Council approves use of artificial turf

Government By David Snelling, Reporter Thursday, March 18, 2021

The Town of Miami Lakes is allowing property owners to replace their natural grass with artificial turf, but only in certain areas.

The second, final vote on a new ordinance was made during the council meeting on March 9.

Prior to the unanimous vote, resident Bonnie Cintron told councilmembers, “I am sad, I am disappointed and I’m angry because I keep hearing that we’re growing beautifully, and then I look around my neighborhood. And I see us getting uglier.”

Cintron described several homes that have put cement slabs in front yards, “turned their entire front yards into parking lots and put AstroTurf around those slabs.

“That’s not supposed to be allowed, but it’s there,” Cintron said. “I don’t know what you’re thinking. This town is being degraded.”

Fake turf will be allowed on side yards that don’t face the street and also in back yards where
it can’t be seen from the street, according to Susana Alonso, the town’s senior planner.

In driveways and other pavement areas, up to two- inch wide strips of artificial turf are permitted in the spaces where concrete slabs do not meet.

Residents complained to councilmembers that the cost of maintaining yards was too expensive and efforts at keeping sod alive were often not successful.

Mayor Manny Cid told The Miami Laker that the fake grass will not contribute to flooding because many of the products are permeable and will allow rain to seep beneath.

“Regulations are built in the ordinance to make sure the materials will not create any environmental problems,” Alonso said.

Councilman Joshua Dieguez said he was “perfectly fine” allowing the installation of artificial turf in driveway spaces or enclosed areas of yards.

But Dieguez said during the meeting he was concerned that homeowners would use it near lakes, “because it will interfere with the aesthetic that we’ve come to know and love and expect in Miami Lakes. ... I still have concerns that people are going to do it anyway.

“What they’re going to hear is artificial turf is approved,” Dieguez said. “How do we properly enforce that so it doesn’t get out of control?”

After his comments, the council prohibited use of artificial turf at waterfront properties.

Cid said after the meeting that anyone who violates the ordinance would be subject to a warning, then a citation and if there was continued non-compliance, there would be a lien, just like with any other code violation.

Fake grass that is already installed and doesn’t comply with the ordinance must be removed, Alonso said.

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