YORKTOWN, NY – Yorktown Supervisor Candidate Matt Slater says the town should be doing more to provide information to residents and town employees that could calm concerns regarding the use of herbicides and pesticides before they rise. Slater believes Yorktown should enhance its notification capabilities to allow concerned residents and employees to receive notices when vegetation management is underway at town parks and public buildings. In addition, he is proposing the town provide an online account of vegetation management practices cataloged by property so the public can see, before arriving to their destination, if any pest management controls were applied.
On March 1, 2001 New York State enacted the Neighbor Notification Law to ensure advance notification of the use of pesticides to neighboring properties. Westchester County opted into the state program in 2009 which applies to commercial pesticide applicators, property owners, retailers and homeowners. Recent vegetation management at Willow Park, located on the corner of Curry Street and Tulip Drive, have raised questions over Yorktown’s own notification policies when addressing vegetation issues on town owned property.
“Private businesses have strict notification requirements and it is time our town government holds itself to the same standard,” Slater explained, “As a parent who often visits Willow Park with my young son I can understand the concerns neighbors have when they see and smell what appears to be chemical use in a kid or pet friendly place. Our local government can easily provide accessible information that not only preempts questions or concerns but ensures the public is indeed safe from harmful chemicals.”
Originally questions were raised on social media about the overall condition of the park. Residents posted pictures of weeds growing through benches, damaged slides and trash in the play area. On Saturday evening, more concerns were raised over the state of the park as well as “…the strong odor of weed killer…”
Chemicals that are frequently used as part of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Programs are registered with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and cataloged to provide detailed information of the ingredients contained in them.
Slater continued, “It is time to redesign local government with the end user in mind. Thankfully, in the case of Willow Park, organic weed killer was used to combat overgrowing vegetation but we should be taking the extra step of proactively informing our citizens and providing clear and accessible information to those who are searching for it.”