A Special Report
from the New York State Assembly

on Local

Sheldon Silver, Speaker Thomas P. DiNapoli, Chairman Winter 2000-01

A Message from the Chairman...

I am writing to highlight some significant issues the Assembly Local Government Committee has worked on that may be of interest to you.

Pesticide Neighbor Notification has finally become law in New York State, allowing localities to adopt a local law helping families protect their loved ones from exposure to pesticides by neighbors or commercial applicators. Another new law gives communities a local option to regulate or ban personal watercraft, commonly known as “Jet Skis.”

If you have any questions or comments on these or any other matters, please call my office at (518) 455-5192. I look forward to our continued partnership during the upcoming 2001 Legislative Session.

                                                                               Thomas P. DiNapoli, Chairman

                                                                               Assembly Local Government Committee

Local Opt-In for Pesticide Neighbor
Notification Becomes Law

The Pesticide Neighbor Notification Act was recently signed into law. This law, which I sponsored in the Assembly (A.1461-A, Chapter 285, Laws of 2000), provides for advanced warning of pesticide applications. The law gives counties and New York City the option to notify neighbors when pesticides are to be applied and require retailers to post informational signs where pesticides are sold.

Requiring notice before pesticides are applied –– and ensuring that updated information is available about the pesticides being applied –– are common sense approaches to protecting public health and ensuring that our children, neighbors, and pets are out of harm’s way.

I encourage local officials to seize this unprecedented opportunity to protect your residents by adopting a local law incorporating the provisions of the Pesticide Neighbor Notification Act:

  • retailers selling pesticides for commercial or residential lawn applications must display a sign notifying customers of the posting requirements for pesticide applications;

  • applicators must give written notice of pesticide application to neighbors within 150 feet, at least 48 hours before the application;

  • schools must give parents the option of learning 48 hours before pesticides are applied, and must send out notices three times a year describing when, where and what pesticides were used;

  • day care facilities must have a central posting location with this information; and

  • homeowners must post warning flags on their yards if they apply pesticides themselves.

The law identifies specific pesticide products, provides for emergency pesticide applications and includes an exemption for IPM (integrated pest management) techniques.

Informational packets have been prepared to assist counties in this matter, and are available through the NYS Attorney General’s Office at (518) 474-8096, or the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) at (518) 436-0876. Additional information can also be obtained by calling my office, at (518) 455-5192, or the office of your local Assembly representative.

Jet Skis Become a Local Option

Personal watercraft and specialty prop-craft are more commonly known as “Jet Skis,” and depending on the location, they can be viewed as an economic development engine or a noisy, environmental and safety hazard. While some municipalities enjoy the boost to tourism that can come with welcoming the use and rental of Jet Ski-type crafts, many other local governments have expressed a desire to limit their use in order to protect water quality, air quality, wildlife habitat or residents’ tranquility.

A newly enacted law, which I sponsored in the Assembly (A.8097-D, Chapter 415, Laws of 2000), gives cities, towns and villages the authority to regulate and even ban the use of these crafts within fifteen hundred feet of their shoreline. After holding a hearing, a city or village that chooses to establish a personal watercraft and specialty prop-craft regulation zone may do so by a three-quarters vote, and a town may do so by a majority vote (this parallels the existing law for establishing vessel regulation zones).With the establishment of such a zone, the local government can regulate speed and other usage, and can prohibit the use of the these crafts as long as access to federally maintained and designated navigation channels is not prevented.

New York is a very diverse state –– stretching from Niagara Falls to Long Island. I believe that each community should be given the opportunity to decide what best suits their needs. Giving municipalities the authority to regulate Jet Skis, if desired, will provide more local control to community residents.

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