Herald American

Norwalk, Downey approve the use of synthetic lawns

With the California drought continuing for a fourth year, the city councils in Norwalk and Downey have approved changes in their landscaping laws allowing the use of artificial turf and drought-resistant plants.

Bellflower also has allowed the use of synthetic turf in certain locations.

Some cities are seeking grants to help finance such projects on public property.

The Norwalk City Council Aug. 18 applied for a state grant of $416,260 to replace 58,538 square feet of median and side panel turf along medians and streets at 11 locations with drought-tolerant plants which require little water.

The California State Water Resources Authority has prohibited cities from using fresh water to irrigate natural grass in street medians.

Public Works Director Gary Di Corpo said most trees will be left in place but will be watered by a drip irrigation system.

The city of Paramount has decided to truck in recycled water to irrigate its street medians, which is allowed.

In a related project aimed at conservation and improved transportation, the Norwalk City Council contracted with BKF Engineers for a fee of $197,253 to replace 4,000 linear feet of cracked, uneven concrete in side panels along Foster Road between Studebaker Avenue and Pioneer Boulevard.

The concrete will be replaced with drought-tolerant landscaping along with a bicycle lane, new sidewalk and wheelchair ramps, DiCorpo said.

Funding will come from a $2.2 million grant from the California Transportation Commission.

The Downey City Council has followed the example of Norwalk and other cities to amend its landscape ordinance and allow use of drought resistant plans and artificial turf.

The Downey Planning Commission Sept. 2 recommended approval. It goes back to City Council for final approval.

Aldo E. Schindler, director of community development, said the amendment to the City Code would create standards for the use of native plants that require minimal use of water and would set quality standards for use of synthetic grass.

It is in compliance with Gov. Jerry Brown’s call for the state to reduce the use of water by an average of 25 percent statewide by next February, compared to the amount used in corresponding months in 2013.