FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA

U.S./World

Law blocks some brown lawn fees during droughts

By July 23, 2014

SACRAMENTO — Homeowner associations can no longer slap fines on residents with dry, brown lawns during droughts under legislation that took effect Monday.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB2100 following an April emergency order prohibiting homeowner associations from penalizing residents who conserve water in a declared drought.

Democratic Assemblywoman Nora Campos of San Jose introduced the bill after a San Lorenzo man was threatened by his homeowner association with up to $1,000 in fines for not watering his lawn. The warning came even after the governor declared a drought emergency in January.

AB2100 extends the prohibition on retaliating against homeowners conserving water to future droughts declared by the state or local governments. Other fines for landscaping issues, including weeds and vegetation in fire-prone areas, are still permitted.

Another bill moving through the Legislature, AB2104, prevents homeowner associations from punishing owners for installing drought-resistant landscaping.

Neither the law nor the governor’s executive order addresses fees imposed by local governments. Some agencies have been warning residents for not watering their lawns even as the state authorizes penalties for overwatering lawns and touts “Brown is the New Green” in a new drought-busting campaign.

AB1636 would have prohibited local fines, but Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown, D-San Bernardino, dropped the measure in part because AB2100 was advancing.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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Discussion | 5 comments

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  • CD BrooksJuly 22, 2014 - 7:40 am

    This is good news! HOA's have way too much power and need to be taken down a notch. I would expect municipalities to back off on residents as well.

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  • JimboJuly 22, 2014 - 11:03 am

    A decent HOA would not have any issues during a drought and would change their bylaws accordingly. A control freak ran HOA would use anything they can find to invade someone's life not on the board no matter how outdated or illogical. They are not all they same but they are major cesspools of codependency with people who might be very different than yourself. I'd rather live under a bridge personally.

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  • mikeJuly 22, 2014 - 2:41 pm

    there are ways to keep a brown yard green, take the time to hand water, give everything a little water. if brown yards are now ok , the next thing you'll see is broken cars on cinder blocks.

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  • CD BrooksJuly 22, 2014 - 4:08 pm

    Mike, that's a bad example and not at all true.

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  • mikeJuly 22, 2014 - 5:56 pm

    Just funnin about the cinder blocks CD. I for one have a lot invested in my landscaping and I'm not going to let it go south. Watering by hand is working it takes longer and you have to use a nozzle and ration. The yard is not suffering. I haven't glutton the water and my part of the neighborhood still looks good.

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