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Artificial Turf For Sacramento's Front Lawns?

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

If you live in the City of Sacramento, it is illegal to replace your front lawn with artificial turf.

But, that could change.

The Sacramento Community Development Department has proposed an update to the city's landscaping ordinance that would allow synthetic turf in front yards.

Richard McDougal lives in the city. He told a committee public hearing that fake grass would help the city conserve water.

"Anytime you can just, right off the top, scrape 50-percent off the water usage, that's dramatic and it's necessary."

But people like Joanne Crosta say they worry  about the chemicals in the turf and the heat it gives off.

"It was a hot sunny day and it was in direct sunlight. I walked over. I touched it and I immediately pulled my hand off because it was very hot. It was painfully hot."

At this week's Sacramento City Council Law and Legislation Committee meeting, Councilwoman Angelique Ashby said she has many concerns.

There's probably no way I would support it, ever. But, I would at least encourage my colleagues to consider how are we going to do enforcement so that we make sure that it's high quality, and that it doesn't have toxic runoff and that it is recycled appropriately if we're gonna use it, and that it is installed appropriately. How would we properly monitor those things?"

Councilman Rick Jennings says he had been tempted for months to check some lawns in his district to see if they were really synthetic.

"Finally, I took the courage to go and do so and found out it was real. So, I've seen it in action in certain neighborhoods that did not know it was not allowed in a front yard."

Jennings says he would support  front yards with fake grass if the question comes to the full council.

The idea will next go before the planning commission for further consideration.  

Artificial turf has been illegal in the city's front lawns since 1984. It is legal in back yards.

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