Keeping up with local fertilizer ordinances can be tough, especially in areas where municipalities have established one set of rules that may or may not coincide with those set forth in a county ordinance.
To help green industry professionals navigate these regulations, the UF/IFAS Florida Friendly Landscaping Program has developed an app to identify which areas have adopted ordinances and what it needed to comply.
“The program is not a ‘native’ app that is downloaded from the app store to your device,” explains C. J. Bain, website and technology coordinator for the Florida Yards & Neighborhood Program. “It’s a mobile web application – a website program optimized for use on mobile devices. You can save an app icon on your mobile device’s home screen so that it looks and acts like a ‘normal’ app, but it does require an internet connection to access the app site and data. The app can be accessed with a computer as well as on mobile devices.”
Without a subscription or login, users can search or GPS to find a location and view the map, which is color-coded to show which counties and municipalities have an ordinance. However, in order to access the ordinance data, users will be asked to create an account and purchase a subscription.
The $9.99 fee for a one-year subscription will enable users to access to all of the app’s data and features. Subscriptions are for individual users; it can be used on multiple devices, but only on one device at a time (there is not currently an option for a corporate account accessible by multiple employees). After subscribing, users can click on a location with an ordinance for a summary of key information and a link to the full ordinance text (on MuniCode).
There is also a built-in feedback feature that allows users to send comments about a specific ordinance and even upload related files. Feedback is reviewed and verified by FFL staff and then used to update the app data as needed. FFL staff will also be monitoring Google Alerts and networking within UF/IFAS Extension and the Green Industries Best Management Practices (GI-BMP) community to monitor for ordinance changes and additions.
Information on ordinance changes is best submitted through the app. That way, it is recorded in the app database and is also automatically forwarded to the correct person(s) to handle it. There is a Feedback option on the main menu, and a “Report an Issue” button at the bottom of the ordinance summary; these work the same way and either can be used to send comments.
Program coordinators will be hard at work to ensure that changes are handled promptly, but timelines may vary depending on many factors. When information is received that ordinance data may have changed, the ordinance will be flagged with a “caution” message alerting users that data is being reviewed and may not be the most current.
The mobile web application is a project of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program and UF/IFAS. We would like to acknowledge the following people and programs for contributing to this project: The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program; the Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology; the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA); the Environmental Research and
Education Foundation (EREF); University of Florida/IFAS Extension; Dr. Bryan Unruh; Dr. Esen Momol; Dr. Mike Thomas; Christopher Ryan; CJ Bain; Dr. Jiannong Xin; Serena Yang; Yuchuan Gou; and Hanwei Wang.
Source: C. J. Bain, Website and Technology Coordinator, Florida Yards & Neighborhood Program