Governor Brown Vetoes Turf Bill

For the second time, an artificial turf bill has been vetoed by California’s Governor. In vetoing the bill, Governor Brown reasoned, as Governor Schwarzenegger did when he vetoed AB 1793 last year, that CIDs should not be micromanaged by the State Legislature.

CAI-CLAC reported yesterday that for the second time, an artificial turf bill has been vetoed by California’s Governor. In vetoing the bill, Governor Brown reasoned, as Governor Schwarzenegger did when he vetoed AB 1793 last year, that CIDs should not be micromanaged by the State Legislature.

The Legislature’s passage of the bill was due largely to the fact that it was marketed as a water conservation measure and as such explains the impressive vote in favor of it. The veto of this bill is a victory for local control rather than state mandated regulations.

The bill was sponsored by the San Diego County Water Authority and supported by the Association of California Water Agencies, and the City of San Diego, and opposed by CAI-CLAC.

Here is the Governor’s veto message, followed by an article in the press:

To the Members of the California State Senate:

I am returning Senate Bill 759 without my signature. Under this bill, homeowners associations that govern Common Interest Developments would be forced to approve the installation of AstroTurf. The decision about choosing synthetic turf instead of natural vegetation should be left to individual homeowners associations, not mandated by state law. For this reason, I am returning this bill.

 

Sincerely,

Edmund G. Brown Jr.

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July 15, 2011

Jerry Brown vetoes artificial turf bill backed by conservationists

Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed legislation that would have required homeowners associations to let people replace their lawns with artificial turf, the governor’s office announced today.

Senate Bill 759, by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, was supported by water conservationists and passed by the Legislature with some bipartisan support. It would have prohibited associations, which often govern the aesthetics of a neighborhood, from banning artificial turf.

“A decision to choose synthetic turf over natural vegetation is best left to individual homeowners associations, not mandated by state law,” the Democratic governor said in his veto message.

Lieu fired a testy Twitter message or two at Brown last month after the governor vetoed the first budget passed by Democratic lawmakers. But Lieu said this afternoon that he didn’t think the veto was in retribution.

“It does appear to me that Jerry Brown is looking at each bill on its merits and then making his decision,” he said.

** Sacramento Bee Newspaper

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Governator Terminates HOA Bill Allowing Boards to Enter into Long Term Conservation Contracts

Gov. Schwarzenegger recently vetoed California’s AB 1328. AB 1328 would have provided that a homeowners association could enter into a contract for a water or energy efficiency program, for a term of up to five years, if the board of directors reasonably anticipated that the contract would result in verifiable savings to the association.

vetoGov. Schwarzenegger recently vetoed California’s AB 1328. AB 1328 would have provided that a homeowners association could enter into a contract for a water or energy efficiency program, for a term of up to five years without owner approval, if the board of directors reasonably anticipated that the contract would result in verifiable savings to the association. This would have allowed HOAs to take advantage of long term savings and actively engage in energy conversation which is essentially mandated by California’s AB 32.  However, the Governator vetoed the bill claiming that it was unnecessary and would override the requirement that most contracts which are longer than one year obtain homeowner approval.

AB 1328 would have allowed HOAs, and by extension homeowners, the ability to obtain long term savings if they were able to locate vendors to provide extended water and energy conservation programs for their community. Boards are required to use sound business judgment and protect the assets of an Association.  Further, under the bill homeowners were to be notified of the terms of the contracts and provided an opportunity to be heard at an open meeting prior to the Board’s execution of any such contracts. It seems that there were sufficient protections in place to allow Boards to explore and enter into these types of long term contracts. Remember, Boards would not be required to enter into such contracts. The bill just would have given Boards the flexibility to enter into longer term contracts if sufficient savings could be found.

It is disappointing that while California’s State government continues to impose regulations on local entities such as HOAs, it also deprives them of tools which would allow them to meet the requirements at a reduced cost.

The California Association of Community Managers (CACM) and the California Association of Realtors (CAR) both supported the bill. The Executive Council of Homeowners (ECHO) was neutral.

California Bill Which Would Void CC&Rs Gathers Steam

Assembly Bill 1061 bill sailed through its first test Tuesday with unanimous approval from the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee. Under the bill, homeowner association rules would be “void and unenforceable” if they restrict compliance with local landscaping ordinances or conservation measures.

low-water-landscapeAssembly Bill 1061 bill sailed through its first test Tuesday with unanimous approval from the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee. Under the bill (previously covered here), homeowner association rules would be “void and unenforceable” if they restrict compliance with local landscaping ordinances or conservation measures.

While the goals of the bill may be admirable, it is written so broadly it could disrupt homeowner groups’ authority to review an individual homeowner’s landscaping plans that spell out the type, number and placement of plants.

Many people chose to live in developments with association rules because they like the appearance of common landscaping, architectural design and colors.  While the state may have an interest in conservation, it is hoped that the legislature will amend the bill to need to protect the interests of homeowners who purchase in a common interest development because they like the fact that the uniform rules help preserve property values, and improve the general appearance of a community.

I still suspect that the bill is largely unnecessary and disputes over the installation of drought tolerant plants are rare.  I would love to hear if anyone has been involved or is aware of such disputes within their association.