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The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that several communities around Los Angeles actually ban artificial lawns, meaning that residents are not eligible for the $300 rebate from the Orange County Municipal Water District. In an area that is very drought prone, and with advances in the "look" of artificial lawns, city officials are taking a new look at the legislation.
The regulations were initially put into place when the aesthetics of fake lawns were not as pleasing as they are today. Also there was concern over the lead content in many of these, which the US Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that children are "not at risk from exposure to lead in newer artificial turf fields."Other area cities with similar bans include La Palma, which requires 70% of the lawn to be planted. Orange City officials that the rules need to be changed to specifically address these types of lawns as there is nothing prohibiting them, but also nothing allowing them either. Garden Grove on the other hand specifically "prohibits artificial ground cover." The Santa Ana code allows turf and other groundcover, but officials always interpreted that to exclude artificial lawns, though they are also reconsidering this stance. Stanton is the fifth city in Orange County that bans artificial lawns.
While aesthetics have approved on fake lawns, there are the added benefits of only raking your yard clean and the 15-20 year lifespan of these lawns. A live grass lawn uses an estimated 90,000 gallons of water a year for a 2,000 square foot lawn, as reported by the Orange County Municipal Water District.
While the city of Garden Grove has not acted yet, they technically could start fining residents for installing the artificial lawns. Residents who have installed these lawns notice that their monthly water bills are the cost of a few bottles of water.
Garden Grove residents are not waiting for the City Council to make a decision, and are actively contacting all of their area, and state officials including Gov. Schwarzenegger to reverse the ban. Garden Grove City staff and City Council are both reviewing the ban and have asked that officials hold off on enforcing the fines until a decision is reached.
Installation and materials for a 2,000 square foot lawn can range anywhere from $12,000 - $22,000.