All but two property owners with artificial turf have removed their plastic grass almost a year after the City Council solidified a citywide ban on the material in front yards.
Some who removed the artificial turf said the process cost them thousands of dollars, but because they feared criminal prosecution, they paid up.
One of them was Steven Garberson, who begrudgingly paid $4,000 to move his artificial turf to his backyard, replacing it with dirt and desert plants in his front yard.
He bristled when he discovered that the city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County have doled out rebates for those who swap their natural grass for the fake stuff.
“It seems as if the city of Glendale on different topics is totally out of step with different communities,” Garberson said.
One of the remaining holdouts is about two weeks away from the city filing a criminal case against him in Los Angeles County Superior Court, which could lead to more than $1,000 in fines or jail time. The other holdout received an extension from the city and doesn’t have to tear out the artificial turf until November, according to city records.
Glendale has banned artificial turf in front yards for years, but enforcement was put on hold when the City Council mulled changing the rule. Last year, the council decided to stick with the status-quo, allowing the fake grass in backyards and at city parks and sports fields.
Resident Geneva Dotson, who removed her fake grass several months ago, spent $1,000 to move it to her backyard. Her landscape designer used turf scraps of varying greens to fill in empty patches in her backyard.
Resident Victor Hanson had not planned to remove his artificial turf in January, but two months later it was gone. He spent $300 on desert plants, installing them himself because he refused to throw more money at his front lawn
He dumped his artificial turf, which cost him $4,000, at the city landfill.
“I figured I’d spend more money fighting it in court,” Hanson said.
Mayor Frank Quintero, who has rocks and drought-resistant plants in his own front yard, applauded those who removed their artificial turf for a more aesthetically pleasing desert landscape.
“I’m happy that they’ve complied and I’m sorry that they had to go through the expenditures to get back to the code,” Quintero said.
David Wood, who has been battling the city rule for almost a year. is the only turf violator who may face criminal charges. The rental property owner wants to continue fighting, but is unsure if he can carry on because he has moved to Palm Desert and he fears getting a criminal record.
“I don’t know what will become of it,” he said.