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Castle Rock may soon limit how much grass new homes can have in yards

Castle Rock may soon limit how much grass new homes can have in yards
Castle Rock may soon limit how much grass new homes can have in yards 02:35

Many of us have green grass in our front yards, and while it's very pretty, it's also very thirsty. Kentucky bluegrass uses about 19 inches of water per growing season. Now another community on Colorado's Front Range is looking at banning that grass in front yards.

"We're moving forward with this because we think it's in the best interest of our community and our rate payers," says Mark Marlowe, Director of Castle Rock Water.

Castle Rock will likely follow Aurora's example and limit where and how much cool weather turf can be used in new developments.

"This is new homes that are permitted in Castle Rock after Jan. 1, 2023, they will not be able to install turf in the front yard and they will have to install less than 500 feet of turf in the backyard," said Marlowe.

Instead, the town is pushing "Colorado-scaping," or planting drought tolerant native plants that use less water. Existing homes can get rebates to Colorado-scape their yards.

While the ordinance would eliminate turf in new commercial and residential uses, it could still be used in functional settings.

"Parks and other locations where you're using that turf for play, absolutely you can put that turf in," said Marlowe.

The goal is to reduce per-capita water use by 100 gallons a day. Castle Rock will not ban new golf courses like Aurora did.

Water policy analyst John Berggren, with Western Resource Advocates, applauds the move.

"It's great!" said Berggren. "More and more Colorado communities and western communities need to be taking similar approaches."

He says climate change and a growing population make this kind of action necessary across the state.

"We have a very fast-growing region here on the Front Range and that new development, new growth cannot be done the way it's been done the last 100 years. It's got to be way more water efficient," says Berggren.

The ordinance is not the law of the land just yet. It passed its first reading unanimously in the Castle Rock town council. The second and final reading will take place on Oct. 18.

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