Cape Elizabeth voters will decide at elections in November whether to ban the use of synthetic pesticides on residential properties.

The referendum vote, scheduled by the Town Council on Monday, stems from a citizen petition that received over 1,000 signatures in February.

The ordinance proposed by the petition’s sponsors, Organic Cape, would permit for use on residential properties only organic pesticides, pesticides labeled as “allowed” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and those determined to be a “minimum risk pesticide” by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. It also prohibits the application of any pesticides – organic, synthetic or otherwise – on residential properties within 75 feet of a body of water or wetlands.

The ordinance would not apply to retail or commercial agriculture properties, nor municipal properties such as parks and schools. Residents would also be allowed to request waivers in order to use prohibited pesticides in certain cases, like combatting an especially strong, invasive plant species.

Organic Cape had urged the council to consider enacting the ordinance itself or schedule it for a June referendum as pesticides are most often applied in the spring and summer months. The council opted to put the question to voters in November to give councilors time to consider any amendments needed if it passes and to allow the public more time to consider what they’ll be voting on. The higher voter turnout in November elections was also cited as a reason.

For more info, including the petition and proposed ordinance in its entirety, go to