Does your homeowners association have guidelines/specifications for installation of artificial turf?
Bill AB 349 makes the governing documents, architectural or landscaping guidelines, or policies of an Association void and unenforceable if they prohibit the use of artificial turf or any other synthetic surface that resembles grass.
The bill is an urgency statute, which means it would take effect immediately if signed by Governor Brown. The likelihood of Governor Brown signing the bill is high.
Those for and against the bill
The bill finds and declares that with the lowest snowpack ever recorded, California finds itself in 2015 in the fourth year of a historic, prolonged and potentially devastating drought.
The bill is sponsored by the San Diego Water Authority and supported by many other authorities, agencies and districts. It is opposed by the Educational Community for Homeowners (ECHO). ECHO opposed previous bills regarding artificial turf.
Governor Brown vetoed similar measures in 2010 and 2011. However, this year California is in the midst of a major drought. Governor Brown issued an Executive Order on April 1, 2015 stipulating many items, including encouragement of drought tolerant landscaping. There is no indication if his intent supports the use of artificial turf.
Politics have changed
I would note that the politics have changed since Governor Brown voted the last bill in 2011. Most recently, statewide polling indicated that 67 percent of respondents feel the drought and water issues are the most important issues facing California.
The bill has already passed the Assembly with overwhelming bipartisan support and is currently pending action in the Senate.
What your HOA board can do
As a responsible property manager, I am making all of my homeowners associations aware of this bill and its implications. Once this bill passes, like solar, you cannot deny a submittal, but you can set guidelines/specifications.
Each Association should review artificial turf and set some guidelines/specifications for installation in their community. The artificial turf business is expanding rapidly and to make sure your community stays vibrant and the ambiance remains intact, you need to get ahead of the curve on this issue.