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Turf comes up again

City is looking at whether to allow artificial grass in front yards.

May 13, 2010|By Melanie Hicken

NORTH GLENDALE — One homeowner’s stand against the city’s frontyard ban on artificial turf has again unearthed the contentious issue at City Hall.

The City Council last year opted against allowing artificial turf in areas visible from the street, allowing most homeowners to install it in their backyards. But last summer, the council agreed to revisit the issue after a blitz of media attention followed contractor David Wood after he was told to remove the artificial turf he installed in the frontyard of a house he built in Montrose.

Wood and other fake-turf supporters, including then-Councilman Ara Najarian, argued the plastic stuff should be allowed as a way to cope with the city’s tougher water restrictions, which made it difficult to keep traditional grass green.

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The controversy has gone relatively dormant in recent months as city planners prepare a report on options for possibly allowing the fake turf in frontyards.

But in recent weeks, north Glendale resident Noel Petter has pushed the issue back to the front burner.

Months ago, Petter uprooted the front lawn at his Hillside Drive home with plans to install artificial turf, but code enforcers, citing current city law, nixed the plans.

City officials told Petter to cover the bare dirt with live plant materials, and dropped off a load of mulch to cover the exposed tree roots and keep mud from rushing onto the sidewalk during rain. Instead, he left the bare dirt ladled with tree roots and posted a large sign blasting the city policy.

“This is ‘Glendale Beautification,’” the sign reads in red capital letters. “I removed the 80-year-old lawn to install artificial grass as permitted in most Southern California citys [sic] except Glendale. This is Glendale City Council’s mandate for water conservation and lawn mower exhaust pollution.”

He then posted smaller copies of the sign near the City Hall demonstration of artificial turf that city planners installed last year to gather public input before the issue returns to the City Council.

And on Tuesday, he called out the City Council for an explanation of the ban.

“I never got an answer from the council in any form as to why the artificial turf has been prohibited and when you are going to make a decision on this,” Petter told the council. “This has been several months now.”

Support for frontyard artificial turf has been mixed on the City Council, with some members indicating their reservations.

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