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Menlo Park proposal would restrict lawn size

Original post made on Jan 5, 2010

A political battle is brewing in Menlo Park between environmentalists and property rights advocates over residents' lawns, with one side saying a proposed ordinance goes too far, while the other saying 'belt-tightening' is needed due to climate change.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, January 5, 2010, 1:23 PM

Comments (11)

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Posted by C J Madson
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 5, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Instead of starting with restrictions and penalties, why not show the level of general commitment to lower water use by negotiating substantial discounts on low-water plants and no-water (faux) lawns for the citizens? Give the people a better alternative at a comparable price and they'll make better choices.

Work with Sunset on demonstration yards to show people how nice it can look, and how much water (and associated energy) they'll save. Get contractors on board too, pre-qualifying them so that homeowners know they'll get quality work. And show people how they can make a difference with just a few hundred dollars.

New rules are easy to make -- find a better way that encourages the people to help solve the problem themselves.

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Posted by RBH
a resident of another community
on Jan 5, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Couldn't agree with CJ's comments more. Incentives and education are equally or more important than penalties. The 1950's era of surburbia complete with over-sized lush green lawns demanding mowing, water, fertilizers and pesticides is dead (or should be).

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Posted by DEN
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 5, 2010 at 2:53 pm

I to agree with CJ's views. With California running out of water at an alarming rate it is past time to start doing something about it.

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Posted by HA HA MP
a resident of another community
on Jan 5, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Make it apply retroactively to everyone on the city council

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Posted by Esperanza Sanz
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jan 5, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Why everyone has to have a lawn and waste water that can be drunk? Would you grow a lawn or a soccer field in the dessert? Would you do that in England? In every place whatever is appropriate for the weather that we have.....

It is called common sense.

Please, don't mention the Grey water. Fact is that just in Mountain View 60% of the water goes to water the lawn. That's a real number!

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Posted by Scott Stanford
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 5, 2010 at 6:10 pm

If you *do* have a lawn, I recommend underground drip irrigation (we have used 17 mm Netafim Techline <Web Link; for the past 5 years). By irrigating underground (instead of with sprinklers), you reduce water loss due to evaporation or water running down the gutters. It also waters the lawn at the roots, which means less evaporation and potential fungus damage. It also makes it harder for weeds to grow, as the water is not at the surface where seedlings are, but below.

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Posted by Fred Kwatz
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 5, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Restrictions on liberty are unreasonable. Price water for its value and use similarly to electricity and gas. Low "baseline" rates sufficient for regular household use (drinking, laundry, bathing) with progressively higher rates to discourage profligate consumption, like use for watering soccer-field sized lawns. Then INDIVIDUALS could decide how they want to spend their money. Allowing the nanny state to dictate my priorities proceeds down the path to totalitarianism.

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Posted by localmom
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 5, 2010 at 9:45 pm

The City Council is just MEDDLING! This is ridiculous. I agree with pricing water differentially and letting people decide if they want to fund their own family soccer team, but PROHIBITING people from growing grass on their own property is a flagrant violation of property rights and I hope this does not pass. No one will want to buy a house in M.P.! People DO move here from Houston, Boston, and DC and they will choose some other, less restrictive community which allows them to raise their family with an actual lawn that their kids and dog can run around on. So, let it go MP City Council!!

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Posted by JH
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 7, 2010 at 7:31 am

If water is such a great concern, why are we building more and more high rise apartments? Soon there won't be enough water, what then?

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Posted by Paul James
a resident of another community
on Jan 18, 2010 at 11:05 pm


as you have said, under lawn drippers are far more efficient than sprinklers.

It is about to go one step further, Just Water Savers USA Inc. is releasing a suite of products that do graywater irrigation under lawn and garden beds.

If interested go to That site, and others related are only 90% complete, launch is happening about 01/27.

And to the person who said dont mention graywater because 60% goes to the lawn....a family of 3 or 4 generates enough graywater to irrigate 2,000 sq ft of lawn and about 1,000 sq ft of garden beds.

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Posted by Ben
a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2010 at 8:20 am

I agree with the comments by Fred. You don't need restrictions. You need higher prices! Raise prices (in a reasonable way as Fred described) and then let people make their own choices. Excess revenue gained from those high users could be used to pay for additional rebate programs, cash-for-grass ,etc.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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