Question: The homeowner's association in my "planned community" does not allow artificial grass in my yard. What are my options?
Answer: You should point the administration of your HOA to a new extension AB 349 of the bill AB 2104 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego. AB 2104 required a common interest developments to adopt a updated model ordinance regarding water-efficient landscapes that are effective in conserving water. New assembly bill AB 349 prohibits HOAs impose a fine or assessment on separate interest owners for use of artificial grass or any other synthetic surface that resembles grass, unless your homeowner association uses recycled water for landscape irrigation.
"We face a very real water shortage that challenges many of our old habits, and there's nothing fake about our responsibility to find ways to conserve wherever we can," Gonzalez said. "All Californians have tough benchmarks for reducing their water use, and it's our job to make sure homeowners have every opportunity to achieve the conservation we need."
At the time of California historic drought, this act is an urgency statue shall go into immediate effect. Numerous homeowner associations discriminated and fined homeowners who attempted to replace their water-thirsty lawns with synthetic grass.
Morrison Ranch Estates Homeowners' Association fined Agoura Hills homeowner, Greg Greenstein who replaced the grass on his property with artificial grass in his effort to conserve water, with more than $4,000 and demanded to remove the new lawn.
Rancho Pacifica, a gated community of multimillion-dollar homes in the hills east of Del Mar, prohibited a retired couple, Brian and Frances Holloway, who live in a palatial 9,000-square-foot Mediterranean to get rid of the water- sucking front lawn. They fine them $50 per day until the lawn removal.
La Costa Valley HOA, Carlsbad, CA turned down Val Buonaiuto, who planned to install artificial grass in his front yard.
In Carlsbad, California James Zemel installed synthetic lawns in his front and backyards. According to LAtimes he spent $14,000, and his monthly bill has dropped to $38. His water district sent him a thank you letter for his conservation effort. However, his HOA has demanded to remove the grass from his front yard, and threaten him with fines and legal action.
Las Costa Green HOA is one of the few in San Diego County that allows fake grass on front lawns. Its resident, Rocky Wilson, grandfathered synthetic grass installation in his home, in 2006.
The first bill didn't include artificial grass as a part of the water-efficient landscape. Gonzales said she held back because of Brown's past opposition to protections. In 2011, the governor said individual HOAs should make the decision, not state government. Residents outside of homeowners associations are free to install fake grass with few, if any, restrictions. But in 2015, California found itself in the fourth year of severe and potentially devastating drought.
Landscape irrigation, according to the Department of Water Resources draws 43 percent of residential water use. The installation of artificial grass, instead of traditional landscapes and lawns, can directly decrease outdoor water use to support the Governor's mandated 25-percent statewide water use reduction.
During the state of emergency, declared by Jerry Brown on July 1, 2015, homeowners associations are prohibited to fine and discriminated the members who are installing artificial grass on their front lawns. Throughout California, homeowners are subject to strict water conservation ordinances. While in the middle of a water deficiency crisis, homeowner associations are not allowing members to perform deliberate sacrifices and are still forcing them to keep grass lawns, and fining them. AB 349 ensures that all homeowners have the right to conserve water by replacing grass with artificial turf.
The bill stated that "Property owners who pursue water conservation should be encouraged, not sued or fined. Thus, this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety."...
Al Madrigal, L.A. resident, wasn't in mood to discuss California drought with Jon Stewart.
"I'm sick of it," - he says. "Back home it's all we talk about. We use to go to dinner and discuss movies. Which stars are secretly gays. But now it's just - "How long was your shower. Did you use a backet? Hey, that's a guy whose lawn is green. Call the cops! "
Man, it feels good! I am taking an advantage of your unregulated East Coast Water-topia! Man, it feels good!
Jon, I have to get it out of my system before I go home and slip the recycled toilet water.
I haven't wasted water like this in years!
I am going to paint this town wet, Jon!
Named Best Stand-Up Comedian by the HBO/U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Al Madrigal's comedy has been called "dynamic" by The New York Times. His unique, spontaneous and fast-paced lyrical storytelling style has made him a regular on television with numerous appearances on Comedy Central including his own half-hour Comedy Central Presents Special and appearances on John Oliver's New York Stand-up Show and Pretend Time with Nick Swardson. Al has also appeared with Conan O'Brien (as one of the first 20 guests during his stint as host of "The Tonight Show," and on "Conan" on TBS) as well as multiple appearances on ""Lopez Tonight," "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live."...
What wouldn't you do in the face of California Drought? San Jose's and Santa Clara's mayors took big gulps of filtered sewage water on Monday, April 28. Good stuff? Ouch.
Disinfected and purified water from the sewage has been used since 1997 in Silicon Valley for the landscaping irrigation and industrial purposes.
New Advanced Water Purification Center in Alviso opened in July 2015, take previously filtered water to a new level, cleans it with microfilters, ultraviolet light and reverse osmosis. The outcome is generally distilled water. After five years of nowhere near sufficient rain, Californians are questioning where else to find water, and it often comes to the question about the desalination.
The cost of water that comes from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is $400 an acre-foot. Filter sewage water will cost $1,100 - $1,500, and the desalination brings the price up to $3,000. Silicon Valley political leaders propose to almost triple the use of purified water from twenty thousand acre-feet a year to fifty-five thousand, which covers twenty percent of the country's total water demand by 2025.
They hope to get by the California Environmental Quality Act using an exemption from CEQA under an executive Gov. Jerry Brown's mandate issued April 1. The $800 million finance for this project could be funded with state bond money and federal funds. But to the homeowners it still means increased water rates. While Silicon Valley is facing the future of drinking out the toilet for the double price, it might be a good time for us to make less dramatic steps. For example, replace natural turf with artificial....
Global Syn-Turf, Inc., the world's largest manufacturer and supplier of artificial grass, participated in Watersavers Irrigation's Demo Day on April 3rd. The event took place at one of Watersavers Irrigation's warehouse stores. More than 100 Northern California irrigation and green industry professionals and consumers attended the event to test out the latest irrigation systems and landscaping supplies, and listen to presentations from top supply manufacturers.
"We've been selling artificial grass products for years now, so even before the event we had established ourselves in the region," said Rachel Brady, Global Syn-Turf's sales and marketing manager. "However, ever since California's water crisis, and now Jerry Brown's announcement of mandatory water restrictions, we've become the definitive regional experts on artificial grass in California. We're receiving an unprecedented amount of interest from local contractors and municipalities who want to test our products."
With more than 95 gallons of water per day wasted on outdoor uses per household, consumers, contractors and dealers stand to benefit from artificial grass's advantages. According to ms. Brady, Global Syn-Turf has the power to fundamentally transform the culture of the irrigation and green industries by making it easy for people to have a perfectly lush, verdant lawn without consuming precious resources.
The Global Syn-Turf team was on hand at the event to present the company's latest artificial grass innovations, such as Cashmere, an artificial grass product whose softness and flexibility is unmatched in the industry.
The Demo Day featured a number of different products and ideas from companies across the industry, ranging from efficient irrigation techniques to drought-tolerant landscaping alternatives. And since Demo Days are open to the public, the event was able to connect consumers with professional suppliers and distributors who share an interest in water-wise landscaping and irrigation.
"It was an honor to represent the artificial grass community at this event," said Rachel Brady. "As a wholesale manufacturer, having the chance to interact with the end-user face-to-face is quite special. It was a tremendous opportunity for our staff to meet people and companies in the landscape and irrigation ecosystem. We hope it will serve as a model for other events in the future."
This announcement comes at an exciting time for the young company, which was founded in 2009. In March 2015 the company was selected for the prestigious Best of Hayward Award in the Lawn & Garden Equipment category for 2015. Furthermore, earlier this month Global Syn-Turf participated in the Carmel Valley Garden Show in Carmel Valley, California, representing the artificial grass industry in Northern California....
Brothers Arijeet and Rajvarun Grewal, students in Hanford, CA, helped forward a bill that would subsidize synthetic turf in California. The bill, AB 603, was introduced by Bakersfield assembly member Rudy Salas in February. If passed, the bill would grant a subsidy to those who replace their natural grass lawns with artificial grass.
Ari and Raj, students in Hantford at Pioneer Middle School and Sierra Pacific High School, thought of the idea and suggested it to Mr. Salas via a letter. Mr. Salas liked the idea, and now it's being put into motion. The brothers created a Facebook page for their project called Saving California Farms One Drop at a Time.
Ari and Raj agreed to speak with us in this interview, and Global Syn-Turf is honored to have them.
Where did the idea come from?
Raj: Last summer, we decided to redo our landscape. My brother and I became interested in finding out if we could install synthetic grass, which will help conserve fresh water. My father explained that synthetic grass is expensive, and he further explained that we could go for it if it was subsidized like solar panels. This encouraged us to propose legislation.
What motivated you to pursue this endeavor so seriously?
Ari: Living in the Central Valley, one cannot escape drought news. We learned that more than 60% of fresh water is wasted on lawn maintenance in California. Therefore, we wanted to do our part to conserve fresh water.
When did you realize that the potential of synthetic grass as a drought-tolerant option wasn't being fully utilized?
Raj: After researching extensively on this topic, we learned that many cities in California did provide rebates for homeowners and businesses that purchased and installed synthetic turf. However, we learned that there was not a state-wide program that provided state-wide incentives, given that some of the cities and counties do not generate much tax revenue and cannot afford to provide incentives to its residents.
What do you think will be some of the long term effects of the popular adoption of synthetic grass in residential areas?
Ari: Primarily, the adoption of synthetic grass in residential areas would help conserve a lot of fresh water that can be used for our Central Valley agriculture. It would also decrease the chances of another severe drought to occur in California.
Do you think synthetic grass has any advantages over other drought-tolerant alternatives, such as xeriscaping?
Raj: Synthetic grass and drought- tolerant alternatives both have advantages. They both help reduce the wastage of fresh water. However, grass is a part of our natural lives. Xeriscaping, on the other hand, takes away that naturalness.
On your Facebook page you say that "One day, water may lead to the division of California." Could you expound on that?
Raj: It is a politically hot subject. Several times in the past, a division of California has been proposed. More than any other political reason, water was the main issue. Recently, there is zero water allocation from the Sacramento--San Joaquin River Delta due to smelt fish. The majority of Central Valley residents believe that Big Brothers on both sides (North and South) control most of the legislative processes due to their population and, hence, influence and control of the flow of water.
On your Facebook page you say that you "would like to propose a clause in the bill allocating a percent of subsidy to provide vocational and trade education for those who may get negatively impacted so they can rebuild a better and brighter future for themselves and their families." Could you expound on this idea?
Ari: We wanted to make sure that our proposal does not negatively impact anyone, especially hardworking Californians in the landscape industry. Therefore, we proposed a portion of incentives to train them in synthetic grass installation.
On your Facebook page you say that popular adoption of synthetic grass will "bring economic prosperity to the state of California." Could you explain this a bit further?
Ari: In the beginning, lot of people were against Internet or online shopping, and now we can see how many jobs it has created in terms of software, e-commerce, and logistics (warehouse and transportation) jobs. Along the same lines, we strongly believe that the synthetic grass industry will also contribute in creating jobs (i.e. manufacturing, installation, and maintenance).
What has it been like working with Bakersfield assembly member Rudy Salas? Are there any lessons you can impart to us that you learned from working with him?
Raj: It was a wonderful experience. We have learned more about the other projects and bills that are being proposed in the Assembly Session. We have learned to become more active in our community.
Did you have a specific strategy for pitching the Bill to the Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation, Mr. Phil Ting?
Ari: It was a great pleasure to meet Mr. Phil Ting and asking for his support in person. We believe we have already reached the masses via TV and newspapers. We have also requested the local city council and county Board of supervisors to write to Mr. Ting in our bill's support. We also encourage the industry (including your company) to support and lobby our bill.
What was the experience like traveling to Sacramento to introduce AB 603? Did anything occur that was unexpected? What was the most surprising thing you learned about during your trip introducing the bill?
Ari: It was an amazing experience. We were honored and delighted to be invited by Mr. Salas to be a part of history in the making. We still have goose bumps from being on the assembly floor submitting AB 603 and seeing "Grewal Family" name on the notice board in the assembly hall. As a visitor you are just allowed to be in the gallery, but being there, on the assembly floor, just feels great!
Raj, according to a report, you are interested in pursuing a career in politics because of this experience. Is there a specific area of politics you are interested in?
Raj: I have not fully chosen my field; however, whatever job I do take, I would love to give back to my community. Going through this adventure has definitely opened my eyes to the endless career paths from which I could choose.
How does this experience fit into both of your long-term goals?
Ari: Our community has instilled in us the will power to give back to our community. Proposing this bill has given us the opportunity to help our neighborhoods. Also, we have learned that the sky has no limit in defining our own destiny.
Is there anything else either of you would like to talk about?
Raj: We highly appreciate you reaching out to us. Once again, we strongly request your company's leadership team to engage law makers in California (especially Mr. Ting and Mr. Salas) and support our bill....