HB 95: Removing Requirements for Green Lawns
This bill did not receive a vote.
In 2021, 90 percent of Utah was declared to be in extreme drought conditions. The town of Echo in Summit County had to pay to truck water in from nearby Henefer. Farmers were faced with water rationing and losing crops and livestock. Utahns all across the state had good reasons to want to save water. The situation was dire enough that the Governor and religious groups were asking us to pray for rain.
However, on the books in some cities and towns are requirements that the landscaping on individuals’ property consist partially (or even entirely) of green lawn. Such laws don’t just restrict the freedom to design one’s landscaping how one wishes — they also prevent individuals from conserving water during an extreme drought. In other words, if a property owner wants to experiment with xeriscaping or “localscaping,” there’s a chance their city won’t let them — even if the drought of the decade is wearing on.
To address this issue, Representative Raymond Ward is sponsoring House Bill 95, a bill that would prevent counties, cities, and HOAs from requiring a resident to only plant lawn or turf. Notably, the bill doesn’t create an incentive program or otherwise spend tax dollars in the effort.
In fairness, a number of cities in Utah have recently repealed their green lawn mandates. This bill ensures remaining cities will do the same and that all Utahns have the freedom to save water during a drought.