Is there a war brewing over artificial grass in Salt Lake City?

Apr 4, 2024, 1:00 PM

Patricia Council's North Las Vegas yard after her grass was replaced with artificial turf, on Frida...

Patricia Council's North Las Vegas yard after her grass was replaced with artificial turf, on Friday Sept. 30, 2022.

SALT LAKE CITY — Some people in Salt Lake City are being asked to pull out their artificial grass, and they are not happy about it.

Troy Vialpando has had artificial grass for about nine years, and he spent about $2,200 installing it because he has the supplies already. However, not all his neighbors are so lucky.

“The gal over here did her front yard. It cost her $12,000,” Vialpando said. “She used her whole 401K. It’s sad.”

Now, city civil enforcement officers are asking them both to rip it out by April 25. Vialpando says they told him that if he didn’t comply, he would face a $5,000-$7,000 fine on that day, and a $25 fine a day for every day after that if he does not get his yard up to code.

City zoning laws dictate that turf is not supposed to cover more than 35% of the area that should be covered by vegetation.

While Salt Lake City’s Public Utilities Department has nothing to do with enforcement, Director Laura Briefer says artificial turf is not recommended because it contains microplastics, and chemicals like PFAS, which are known as forever chemicals.

“During runoff, for instance, in a rain event, the types of man-made materials that are used could add to contamination to our waterways or groundwater,” Briefer said.

Briefer added they have lists and more information on their website that can recommend better drought-resistant landscaping options.

Vialpando claims he still does not understand though, and he feels targeted by the city enforcement officials. He listed several other addresses, including businesses and an apartment complex, with artificial turf that were not being asked to remove their turf.

In response, Vialpando has been talking to neighbors about starting a petition to warn people about what is happening, especially before they make a big investment in installing artificial grass.


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Is there a war brewing over artificial grass in Salt Lake City?