City council bans turf on parkways

By Kyle Kan

Assoc. News Editor

The city council voted to prohibit the use of synthetic turf in city parkways on Wednesday, March 4. The council voted four to one against a proposed amendment to an ordinance, citing that the water conserved would not compensate for the cultural environmental issues.

The council adopted an updated parkway ordinance in August, but decided to block the aspect of the ordinance that would allow for the use of artificial grass in up to 30% of the parkway. Senior Management Analyst Debby Figoni presented the input provided by various groups including the Natural Resources and Environmental Commission (NREC).

The NREC, Public Works Commission, Planning Commission, and the Design Review Board all supported the use of synthetic turf given specific terms ranging from a guarantee of five-inch-per-hour drain rates to a requirement of the installation of a surface leveling agent of sand or rock material. The Cultural Heritage Commission (CHC) was wholly against the idea of artificial grass and voted five to zero against the change. The CHC argued that there were more attractive water-conserving alternatives available and that the use of synthetic material would alter the neighborhood’s historic character.

Mayor Robert Joe and Mayor Pro Tem Diana Mahmud were originally the only members of the council to support the usage of artificial turf. However, Joe changed his opinion to oppose the amendment after the rest of the council agreed to take another look and consider synthetic grass in the future. The council is set to review and reconsider the use of synthetic turf in two years.