Should bylaws be changed to allow artificial turf on front yards?

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This week a media outlet interviewed Sangeeta Gounder and her husband who received a violation notice to remove the synthetic grass installed in the front and back of their property three years ago.

Apparently, the couple ran afoul with a Toronto bylaw which dictates that a “minimum of 75 per cent of the front yard must be soft landscaping.” Artificial turf for those who might not be aware is considered a hard surface.

Gounder received the bylaw infraction notice after someone complained to the city, which says it only investigates when a call is made to 311.

“I’ve never actually encountered anybody who didn’t like our lawn, so it was surprising to us that someone would complain.”

When she inquired about the violation, the bylaw officer told her the city was “concerned about drainage.”

According to the city, artificial turf does not absorb water as quickly as natural ground cover which can lead to flood risks following heavy rainfall or snow melts.

The bylaw states that artificial grass “is permitted in back lawns but not in the front because as it is considered a bit of an eyesore. Who gets to decide what is pleasing to the eye or not is a bit of a mystery given that beauty tends to lie in the eye of the beholder!

Homeowners who opt for artificial turf run the risk of a $1,400 fine if some displeased neighbors decide to call it in.

There are many homeowners in the GTA who dread summer and the prospect of moving the lawns and tending weeds. Given that artificial turf has come a long way and isn’t the perceived threat it is made out to be, cities across Canada should embrace it and allow artificial turf.

This is also a bit of a generational thing, older Canadians tend to be averse to anything artificial, unless it happens to be an artificial limb or a heart valve, younger Canadians tend to embrace artificial turf and would welcome the prospect of not having to invest in lawn mowers and spend their valuable time tending lawns. -CINEWS

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