CLCA In The News

New Laws Invalidate Local Restrictions on Synthetic Turf Installation

November 20, 2015

New Laws Invalidate Local Restrictions on Synthetic Turf Installation

Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed into law two measures that make it easier for property owners to install synthetic turf despite local rules prohibiting it.

CLCA supported both bills, which took effect immediately as urgency statutes, because they make it possible for landscape contractors to provide the widest range possible of client options.

Assembly Bill 349, authored by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), restricts homeowners’ associations from prohibiting the use of artificial turf or other synthetic surface that resembles grass. It also prevents them from requiring their members to remove or reverse water-efficient measures taken in response to a declaration of a state emergency upon the emergency’s conclusion.

Last year California passed a law, also authored by Gonzalez, which prevents homeowners’ associations from prohibiting low-water using plants as a group or as a replacement for existing turfgrass. Gonzalez authored AB 349, which was sponsored by the San Diego County Water Authority, to strengthen that law.

Assembly Bill 1164, authored by Assemblymember Mike Gatto (D-Glendale), prohibits cities and counties from enacting or enforcing any ordinance or regulation that prohibits the installation of drought-tolerant landscaping, synthetic grass, or artificial turf on residential property. The new law allows local restrictions on these types of materials, but the restrictions may not substantially increase the cost of installing them, effectively prohibit their installation, or significantly impede the installation of drought tolerant landscaping, such as requiring that a residential yard must be completely covered with living plant material.

AB 1164 overrides the ordinances of Cerritos and several other local jurisdictions that prohibit artificial turf.

An earlier version of AB 1164 included $300 million to replace water efficient landscapes, but this appropriation was removed from the measure before it went to the governor.

- Larry Rohlfes, CAE