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Artificial lawn results in $50-a-day fine for West Palm Beach resident

City ordinance doesn't allow artificial turf on front lawns
Artificial turf on lawn in West Palm Beach
Posted at 5:20 PM, Jul 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-14 17:49:10-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — During these hot summer days, keeping lawns green can mean higher water bills, prompting some residents to turn to artificial turf. But not every city is on board with this decision.

Homeowners don't have to water it, put down fertilizer or cut it every week. It's similar to what you see at sports stadiums.

But in West Palm Beach, as good as it may look, there are restrictions.

Judy Barron, getting fined $50 a day for artificial lawn
Judy Barron of West Palm Beach explains the controversy involving her artificial lawn.

Judy Barron loves her artificial turf lawn.

"It's very comfortable on my feet, like walking on carpet," Barron said.

Stretched across the front of her house on Alpine Road, it has the look of a well-manicured golf course.

Lush and green, she said she often gets compliments but not from City Hall.

"Oh yes, $50 a day I'm being fined since the end of March," she said.

Artifiical turf along residential area of Rosemary Square
Despite restrictions on artificial turf in West Palm Beach, WPTV spotted it in areas near Rosemary Square.

She said the fines are piling up because West Palm Beach's artificial turf ordinance only allows the turf on the sides and in the backyard. It can't be on front lawns and visible from the street.

Elsewhere in the city, in public places, it seems artificial turf is allowed. WPTV spotted it in areas in and around Rosemary Square.

But for homeowners struggling to keep lawns green during the summer, the option is limited.

"They don't have an explanation. If they did, I want to hear it," Barron said. "It just doesn't make any sense."

Eyra Caldera of Den & Will Synthetic Turf on West Palm Beach
Eyra Caldera advises residents to check with cities and towns to see if turf is allowed before making a purchase.

Eyra Caldera of Den & Will Synthetic Turf said her turf company in West Palm Beach is now installing two turf lawns a week as homeowners look to cut back on water bills.

"It's very popular, especially for the people who want to save money on maintenance," Caldera said.

Several South Florida cities and villages apparently have different rules on the turf, which is becoming increasingly popular.

Caldera advises homeowners to be aware of what municipalities will allow.

"Check with your city ordinances and make sure that the company you're installing with knows the rules and regulations before you get installed," Caldera said.

Barron said she plans to keep on fighting the fines.