On Wednesday, October 13, the Planning, Zoning and Adjustment Committee of Wellington discussed the use of artificial turf instead of grass in commercial and residential areas where the grass does not seem to be growing well.
Senior planner Damian Newell said that the village is increasingly requesting the use of artificial turf and provided information on the pros and cons of its use.
Newell said that current regulations restrict the installation of artificial turf to government use, but the use of artificial turf in residential land and commercial centers in the village has increased. On September 28, the Wellington Village Council approved an ongoing zoning to suspend processing applications for the installation of artificial turf for 180 days to allow time for research and drafting of regulations to implement regulations.
Newell said the new artificial turf is less worn and less toxic than the previous version, and looks more like natural grass. Newer turf is also more durable, especially in areas where natural grass is prone to wear.
The disadvantage is that artificial turf does increase the temperature in the area of use. "Compared to natural grass, it shows a 40 degree Fahrenheit higher," Newell said.
Artificial turf can also increase rainwater runoff, thereby increasing the likelihood of flooding.
"Much of it has to do with how it is installed," Newell said. "It also has some water quality problems. It is made of synthetic materials and will release some toxic elements, especially when it is in the sun."
He said that there are no benefits of the ecosystem, and the ability to retain water, replenish water, oxygen production and wildlife benefits has been lost.
"It will not do them any good," Newell said, adding that potential users should pay attention to the latest generation of artificial turf, which produces fewer toxins. There may be odors, especially for houses with animals, which require regular maintenance.
He said that because it is considered a hard surface, additional noise may be generated in the space. He added that the ordinance is mainly designed for zero-ground houses with small backyards and side spaces, where grass may be Won't grow well.
The data package prepared by the village staff is recommended to be restricted to residential and commercial real estate. Allowed residential uses will only be used in the backyard and side yard, and not in the front yard or areas visible from the road. It will also be allowed to be used in residential playgrounds and public areas. There is also a regulation that requires tree canopy landscaping in open areas to reduce sunlight on artificial turf.
"For commercial areas, it is generally not allowed to use in landscape buffer zones or areas visible from the right of way," Newell said. "We are working hard to find the best option."
Adam Rabin, a member of the PZA board of directors, asked whether the ordinance applies to communities governed by homeowners' associations. Planning and zoning manager Cori Lyn Cramer said it will apply, but HOA can establish more stringent uses, but not less than the village order.
Rabin also asked whether other cities allow the use of artificial turf.
Newell said West Palm Beach considered a proposed ordinance and rejected it, adding that there are other places with different restrictions based on material and location. The staff also gave feedback on the use of artificial turf, and did not receive too many negative comments.
"The main problem is if the installation is not correct, or the materials they use can't last for a long time," he said.
Rabin asked if there would be a building inspection during installation. Newell said that some applications require pre-inspection of drainage and installation.
PZA board member Jeffrey Robbert asked the staff if they had seen the supplier. Newell said that according to local standards, the fourth-generation product is the best, and added that it needs an American manufacturer and warranty person. Cramer added that suppliers must provide information about the ingredients of their products and employees have set standards that can be enforced.
Maureen Martinez, a board member of PZA, asked how the proposed ordinance came about. The staff explained that a local shopping mall used artificial turf in some of its open areas. Subsequently, the implementation was suspended before the policy was formulated.
The meeting did not make a decision because the discussion was conducted in the form of a seminar, but some board members expressed that they liked the concept. It will return to the board of directors on Wednesday, November 10th for advice.
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