Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
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John Daley reporting Because of the relentless drought, many Utah cities and towns are encouraging residents to trade green lawns for more water-wise landscaping.
But, a Draper family who tried that, was forced to rip out an attractive bed of drought- tolerant plants, and replace them with a thirsty- turf, because of homeowners association rules.
When Salt Lake replaced grass in front of the City and County Building with water-wise plants, it easily saved between 70 and 75% of the water once used here.
But many homeowners are discovering that where they live, the rules say their yard must have a certain amount of grass.
Located on the ridge atop the Point of the Mountain, the Glazier home boasts a dizzying array of well-established water-wise plants, many of which bloom through the summer.
A couple of years after landscaper Janet Diegel and her crew put in a drip system, and dozens of drought-tolerant plants, they're pulling much of it out.
Scott Glazier and his family are moving back east--and to sell their home--they first have to comply with the rules of their community association.
John Daley: "THE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION INSISTS THAT THE PARKING STRIPS BE PLANTED IN GRASS AND THAT 50% OF THE LAWNS MUST BE TURF."
We spoke with Glazier by phone from Ohio.
Scott Glazier/Homeowner: "I'VE JUST HAD A DEAF EAR TURNED TO ME AND BASICALLY THE ONLY ANSWER I GET IS: 'THESE ARE THE RULES.'"
Glazier and SunCrest Homeowners Assocation *disagree* about whether he was ever properly notified about the rules in a timely fashion.
The association says it encourages water conservation, and its homes use up to half the water of a typical Draper home.
Ty McCutcheon/SunCrest Development Corp. : "THE CONVENANTS WERE ESTABLISHED PRIOR TO ANYONE MOVING INTO THE COMMUNITY AND EVERYONE THAT BUYS INTO A COMMUNITY AGREES TO ABIDE BY THOSE. AND IT'S THE RESPONSIBLITY OF THE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION TO ENFORCE THOSE CRITERIA WHATEVER THEY ARE."
But it's little consolation to Glazier, who spent more than 10 grand on the water wise landscape, and will spend another three thousand dollars to replace it with grass.
Janet Diegel/Waterwise Designs and Landscaping "THERE ARE STILL A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO WE'RE TRYING TO EDUCATE ON THINGS THAT LOOK GOOD DON'T HAVE TO BE GREEN ROLLING LAWN."
Scott Glazier/Homeowner: "THIS TYPE OF LANDSCAPING LOOKS VERY WELL, IT'S A GREAT CONSERVATION TOOL AS FAR AS WATER. I REALIZE IT'S NOT FOR EVERYBODY. I JUST WISH THAT HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATIONS AND COMMUNITIES WOULD BE MUCH MORE ACCEPTING OF THIS TYPE OF LANDSCAPING
The Suncrest Homeowners Association says it believes in water conservation, and that residents can use drought-tolerant grass, like Buffalo Grass, to comply with the rules.
But water watchdogs say the biggest hurdle to saving water here in Utah is not public attitudes, but planning departments, zoning ordinances and homeowners associations.