Push to ban plastic straws in Jupiter fails by one vote in committee

The beach committee opted to recommend a resolution against single-use plastic straws to the town council.

After months of back and forth, Jupiter’s beach committee decided not to support an ordinance to ban single-use plastic straws, and instead will recommend a resolution to the council.

“I think tonight went very well,” Betsy Munson, vice chair of the beach committee, said after Monday’s meeting. “I know there were a few people who wanted an ordinance, but this is Jupiter and we would rather work together with the people than against them.”

These two towns in Palm Beach County are leading the fight on plastic straws

The ordinance failed by one vote Monday at Jupiter’s Community Center, but the committee was unanimous in its recommendation to the council on a resolution, which is a strong stance, against single-use plastic straws that will also come with an education campaign.

“I think the resolution was the correct way to go,” Munson said. “I think it’s a win-win for the beach committee, the Town of Jupiter and the restaurants.”

Marilu Cristina Flores, a Jupiter resident who wrote the proposed ordinance, said “a resolution is a win.”

“It may not be the ordinance we hoped for, but it provides us with the opportunity to educate the public and have a resolution on the books for a year,” Flores said. “It’s really all about educating the public and curbing plastic use, so it is definitely a win for us today.”

The details of the resolution aren’t dictated by the beach committee. The committee just makes a recommendation based on the research members have done and been provided with. The majority of the committee agreed that an ordinance, which comes with fines, was too strong of an action to take.

Straw ban ordinance faces pushback from Jupiter town manager

“I wouldn’t rule it out, but I wouldn’t start with it,” Beach Committee Chair Gail Whipple said of the proposed ordinance during Monday night’s discussion before the vote.

This was the second meeting dedicated to the issue. Last month, the committee had a special meeting where 17 community members — the majority in favor of the ban — spoke on the subject.

Monday’s meeting drew a crowd of about 21 people and 11 spoke in favor of the ordinance, while putting an emphasis on how Jupiter could be at the forefront of the no plastic straw movement.

“This ban may not save our ocean. It may not, but it will give us an opportunity to start a conversation that needs to happen,” said resident Chelsea Reed. “And Jupiter can be at the forefront of that.”

Jack Lighton, president and CEO of the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, also spoke in favor of the ban and said it’s an “really important moment in our community.”

“The conversation we are having with regard to the single-use plastic straws should be the first sort of tip of the iceberg of many conversations that we are going to have to have in our state not only about single use plastics … but also conservation,” said Lighton.

Another Jupiter resident, Zachary Amrose, described the ban on single-use plastics as “the trend of the future.”

Despite the public’s strong feelings about the ordinance, the committee is looking to ease into the issue.

Jupiter activist proposes ban on plastic straws to help ocean, turtles

Munson said this is the biggest item that the beach committee has ever been presented with and had to vote on.

“We usually just deal with sand,” she said.

Town Manger Matt Benoit earlier recommended Jupiter stay away from the ban.

“My recommendation is to stay away from any sort of plastic straw ban,” wrote Benoit in a weekly update from April 6 that was submitted as material to the beach committee. “I don’t see it reasonably enforced by town staff, largely because the number of businesses that would be affected in Jupiter is probably five to 10 times more than what Fort Myers Beach faced.”

While the beach committee has decided on a recommendation, Flores said there is still work to do.

“This is just the beginning,” she said. “We are determined to succeed.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Grant allows Bucher to order more iPads, beef up voting security
Grant allows Bucher to order more iPads, beef up voting security

The Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections has ordered 1,750 updated iPad Minis — which will be able to have the latest Apple security patch on them — for voters to check in with at the polls in the November election. The iPads will be paid for with a federal grant meant to be spent on strengthening cyber security for election systems...
JUST IN: West Palm Beach police to unveil ‘ShotSpotter’ technology
JUST IN: West Palm Beach police to unveil ‘ShotSpotter’ technology

The West Palm Beach Police Department is getting a little high-tech crime-fighting help. Department officials will detail Tuesday how they will deploy ShotSpotter technology that allows police to pinpoint locations where illegal gunfire incidents have taken place and to respond to them more quickly. In May, the department asked the city commission...
Earl Stewart Toyota faces discrimination complaint
Earl Stewart Toyota faces discrimination complaint

Toyota dealer Earl Stewart has been sued by a man who says the dealership discriminated against him by not giving him a job that was advertised exclusively for female sales associates. Glenn Liou, a 58-year-old New York resident with no experience working at a car dealership, claims he was rejected by the dealership based on his gender, according to...
NEW: Eagle Arts school zone lights still flash — but not for long
NEW: Eagle Arts school zone lights still flash — but not for long

There were confused motorists — and a few honked horns — on Wellington Trace on Monday in front of the former Eagle Arts Academy Charter School for the Arts.  Though the Palm Beach County School District voted Aug. 1 to end Eagle Arts’ charter and close the troubled school, there was one sign of back-to-school life...
Jupiter water rates, stormwater fees will rise in October
Jupiter water rates, stormwater fees will rise in October

Town councilors last week voted in favor of increasing water rates and stormwater utility fees. Town staff said the water rates would increase by 2.83 percent and stormwater fees would go up by 7 percent “to reflect industry-wide costs” and to make sure there is money for improvement projects. A resident’s monthly water bill is expected...
More Stories