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Norwalk and Downey Amend City Codes Allowing Artificial Turf and Drought Plants

By Brian Hews

In order to meet the state mandated water reduction goal of 25%, the city councils in Norwalk and Downey have approved changes in their landscaping laws allowing the use of artificial turf and drought-resistant plants.

Bellflower also has allowed the use of synthetic turf.

Some cities are seeking grants to help finance such projects on public property.

The Norwalk City Council on Aug. 18 applied for a grant of over $416,000 to replace 58,000 square feet of water gulping turf in medians at 11 locations with drought-tolerant plants which require little water.

This is in reaction to the California State Water Resources Authority prohibiting cities from using fresh water to irrigate grass in street medians and why so many city medians are turning brown.

Norwalk Public Works Director Gary Di Corpo indicated most trees will be left in place but will be watered by a drip irrigation system.

Cities can truck in recycled water to irrigate its street medians, which is what the city of Paramount has done.

In other news, the Norwalk City Council approved a to replace 4,000 linear feet of cracked, uneven concrete along Foster Road between Studebaker Avenue and Pioneer Boulevard.

Drought-tolerant landscaping will replace the concrete along with a bicycle lane, and there will be new sidewalk and wheelchair ramps.

Funding will come from a $2.2 million grant from the California Transportation Commission.

The Downey City Council also its landscape ordinance to allow use of drought resistant plans and artificial turf.

On Sept. 2, the Downey Planning Commission voted to approve the amendment, which should be approved by the City Council at their next meeting.

The amendment would delineate the use of native plants that require minimal water usage and would set standards for use of artificial turf.

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