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Garden Grove council to discuss changes to artificial turf ban

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Council members will talk about specific conditions that they want incorporated into a city code amendment allowing fake grass

By DEEPA BHARATH
The Orange County Register

GARDEN GROVE, CA:

The issue of whether to amend city code to allow artificial turf in residential yards will make its appearance before the City Council yet again tonight, (Tuesday, October 28, 2008).

But council members won’t make the final amendment just yet, said Susan Emery, the city’s Director of Community Development.

Tonight, council members will get more information about a variety of issues relating to artificial turf such as lead content, smell from the rubber infill, fungus growth, method of installation, drainage, inspections and recycling.

“All we want to get from the council is to look at the items presented and tell us exactly what they want in the code amendment,” Emery said.

She said once they spell out the conditions, the city’s staff will take the code amendment to the Planning Commission for its recommendation and then bring it back to the City Council for final approval.

The public will have an opportunity to comment on the issue Tuesday during oral communications and then again later during a public hearing when the issue comes back for final approval, Emery said.

Artificial turf has turned into a quite an issue in Garden Grove and surrounding communities. The issue first came before the Garden Grove City Council in July when some residents found out that they had violated city code by installing artificial turf in their front yards.

Those in favor of fake grass say it’s a water-saving mechanism at a time when drought and higher utility rates threaten Orange County residents.

Those opposed to artificial turf say the lead content and rubber infill in the installation could have adverse environmental impacts. Council members have expressed different opinions on the matter as well. Mayor Bill Dalton said he believed that residents should have the option to install artificial grass, but Councilman Bruce Broadwater had said that he wasn’t much in favor of “a plastic world.”

Broadwater had suggested that the code amendment require residents to have a combination of natural and artificial greenery in their yards.

Staff members will present alternatives such as requiring residents to steer clear of smelly rubber infill and turf with high lead content.

At issue is also whether residents should get Planning Department permits before installing the artificial turf. Council members could also require that residents install quality products from manufacturers who offer a fade-resistant warranty for at least eight to 10 years.

Emery said council members can either make it an over-the-counter permit process or ask that staff members inspect in person.

“But I don’t see us conducting regular inspections,” Emery said. “We don’t have the staff for it.”
Contact the writer: 714-445-6685 or dbharath@hotmail.com

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