Menlo Park appears to be backing off a controversial proposal to limit lawn size in new or rehabilitated landscaping projects for single-family homes.
In a staff report released in advance of a City Council study session Tuesday, Feb. 9, city management recommends that the city allow homeowners to calculate a "water budget," instead of accepting a strict lawn size limitation. While the staff had previously recommended that the city limit lawn size to the greater of 500 square feet or 25 percent of total landscaped area, the new recommendation describes the size limit as optional.
The recommendation comes as the city works to revise its water-efficient landscaping ordinance, in response to a new state law that went into effect Jan. 1.
Under recommendations by the staff and/or Menlo Park's Environmental Quality Commission, the revised ordinance would apply only to new or rehabilitated landscaping of over 1,000 square feet, with certain exceptions. It would require covers for new or replacement pools or spas.
The new recommendation would not require irrigation meters for single-family dwellings, unlike the previous one.
The city expects to have an approved ordinance in place by the end of the month.