Part III: Should the City of Rye Adopt a Healthy Lawn Policy?

The Rye City Review's Josh Stabile provides a clear and comprehensive overview of one of Rye Sustainability's latest initiatives: whether the City of Rye should adopt a healthy lawn policy for its public spaces. You can read his article online at The Rye City Review. It is also reproduced below.

Sustainability Committee considers lawn policy proposal

By Joshua Stabile

The Rye Sustainability Committee is asking residents whether or not the city should adopt a healthy lawn policy.

At a Rye City Council meeting on Aug. 3, Councilwoman Danielle Tagger-Epstein, a Democrat, announced that the committee had released an online survey for residents to give their opinion on whether or not Rye should adopt a healthy lawn policy. The survey can be found on

Tagger-Epstein said the survey, which consists of only one question, would “literally take under a minute” to complete. She even encouraged attendees at the meeting to take the survey on their phones as she made the announcement.

Sara Goddard, chairwoman of the city Sustainability Committee, said the group wants to work with the City Council on a policy that would require the city to use organic, pesticide-free landscaping in all public spaces.

The committee hopes to garner enough positive feedback from residents—in the form of at least a few hundred survey votes—before proposing a policy to the City Council. Although there is no timetable for when the survey will conclude, the committee is doing its homework and gathering as much information about changing over to pesticide-free landscaping as possible.

Homeowners in Rye have been encouraged to use pesticide-free landscaping for years, and this year, the committee announced a communitywide lawn sign design contest to create a logo for the official Rye Healthy Yard Program.

Goddard said she thought a policy of chemical-free landscaping in public spaces had been implemented a while ago, but found out that no policy seems to exist. If there is indeed an old policy that has not been in use, Goddard said it’s time to “dust it off” and update it with help from the City Council to come up with a policy that can satisfy everyone. If no policy ever existed, Goddard said one needs to be written.

Tagger-Epstein said it’s hard to deny the science that proves the danger of pesticides in public landscaping, and would like to see the healthy lawn policy move forward. “I’m a big proponent of [the policy],” she said. “I’m behind the committee one-hundred percent.”

Towns such as Greenwich, Connecticut, and Yorktown have already established policies regarding organic and chemical-free landscaping in their public spaces, so Goddard said it shouldn’t be difficult for Rye to follow their lead. In fact, a news article about Greenwich’s healthy lawn policy, Safe Lawns, is exactly what caused the Rye Sustainability Committee to post its survey and gather residents’ opinions.

Residents who want to see what else the committee is working on can visit its website or visit and like its Facebook page, Friends of Rye Sustainability Committee.


For more information and background, read our posts on the subject and please take the very short survey on our Home page. We want your input!