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California City Threatens to Fine Couple Attempting to Make Property Sustainable

With California’s consistent drought troubles, you’d think cities there would encourage residents to limit water use and replace resource-dependent lawns with native plantings and landscape structures. Not so in Alhambra, California, located in western Los Angeles County.

According to an article written for the Alhambra Source, when Alexis Moreno and her husband stopped watering their lawn in order to replace it with drought-friendly landscaping, they received a warning from the city. The lack of watering was in violation of city code that requires residents abutting public streets to maintain property “in such a way as to keep all plant life alive, thriving and displaying its natural colors and shall be properly trimmed and cut.” Ironically, the code also mandates that “The use of drought-resistant planting materials shall be encouraged,” which is what the Morenos were looking to do.

For now, the Morenos are choosing to follow code, replacing their small lawn in parts instead of as a whole, but Ms. Moreno has a city-wide vision plan for sustainable property. “I would love to one day see the City of Alhambra go beyond current efforts like the water saving page on the city website to adopt policies that promote, or even reward, water-saving. The City could offer landscaping classes, rebates for water use reduction, or replacing the lawn in front of the police station. For residents, rebates or grants could provide incentives for a total lawn makeover or just reducing the size of the front lawn with some beautiful (low water) border plantings or other features. Alhambra is in a unique position with our own municipal water supply and we should be doing our best to be wise stewards of this precious resource.”

Read more of this story from the Alhambra Source:

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