Many homeowners who want to install synthetic lawns have clashed with their neighborhood’s Homeowner Association (HOA). It’s not uncommon for HOAs to bar artificial grass installations for a variety of reasons. This is despite the fact that an artificial turf installation can look just like natural grass, will never die out and requires almost no water.
This may be changing. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported in December 2014 that the San Diego County Water Authority has proposed a bill that would force HOAs to allow their residents to install artificial turf. The bill is likely to be introduced to the state Legislature by San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez.
According to the report, only a small percentage of the state’s 47,000 HOAs allow artificial grass installations. However, organizations such as the San Diego County Water Authority strongly believe in the importance of water-saving techniques such as artificial turf installation, especially as the state deals with severe drought conditions. The SDCWA sponsored similar bills in 2010 and 2011 that passed the Legislature but were vetoed by the governor.
Glenn Farrel, a lobbyist for the SDCWA, said that he hopes that the third time will be the charm. He believes that because drought conditions have continued to an extended period of time, Governor Jerry Brown may be more open to forcing HOAs to lift bans on artificial grass. Brown has already pushed a “brown is beautiful” campaign asking homeowners to reduce their grass watering, even if it means that lawns turn brown. Installing artificial turf would ensure that lawns would never turn brown, even with zero watering.