Regulation of the Day 127: Landscaping

Southern California is a dry place, prone to droughts. So Angelina and Quan Ha, of Orange, CA, ditched their water-hungry grass lawn about two years ago. They replaced it with “a drought-tolerant garden filled with lavender, rosemary and native wildflower seeds.” They claim the switch is saving them hundreds of dollars per year, not to mention hundreds of thousands of gallons of precious water.

The city of Orange promptly sued them, claiming their lawn violates local regulations. At least 40 percent of a yard must be covered with living plants. The city contends that the sparse shrubs and plants in the Ha family’s yard don’t meet the threshold.

“Compliance, that’s all we’ve ever wanted,” Senior Assistant City Attorney Wayne Winthers said. “They put up a nice fence, but it didn’t show anything about how they had complied with code, as far as the front yard goes.”

This is a fancy way of saying, “you will do what I tell you.” This is not a healthy attitude for any person to have.

The Has pled not guilty in court on March 2. If they lose, they are looking at up to six months of jail time and a $1,000 fine.

Fortunately, after a rash of bad publicity surrounding the court hearing, the city announced within hours that it was considering dropping the charges.

(Hat tip to Megan McLaughlin)