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Orange may drop lawsuit against couple that pulled out front lawn

March 2, 2010 |  2:57 pm

The city of Orange may drop its lawsuit against a husband and wife cited for not having enough plants in their frontyard, officials said.

The case against Quan and Angelina Ha could be dropped without fine or penalty, officials said Tuesday hours after the pair was arraigned on charges of violating city ordinances when they removed their lawn to try to save water.

Officials determined the yard met city standards after re-examining the property about noon Tuesday, said Paul Sitkoff, a spokesman for Orange. A city ordinance requires that 40% of a front lawn be landscaped with live plants.

"We had two officials go out there and look at the property, and they did make strides in complying with the ordinance," Sitkoff said.

City officials will meet with the couple later this week to make another assessment, he said.

The dispute began two years ago when the Has tore out the grass in their frontyard because it had been soaking up tens of thousands of gallons of water and costing them hundreds of dollars a year.

The Has said Tuesday that dropping the lawsuit would not resolve the underlying issue: The city must encourage more water-saving measures among residents. Angelina Ha said her husband planned to petition the City Council to change the law.

"I'm glad we're not going to be in legal trouble, but right now we're really not in compliance -- only 10% of our lawn has plants," Angelina Ha said. "What about the next person? And if people just want to comply to the law, everyone is going to keep planting 40% and sucking up water."

-- Amina Khan