The city could ban the planting of “nonfunctional” grass in new developments, but would stop short of regulating lawns and golf courses.
A Tucson proposal could ban “nonfunctional” grass planting in some developments, reports Tony Davis in the Arizona Daily Star, following in the footsteps of cities like Las Vegas as the West’s water shortage continues.
Councilman Kevin Dahl, who supports the legislation, defined nonfunctional grass as “any irrigated grass area not providing functional use, such as grass along streets in strip malls, shopping centers, and businesses, and also turf managed by an HOA (a homeowners association) that does not provide recreational value for people or pets.”
Davis notes that the ban would not extend to new single-family neighborhoods, parks, school playgrounds, or golf courses, which some critics say doesn’t go far enough. Others worry that the vague and subjective definition of “nonfunctional” could make the ban difficult to enforce.
Tucson officials are working with other cities in the region to come up with a water conservation plan by November 15, but have not signed on to the current plan yet. “Among other things, the proposal now calls for a program ‘to reduce the quantity of nonfunctional turf grass by 30% through replacement with drought- and climate-resilient landscaping, while maintaining vital urban landscapes and tree canopies that benefit our communities, wildlife, and the environment.’”
In Southern Nevada, in the water district that includes Las Vegas, development codes prohibit “any grass in new construction of commercial developments and the front yards of new single-family home developments.” In Colorado, the Castle Rock town council voted to ban grass lawns in the front yards of new homes and limit grass turf lawns to 500 square feet in backyards, just a month after Aurora passed a similar law.
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