Kentlands Landscaping Chemicals Issue Remains Unresolved

In March, the Kentlands Citizens Assembly (KCA) board of trustees postponed a vote regarding the use of chemical landscape applications (pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer) in the community until its next monthly meeting. However, by the end of the April 24 meeting, the issue remained unresolved.

The landscaping chemicals issue was first raised with the KCA board two years ago by GO GREEN, an environmental group sponsored by the Kentlands Community Foundation. At the KCA’s recent meeting, the Kentlands Clubhouse was packed with supporters and opponents of GO GREEN’s proposal to switch from the use of the landscaping chemical products to organic products in the community.

The GO GREEN group invited Dr. Alan Vinitsky, a Gaithersburg pediatrician, to speak at the KCA meeting about the hazards of chemical pesticides to children and their families. “We can’t ignore the potential hazards that lawn chemicals have for our children,” Vinitsky said.

Members of the KCA’s Environmental Management Committee (EMC) were among the most vocal of the opponents to the proposed changes in herbicide and pesticide application.

“The organic stuff just isn’t doing the job,” said Wayne Stengel, who heads the EMC.

He cited the test patch along the Kentlands Clubhouse as an example of how inferior organic herbicides are to the chemical ones. Stengel said there are many on his committee who are concerned with the aesthetics of the community.

“There are many people who moved to Kentlands because it is a premium living community,” Stengel said, “and we have to make sure we keep those standards while making sure everyone feels safe.”

Robin Ballou, who recently moved to Kentlands from Colorado, has become active in GO GREEN’s efforts to switch from chemical herbicides. At the meeting, she said didn’t know why Kentlands was finding it hard to make the transition between chemical herbicides to organic ones. She said using organic products is common practice in Colorado.

The KCA board ultimately decided it didn’t have enough information to make a decision. The board proposed creating a committee that would look into the matter and report back in six months.

Both sides had reservations about this proposal. Stengel asked that the committee be small and equally represent both sides of the issue. Alex Stavitsky-Zeinnedin, co-chair of GO GREEN, worried that delaying the vote this long would cause more unnecessary exposure of lawn chemicals. She expressed hope that the decision will be made within four months instead.

To find out more information about the committee being formed to address the pesticides issue, contact KCA President Tim Clarke at timclarkelaw@gmail.com.

Contact the GO GREEN group at Alex-sz@rcn.com.

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