PALM BAY, Florida -- The Palm Bay City Council failed to pass a fertilizer ordinance Thursday evening which drew opponents and supporters from around Brevard County as well as city residents.
The reason that any fertilizer ordinance was not passed was that the Council members could not agree on whether to include a rainy season ban. The debate was as much science as it was politics.
One side believes that the lack of fertilizers during the rainy season, when grass is growing the fastest and absorbs the most fertilizers, encourages the leaching of nitrogen and phosphorous into the Indian River Lagoon - because lawns thin if not fertilized - which ultimately allows more fertilizer to runoff.
The other side of the debate believes that the application of fertilizer during the rainy season simply means more nitrogen and phosphorous runoff into the Lagoon.
Councilman Harry Santiago, Jr., citing University of Florida research on the application of fertilizers during the rainy season and the unintended consequences of an outright ban, said he was against the ordinance if it included a rainy season ban. Palm Bay William Capote agreed with Santiago, Jr. Councilwoman Kristine Isnardi said she based her decision on UF IFAS research for her reason to oppose the rainy season ban.
Councilwoman Michelle Paccione said that she was sticking with her promises made at the recent Lagoon rally and that she would oppose any ordinance that did not not include a an outright ban. Deputy Mayor Ken Greene agreed with Paccione, and told a story of a recent fishing trip where not one fish was caught in the Lagoon all day.