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Manatee County Okays Watered-down Fertilizer Ordinance

An hours-long debate and a divided vote left practically everyone holding their noses as county commissioners passed a watered down fertilizer ordinance that is slightly stronger than the state's, but does not include a summer sales ban.

Environmentalists and lawn care professionals packed the county commission chambers Tuesday afternoon to sway commissioners' opinions on a fertilizer ordinance that is designed to decrease nitrogen runoff into the county's waterways. Ultimately the goal is to improve water quality throughout the Tampa Bay region.

Environmentalists and citizens asked commissioners to approve one of the most stringent ordinances in the state, a model of the Pinellas County ordinance that bans summer sales of certain types of fertilizers and prohibits the application of fertilizers containing nitrogen or phosphorus to lawns and landscape plants from June 1 through Sept. 30. ...