Cocoa Beach could adopt fertilizer ordinance

Several cities along Indian River Lagoon have enacted ordinances that limit fertilizer run-off

COCOA BEACH, Fla. – The Indian River Lagoon is 156 miles long and flows through five counties. Several cities that reside along the waterway have enacted ordinances that limit fertilizer run-off and Cocoa Beach could be the next city to adopt an ordinance.

Under state law, cities are required to adopt the Florida model ordinance, but Cocoa Beach city leaders want to offer a higher level of protection for the lagoon.

City Manager Robert Majka said in the proposed ordinance, residents who live on the lagoon's waterways aren't allowed to fertilize their lawns 10 feet away from the water, creating a buffer zone.

"There's a thought process that if you keep the application of that a certain number of feet away from the water's edge, then you're producing a buffer zone where if nutrients percolate into the ground, then there's more of a filter from where it enters the groundwater 'til it reaches the lagoon," said Majka.

But some folks who live on the water are worried about what would exist in the buffer zone.

City leaders said they've talked about what could potentially fill the 10-foot gap, whether it's sand or rocks, but homeowners said they don't want to pay for it in the future.

"I've lived on the water here in Cocoa Beach since 1993. I've been a long-term resident and I understand the necessity for doing these kings of things, but making the homeowner pay for it an in economic downturn like this is unreasonable," said Cocoa Beach resident Mike McGhee.

City leaders said they their goal is to get compliance for this proposed ordinance through a volunteer method, not through enforcement.

The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 21 at 7 p.m.

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