to the use of pesticides under section 8.40.30 are the same as those found in section 8.40.44;  and, in addition an exception may be approved by a 2/3's super majority vote of the full Town Council with a mandatory finding that the health, safety and welfare of the community is so threatened that an emergency exists, that no reasonable alternative is available and the prohibition of the use of pesticides would create the potential for allowing a significant adverse impact on the town. 

8.40.40  Neighbor notification: Prior to the use of pesticides on private property notice shall be required. (see listed exceptions, Section 8.40.44)

8.40.41  Timing of notice:  Neighbors of the affected properties shall receive a minimum of 48 hours notice prior to the application of pesticides.

8.40.42  Type of notices required: A visible 8 1/2 x 11 Pesticide Alert notice on a form approved by the Town of Fairfax shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the front of the property where the pesticide application will occur and an approved written notice delivered 48 hours in advance either by a mail service or a hand delivered 8 1/2 x 11 notice attached to an accessible front door or front gate if locked of every separate residential unit within 150 feet of the posted property.  The notice shall include the address and approximate location of the pesticide application, date and estimated time of use, the type of pesticide being used and an appropriate 800 number for information regarding the product content and potential impacts.

8.40.43  Distance of notification coverage:  All separate residential units within 150 feet of the parcel where pesticide application is to occur shall receive proper written notification as set forth in section 8.40.42.

8.40.44  Exceptions:  Prior notification provisions of this chapter shall not apply to the following:

A.  The use of an aerosol product with a directed spray, in containers of eighteen 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 section shall not exempt from notification the use an any fogger product or aerosol product that discharges to a wide area:
B.  The use of non-volatile insect or rodent bate in a tamper resistant container;
C.  The use of boric acid;
D.  The use of horticultural soap and oils that do not contain synthetic pesticides or synergists;
E.  The application of a granular pesticide, where granular pesticide means any ground applied solid pesticide that is not a dust or power;
F.  The application of a pesticide by direct injection into a plant; 
G.  The spot application of a pesticide, where spot application means the application of pesticide in a manually pressurized or non-pressurized container of thirty-two ounces or less to an area of ground less than nine square feet.  Nine square feet is a maximum area to be exempted once per year to prohibit a cumulative exception.

8.40.50  Annual notification of Ordinance No. 687 shall be given by the Town to all businesses in Fairfax that sell pesticides and all listed Marin County businesses that apply pesticides as a regular service to their customers.

8.40.60  Enforcement:  The first violation of this chapter within a three year period shall constitute a public nuisance.  The second violation within the same three year period shall constitute an infraction.  The third violation within the same three year period shall constitute a misdemeanor and the penalties will be applied according to existing law.

8.40.70 Education:  Education will be a key component of success for this ordinance.  In that light it is suggested that residents refer to the County of Marin and it's Master Gardener Program to learn about Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques and how they can utilize such a program at their residence.  Information may also be obtained from the Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program (MCSTOPPP), the Marin Agricultural Commissioner's office, and the University of California Agricultural Extension office in Novato.

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