California’s AB 1061, introduced on February 27 by Assemblyman Ted Lieu would repeal a portion of the Davis-Stirling Act as it relates to water efficient plants. Currently, the Davis-Stirling Act provides that the architectural guidelines of a common interest development shall not prohibit or include conditions that have the effect of prohibiting the use of low water-using plants as a group. AB 1061 would enforce a model conservation ordinance that state officials plan to complete next year. Local water districts would be able to use the model ordinance as a blueprint for their own conservation rules. As long as the water districts obey the model ordinance guidelines, anything in the rules of a community association development that conflicts with local water district’s regulations or restrictions would be “void and unenforceable.”
Water wholesaler Metropolitan Water District is sponsoring the legislation claiming the bill clarifies how homeowners can install water-efficient landscaping without running afoul of association rules. With California in a drought and rationing under way or looming in many districts, the agency claims it is looking for any way to stretch out its supplies. However, one has to wonder whether the bill is even necessary since there have only been isolated instances of conflicts between homeowner members eager to save water and associations that outlawed particular types of water-efficient landscaping.