FOR NOW, ANYWAY, RESIDENTS OF NORWALK MUST KEEP ON THE GRASSBy Herald American
Drought or not, the City of Norwalk still does not permit the use of synthetic turf. The planning commission has postponed its debate on the use of phony grass to Sept. 22. Until at least then, all homes are required to have some type of natural landscaping—natural grass, shrubs and flowers, although definitely not rows of vegetables—in front yards and side yards abutting streets.
Synthetic turf has been around since the 1950s but usually has been associated with athletic fields. Recently, however, it has become more popular for residential and commercial projects as a way to conserve water.
According to Norwalk planning manager Bing Hyun’s report to the planning commission, synthetic turf is promoted by the Irvine Ranch Water District in Orange County, which estimates that slathering 750 square feet of the stuff atop a lot would save about 22,000 gallons of water a year. The city of Whittier permits it. So do Lakewood and La Mirada. Bellflower has waived its ordinance calling for natural grass, to allow the use of synthetic turf at one site, in a little traveled area between tall buildings.
On the other hand, artificial turf costs $6 to $10 per square foot as compared to $1.75 to $2.25 per square foot for natural grass sod. In the desert regions of Southern California, Arizona and New Mexico, it is estimated that it would take some five to 10 years to recoup the added cost with synthetic turf through water savings, Hyun said.
There is also a health concern from chemicals used to make synthetic turf. At a recent meeting, resident Jerry Ori cited a news article about a large manufacturer and supplier of synthetic turf settling a lawsuit with the state, which alleged the firms had violated Proposition 65 by not providing warning labels about the lead content in synthetic turf. The manufacturer has agreed to remove about half the lead from its product, the article said.
Let’s see … anything else? Oh, yeah: playing on synthetic turf is widely considered to have caused the knee injuries that prematurely ended the career of Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers in the 1960s. Let’s not forget that. Ever.