The Contra Costa Times reports that a San Ramon home woman who received a rebate from the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) for tearing out her lawn and replacing it with drought-resistant plants has been fined $50 a month by her homeowners association, the Twin Creeks South Estate Homes Association.
Fran Paxson had submitted her landscaping plans to the water district and Twin Creeks; EBMUD offered her a rebate, but Twin Creeks’ board and a board architectural committee said she was supposed to leave 25% of her yard as grass. Three weeks ago, Twin Creeks informed Paxson of the fine they were instituting, writing, “It would look better.”
According to the Times, Paxson claimed Twin Creeks’ board members were concerned her yard would lower property values. A July 31 letter from the board asserted that the board “feels that your front yard appearance would look better with the percentage of turf that was approved by the architectural committee.”
Paxson stated, “I think it’s ridiculous for a homeowners association to threaten a fine to force someone to put in lawn in a drought. It’s just wrong on so many levels. I didn’t just cover my front yard with volcanic rock.”
A state law written by Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose, and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on July 22, “protects homeowners from being penalized for doing the right thing by conserving during the drought,” the Times notes.
Paxson is reportedly appealing the fine on the basis that other homes in her area either have no lawns or have grass that is brown or dead from the heat.