Ogden officials against artificial turf as water conservation option

Posted at 7:40 PM, Mar 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-30 21:40:41-04

OGDEN, Utah – Ogden city residents and businesses concerned about water conservation are hoping the city will allow artificial grass as an option for landscaping. But city planners are against that idea.

Pamela Clark from the Family Support Center of Ogden said she was given a citation for installing artificial turf in front of her business. But she said she did it to conserve water after she saw how high her water bill was getting.

“Between the amount of water we were consuming and the size of our water bill, it just became not very cost efficient for the Family Support Center to continue to try to water grass,” Clark said.

Clark said the city almost immediately issued her a warning after the fake grass was installed.

“I called them and I said, ‘it doesn’t say I can’t have artificial turf,’” she said.  “And the city planners came back and said ‘well it doesn’t say that you can.’”

John Mayer from the Ogden City Planning Commission said there is an ordinance prohibiting artificial grass because of the way it looks and the risks it poses to the environment.

“It’s a plastic, if you will, and it doesn’t have a natural cooling agent that soil and grass do, and so the plastic overheats and contributes to what we call the heat island effect,” he said. “There’s also the concern of cleanliness. Bacteria can build up, especially from salts or animal waste.”

Clark and another Ogden resident who put artificial turf down filed petitions to change the law.

Clark said the current city ordinance is outdated and believes artificial turf is a great way to conserve water.

“There’s a lot of people that live in the West and there’s just not enough water to go around,” she said.

While it is up to the city council to make the final decision, Mayer said, the planning commission is against the idea.

“I think I would prefer to see an option that allows a limited use of it,” he said.

The Ogden City Council plans to address a possible change to the ordinance in their meeting at the end of April.