"Cash for Grass" Approved in Sacramento

3/5/2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento City Council approved a proposal that would pay homeowners and businesses a rebate if they rip out their lawns and replace them with more drought-tolerant plants.

William Granger with the Sacramento Utilities Department said the "Cash for Grass" proposal would be a pilot program with initial funding of $100,000. Granger said the program will offer 50 cents for each square foot of lawn turf that is removed and replaced in front yards.

According to the city's estimates, the rebate would likely pay between 10 and 30 percent of a yard makeover, depending on how much of the work is done by the property owner. The city of Roseville implemented a similar program in 2008. It offers $1 per square foot of replaced turf and applies to both front and back yards.

A spokesman for the city of Roseville said 487 people have taken advantage of the program and have since reduced their water use by 21 percent.

The Sacramento program would require residents to call the city's 311 service to set up an appointment with a landscaping consultant.

The consultant would measure the dimensions of the yard and determine if it is eligible. The homeowner or business would then have 90 days to complete the work using a list of approved plants.

Granger said the city is still working on that list and trying to determine how strict or flexible to be with which plants it considers to be drought-resistant.

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