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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

UPDATE: The Lawn Police?

 (image from LA Times. All Rights Reserved)
The LA Times brings another update and a wonderful op-ed to the unfolding drama in Orange over the Ha family's decision to remove their lawn and replace it with a less water intensive alternative.  Still no final decision from the city, but the Has will have to appear in court on Tuesday for now.  Below are some of the more telling points from the article:
It's their yard, it's not overgrown with weeds, it's not an eyesore," said Cleek [Has neighbor], whose own yard boasts fruit trees. "We should be able to have our yards look the way we want them to."
. . . .
"Compliance, that's all we've ever wanted," said Senior Assistant City Atty. Wayne Winthers.
. . . .

Meanwhile, the couple said they had reduced their water usage from 299,221 gallons in 2007 to 58,348 gallons in 2009.
I am willing to cut the City some slack, but this is starting to look really bad as whole of LA sits in another year of drought.  While I agree that the Has could easily add some more low-water landscaping to satisfy the city (and perhaps provide some wider landscape benefits from their front yard), how can you argue with their results? (Or the continued support and goodwill of their most immediate neighbors - these are the people that could really complain about it and they don't!)  Their actions have reduced potable water use to over 1/5  their usage when their lawn was installed.  That is remarkable, and would presumably be an action to commend or promote, not punish for lack of compliance.  It will be interesting to see how the city resolves this, and whether they use it as a means to improve their codes beyond compliance to reflect instead landscape performance. 

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