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No More Fines for Brown Lawns in California

No More Fines for Brown Lawns in California

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - If you're neglecting your front lawn during the drought, there's no need to worry over fines from city code enforcement or homeowners associations. This comes in light of a bill that was signed by Governor Jerry Brown that says it's Ok to skip out on watering your lawn.

Back in January, Gov. Brown called for a 20% statewide reduction in water usage. More than 6 months after, not much has changed. A study released this month found that the state has failed to meet that goal. More measures are being put in place statewide, including fines and penalties to those deemed "water-wasters".

And now it's Assembly Bill 2100, which prohibits homeowners associations, cities and counties from dishing out fines to those who aren't watering their lawns.

Terry Hutchison is the president of the Preisker Gardens HOA in Santa Maria.

"One of the aspects of an HOA, it keeps the value of your property up when your neighbors keep their houses up," said Hutchison.

When it comes to lawn care, Preisker Gardens' rules online state that homeowners need to keep their lawns "watered and green". But at one of their monthly meetings 2 months back, Preisker Gardens HOA said that rule was null and void during the drought.

"Lets just back off that, you know. If you guys want to water and pay for it, that's fine, but we are not going to be looking for dead lawns," said Hutchison.

Some homeowner's associations, in addition to rules on lawn care, have rules against drought-resistant landscaping. Right now there's a bill going through the Legislature that would prohibit HOA's from having such rules.


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