California adopts strict lawn-reduction rules for drought savings
Sacramento Bee, Phillip Reese,7/15/15
"The new rules effectively limit the amount of turf grass around newly constructed homes to 25 percent of landscaped area. Under prior rules, turf grass could take up about one-third of landscaped area.
"The restrictions will apply to all homes with more than 500 square feet of landscaped area – essentially, all new, single-family, detached homes in the state. . . .
"The new restrictions also effectively eliminate any turf grass or other thirsty plants around new commercial and public development, with a few exceptions, state officials said. . . .
“ 'The real driving force behind the model ordinance is to reduce the square footage of turf that’s just ornamental,' said Mark Cowin, director of the Department of Water Resources . . .
“ 'You can’t really have turf because it looks pretty,' [Nancy Vogel, spokeswoman for the Natural Resources Agency, the Department of Water Resources parent] said. . . .
"Tim Murphy, chief executive of the Sacramento Regional Builders Exchange, said the proposal would add several layers of complexity to California’s already regulatory-heavy development environment, and some of the smaller irrigation contractors may struggle to adapt. . . .
"Ed Zuckerman, president of Stockton-based Delta Bluegrass Company, said the new rules would unnecessarily kill off lawns in California – and might do the same to his and other sod farmers’ businesses. . . . 'If you like to live in Phoenix, Ariz., with gravel in your front yard and no irrigated landscape,' he said, 'that’s what some people would like to push.' . . .
"Marc Mondell, economic and community development director for the city of Rocklin, said the new regulations are too complex and will create new enforcement work for city employees. In a letter to the commission, he called some of the regulations 'very onerous to both ... agencies and the public.' " . . .