Artificial Turf Gaining Acceptance in San Diego HOA’S.

Artificial turf may be the answer to drought plagued California.

Artificial Turf Gaining Acceptance in San Diego HOA'S.
Artificial Turf Gaining Acceptance in San Diego HOA’S.

Artificial turf has gained grudging acceptance on front lawns from Sacramento to San Diego, driven by years of drought and residents’ shrinking patience for water-guzzling natural grass.

But inside the world of California’s private homeowner associations, the battle over whether synthetic turf should be allowed is still very much alive —- and heating up, month-by-parched month.

Only a small fraction of the state’s thousands of HOAs permit artificial turf on front lawns, saying its out-of-place look is a threat to property values.

Three years ago, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have allowed HOA residents to install artificial turf without the fear of fines.

Today’s artificial turf, supporters say, is not the tacky green carpet of the past. It looks much more like natural grass and is getting more environmentally-friendly.

That’s led many to wonder whether the HOA restrictions are necessary.

Strict rules

La Costa Greens is one of the few HOAs in San Diego County that allows fake grass on front lawns. Inspired by Wilson’s case, it passed strict rules that require homeowners to submit for inspection a sample of the turf they’d like to install “so it doesn’t look like a roll of carpet,” said Jean Salvia of Walters Management, which oversees the community.

New turf at the HOA must have a variety of colors to mimic natural lawns. Wilson’s turf, installed about eight years ago, was grandfathered in.

It definitely stands out compared with surrounding natural lawns desiccated by San Diego County’s long, dry summer.

“Mine is greener this time of year,” Wilson said.

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