New law protects artificial turf installation by homeowners

A San Diego assemblywoman’s drought-driven bill to prevent homeowners’ associations in California from banning the artificial turf  installation was signed into law in September by Gov. Jerry Brown. AB 349, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, in response to the four-year-old drought, nullifies any HOA prohibition on artificial turf or any other synthetic surface that resembles grass.

Once the drought is declared to be over, the new law will prevent HOAs from requiring homeowners to remove or reverse water-efficient landscaping measures taken in response to an emergency conservation declaration such as the governor’s order for the state to reduce consumption by 25 percent.  As an urgency measure, the statute will take effect immediately.

Across the state, Californians are making great strides to reduce their water use and hit aggressive benchmarks for conservation, and this new common sense law will give homeowners one more way to save as this drought continues. Gonzalez said. “The grass may be fake, but the amount of water a homeowner can save by installing it is very real.”

More than 49,000 communities are governed by HOAs statewide — about a quarter of the state’s housing stock. People thought used to think fake turf, or fake anything for the matter is that its cheap and not a good product.

One company manages 60 HOAs across San Diego.  Over the past year all of these HOAs have become open to the turf as long as they follow quality standards.

In 2011, Gov Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill. Environmental groups like San Diego-based Surfrider Foundation’s ocean friendly gardens program have concerns too. They say padding materials placed under the turf prevent soil from absorbing rainfall, causing toxic runoff.

Gonzalez believes the new materials are more eco-friendly.

The turf now is more porous so you have less runoff and you have to balance environmental needs. Right now we know the number one environmental issue in California is the drought.

Last year, Gonzalez authored a law that bars HOAs from preventing homeowners from tearing out their lawns and replacing them with drought-tolerant landscapes so she has a long history of creating legislation to help benefit the environment and to conserve our resources in San Diego County.