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Agoura Hills Couple In Turf War With HOA Over Synthetic Grass

AGOURA HILLS ( — One Agoura Hills couple is finding out that the artificial grass isn't always greener.

When Greg Greenstein and his wife replaced their grass to save water amid this historic drought, they ignited a turf war with the Morrison Ranch Estates homeowners association, which is not only fining the couple $50 a day but also taking them to court.

The patch of artificial turf was installed in November, and Greg Greenstein says he is thrilled with it and the water savings.

"It's fantastic – easy to maintain," Greenstein said.

His neighbors seem to like the way it looks, too.

"I'm glad they did it, and hopefully we will see more of that in the future," neighbor Marty Hodgdon said.

But the ease and attraction of synthetic grass is not growing on Morrison Ranch Estates' HOA, which covers about 1,200 homes. The HOA is fining the Greensteins $50 for every day they have the artificial turf.

"You can't put it in and then ask for forgiveness," said Jan Gerstel, president of the HOA.

Sometimes rules can be broken. Gov. Jerry Brown signed an executive order forbidding HOAs from fining residents who let their yards turn brown or for putting in drought-resistant yards, but he has vetoed bills on artificial or synthetic grass.

Gerstel said the HOA board discussed allowing synthetic grass at length, but ultimately decided they didn't believe it was good for the environment.

Greenstein's feet are going to stay planted in his fake grass, so to speak.

"I refuse to pay. I just have to wait for Gov. Brown to sign off on artificial turf," Greenstein said.

The Greensteins are scheduled to appear in small-claims court June 8, by which time their bill will be far more than $5,000.

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