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Glendale residents ordered to remove fake grass from front yards

November 16, 2011 |  2:17 pm

Glendale artificial turf
Some cities offer rebates for residents who install water-saving artificial lawns in their front yard. But in Glendale, city leaders approved a ban on the faux grass and have begun issuing warnings to violators.

So far, code enforcement officials have issued six notices of violation to residents who, despite a citywide ban approved nearly three months ago, kept their artificial front lawns, the Glendale News-Press reported.

Glendale allows the turf in backyards, away from public view, but the City Council this year decided to continue to ban the fake grass from front yards.

Resident David Wood has long battled to keep his artificial turf. He got a notice of violation on Nov. 3 but said city officials told him nearly two years ago that he wouldn't have to take out his fake grass.

"At this point in time, they're telling me to pull it out," said Wood, who lives on Piedmont Avenue. "It was a total surprise."

In general, most residents were told the city wouldn't enforce its ban until the City Council ruled on the matter, which it now has, said Senior Neighborhood Services Supervisor John Brownell. Some violators received notices more than a year ago, but the cases were put on hold.

During the debate at City Hall this year, opponents of artificial turf — already used at some school sites and sports fields — voiced concerns about lead poisoning and other environmental hazards, such as a "heat-island" effect, which occurs when unnatural surfaces get hot. Proponents said artificial turf saves water and can be just as visually appealing as the real thing — minus the maintenance.

Brownell said several violators have been upset when code enforcement officials told them to remove the artificial turf. Some have vowed to keep their yards the way they are, he said, a move that could lead to the case being referred to the city attorney's office.

"We're hoping it doesn't get to that point," Brownell said, adding that more violation notices might be coming. "We're just starting to get this thing rolling again."


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Photo: David Woo has spent thousands of dollars to install artificial turf in his front yard, but Glendale bans the turf when visible from the street. Credit: Times Community News file photo