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Homeowner slams HOA over absurd decision about his money-saving lawn improvements: '[The rules] are 25 years old'

"I really felt like I was being controlled."

Drought friendly lawn, Rejected his proposal to use more plants

Photo Credit: iStock

A homeowner in Valencia, California, clashed with his homeowners association last year over the water-saving landscaping he installed in the midst of the state's ongoing water crisis, KTLA reported.

As the huge volume of heat-trapping air pollution in the atmosphere has raised the Earth's temperature, the western U.S. has seen severe, long-lasting drought conditions. Some areas, such as California and parts of Arizona, have taken measures to reduce water usage.

California, in particular, has encouraged residents to save water by paying them to replace thirsty, high-maintenance grass with drought-friendly alternatives. However, some HOAs have stepped in to prevent residents from taking advantage of the deal.

Steve Goodman, one of the original residents of Valencia's North Park, applied to his HOA to replace his grass, KTLA said. After a long wait, Goodman assumed the application was likely to be approved and installed his planned design.

The yard used a beautiful combination of stone, desert plants, and drip irrigation that would save water and require no mowing. It was similar to the drought-friendly landscaping many of his neighbors were installing. But unfortunately, the HOA rejected his proposal and demanded that he remove the new landscaping.

KTLA explained that North Park's rules required a mix of 30% "hardscaping" or paved elements and 70% "softscaping" or plants. Goodman's design used more hardscaping than plants. Goodman proposed to the HOA that he could add more plants but was again rejected.

"I really felt like I was being controlled," Goodman said. "I think they were upset that I didn't follow protocol and get the approval before I started the work."

No thanks to that decision, KTLA reported that Goodman will need to spend $5,000 to remove all of his drought-resistant landscaping — leaving him stuck with a wasteful grass lawn.

Goodman feels the decision is unfair. "When they're not considering what's going on in the world and in the state of California, specifically, the water crisis that's happening, then they're not considering all aspects," he said.

The North Park HOA released a statement saying changing its rules "is not just done on a whim." However, that doesn't explain why the board refused Goodman's updated proposal to use more plants.

According to KTLA, Goodman protested the decision with a sign in his driveway saying, "[The HOA rules] are 25 years old and do not reflect reality now."

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