Menlo council passes landscaping ordinance


A greatly revised water-efficient landscaping ordinance passed Menlo Park's City Council by a unanimous vote at its meeting Tuesday, April 27.

The ordinance would only apply to properties with landscaped area of over 2,500 square feet, and only when those properties undergo renovation or construction that would trigger the city's approval process. It must still clear a procedural vote at a later council meeting.

Among other things, the ordinance would prohibit "overhead" lawn watering between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., would require homeowners with large lawns to either reduce lawn size or calculate a "water budget," and would require an irrigation plan approved by a landscape architect.

The ordinance is a slightly modified version of one designed by the Bay Area Water and Conservation Agency to comply with a state law that went into effect Jan. 1. The ordinance would apply only to new homes, or homes that undergo extensive renovations or landscaping overhauls.

Council members remarked several times upon how technically complicated the ordinance is, saying they feared residents would have a difficult time understanding the new rules. They wrangled over and eventually agreed to its main points over three separate meetings.

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