Trying to limit St. Augustine in Florida.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by williams lcm, Dec 4, 2009.

  1. williams lcm

    williams lcm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,020

    Many county's are passing new laws stating your property can not have more than 60% of the yard covered with grass. They want drought tolerant landscaping to conserve water. Many new development will only put in bahia or zoyia grass instead of St.Augustine. Some county's in Fla have have watering once a week Nov to March.Its getting crazy. In years down the road you won't need as many lco's. Won't be grass to cut.
     
  2. BearWise Landscapers

    BearWise Landscapers LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 456

    I have heard a lot about this. Does anybody have a copy of the exact wording of the laws that have been passed?
     
  3. williams lcm

    williams lcm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,020

    'Green' yards get a break: Florida offers protection


    Article Courtesy of The Orlando Sentinel

    By Kevin Spear

    July 8, 2009

    When state Sen. Carey Baker proposed a law encouraging Florida homeowners to get rid of thirsty grass, he had Dorothy Bombera in mind. The Venice retiree has steadily ripped out her lawn, making room for daisies, perennial peanuts, palms and other drought-resistant plants.

    But not all of her neighbors found the new scenery attractive, and her homeowners association threatened to fine Bombera if she didn't re-create the old, conventional yard.

    Last week, Baker's legislation was signed into law by Gov. Charlie Crist, and Bombera is now off the hook."They were up to a $480 fine," Bombera said of the homeowners association. "I think that passing this was the most wonderful thing."

    Amid mounting anxiety about Florida's shrinking supply of water, residential yards — especially those featuring St. Augustine grass — are getting a lot of the blame. Water authorities calculate that, on average, about half of the approximately 150 gallons used every day by a typical Florida resident goes to keeping the yard green.

    Those water authorities have increasingly resorted to restricting the days and hours during which homeowners are allowed to turn on their lawn sprinklers.

    Another strategy is to encourage homeowners to adopt landscapes that thrive on nature's irrigation: rain. Getting in the way of that solution are homeowners associations that require residents' yards to feature fence-to-fence grass.

    "That has been a problem," said Baker, a Republican from Eustis. "Homeowner associations have demanded picture-perfect lawns that frequently are environmentally unfriendly."

    His legislation calls for "Florida-friendly landscaping," which speaks to both the type of plants and their care. In general, that means going easy on irrigation, light on chemicals and heavy on mulch.

    The prime keeper of wisdom on what qualifies as Florida-friendly landscaping is the state's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The agency offers much guidance on the concept through its county offices and its Web site.

    "It doesn't matter so much what it looks like," IFAS horticulture specialist Sidney Park Brown said of the Florida-friendly yard. "It's more important how it's maintained."

    Carey's landscaping provision became part of a controversial water-management bill that, with Crist's signature, also restricts public access to government decisions on permits for water consumption and wetlands destruction.

    Eco-activists are split
    The Florida Native Plant Society initially supported the Florida-friendly landscape legislation but then changed its stance after the provision was attached to the bigger, and widely opposed, water bill.

    "We feel that Florida-friendly provision is tainted because of the ecological damage that will come from the rest of the law," said the group's executive director, Karina Veaudry of Orlando.

    Still, Veaudry expects to see sweeping change in landscape preferences among Florida homeowners worried about water shortages, pesticides and diminishing habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife.

    "We've been waiting for years for this kind of law to give people the freedom to plant landscapes that aren't so thirsty," she said. "We think we are going to see an explosion of change."

    Legal permission to plant a Florida-friendly landscape in a grass-preferred subdivision isn't entirely new. Previous laws allow homeowners to ignore association rules established in the past seven years.

    That's how Catherine Stoccardo and her husband were to able gradually clear away the grass at their Hampton Park home near downtown Orlando. Stoccardo was put on notice at one point that her yard needed tamer trees and a better lawn.

    She put the matter to rest with a quick reminder of the law protecting certain Florida-friendly landscapes.

    Today, she tends everything from saw palmetto to wild coffee, along with small rose and vegetable gardens.

    One payoff: "We really don't have to fertilize at all," she said.
    More rules coming?
    The new Florida-friendly landscape provision applies to all residential yards. It also orders cities and counties to accommodate eco-conscious efforts by local homeowners.

    Next up is a proposal that would require new homes to come with environmentally kinder yards.

    The St. Johns River Water Management District, which takes in much of Central Florida, is drafting a provision that would require residential developers to finish new homes with Florida-friendly landscapes.

    Such a measure isn't expected to ban grass; instead, it would likely require carving out much more space for less-thirsty greenery.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    SEE: Florida-Friendly Landscaping




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  4. williams lcm

    williams lcm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,020

    County Commission approves stricter landscaping guidelines
    LARRY ELL

    Staff Writer

    TAVARES -- Water conservation will play a greater role when it comes to future development in Lake County and will manifest itself in stricter landscaping regulations.

    At Tuesday's regular meeting of the Lake County Commission, the board held a final public hearing before approving a new ordinance designed to make more efficient use of foliage and landscape design.

    Most of those who addressed the issue spoke out against the tougher guidelines because of concerns over job growth or limitations on personal freedom.

    "We all know that we've got over 12 percent unemployment in Lake County," said George Hansford, president of the Homebuilders Association of Lake County. "What we need to be doing is creating jobs, not hindering jobs. Any ordinance that you pass that puts a burden on the cost of doing business is just another job that we're not creating."

    "You forget what's important and one of the things that's important in this country is trusting the individual citizen to do what's right for them, their family and their community," Linda Nagle of Eustis said. "I think this landscape ordinance is over the edge. It may have good intentions, but it's dictating what people can do on their own property, with their own money."

    For the most part, the ordinance will apply to new residential and commercial developments, but some existing structures will be impacted. Homeowners with nonconforming landscaping will have to move into compliance only if they increase the floor area of their structure or parking area by 50 percent or more. New construction, however, will have to carefully adhere to requirements for drought-tolerant grass, low water use plants, numbers and varieties of canopy and ornamental trees, a diversity of native species and use of organic mulch.

    "Is this as strict as I would have liked? No, but I think this is a good compromise," Commissioner Elaine Renick said.

    The ordinance has been subject to numerous discussions and revisions over the past year, but the final product was finally passed with a 4-1 vote. Commissioner Jennifer Hill was the only dissenter.

    "This ordinance started as a guideline and it's grown into an onerous document with rules and penalties," Hill said. "And it's confusing to the homeowner."

    However, her fellow commissioners felt that the ordinance made sense and the county needed to do something to address water use limitations in the present while planning for the possibility of even greater concerns in the future, when more development and its accompanying landscaping will further tax a resource already under stress.

    "The number one use of water is irrigation, so it's almost negligent if you don't do anything," Commissioner Jimmy Conner said. "There is no perfect balance, but this is as close as we're gonna get. We just can't pretend there is not a water shortage, because there is."
     
  5. BearWise Landscapers

    BearWise Landscapers LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 456

    I have been looking through the Florida Statutes and it appears that chapter 373 deals with the Water Resources and has a section for the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Ordinances. Here is an excerpt from 373.185 of the Florida Statutes:

    373.185 Local Florida-friendly landscaping ordinances.

    (1) As used in this section, the term:

    (a) "Local government" means any county or municipality of the state.

    (b) "Florida-friendly landscaping" means quality landscapes that conserve water, protect the environment, are adaptable to local conditions, and are drought tolerant. The principles of such landscaping include planting the right plant in the right place, efficient watering, appropriate fertilization, mulching, attraction of wildlife, responsible management of yard pests, recycling yard waste, reduction of stormwater runoff, and waterfront protection. Additional components include practices such as landscape planning and design, soil analysis, the appropriate use of solid waste compost, minimizing the use of irrigation, and proper maintenance.

    (2) Each water management district shall design and implement an incentive program to encourage all local governments within its district to adopt new ordinances or amend existing ordinances to require Florida-friendly landscaping for development permitted after the effective date of the new ordinance or amendment. Each district shall assist the local governments within its jurisdiction by providing a model Florida-friendly landscaping ordinance and other technical assistance. Each district may develop its own model or use a model contained in the "Florida-Friendly Landscape Guidance Models for Ordinances, Covenants, and Restrictions" manual developed by the department. To qualify for a district's incentive program, a local government ordinance or amendment must include, at a minimum:

    (a) Landscape design, installation, and maintenance standards that result in water conservation and water quality protection or restoration. Such standards must address the use of plant groupings, soil analysis including the promotion of the use of solid waste compost, efficient irrigation systems, and other water-conserving practices.

    (b) Identification of prohibited invasive exotic plant species consistent with s. 581.091.

    (c) Identification of controlled plant species, accompanied by the conditions under which such plants may be used.

    (d) A provision specifying the maximum percentage of irrigated turf and impervious surfaces allowed in a Florida-friendly landscaped area and addressing the practical selection and installation of turf.

    (e) Specific standards for land clearing and requirements for the preservation of existing native vegetation.

    (f) A monitoring program for ordinance implementation and compliance.

    (3) Each water management district shall also work with the department, local governments, county extension agents or offices, nursery and landscape industry groups, and other interested stakeholders to promote, through educational programs, publications, and other district activities authorized under this chapter, the use of Florida-friendly landscaping practices, including the use of solid waste compost, in residential and commercial development. In conducting these activities, each district shall use the materials developed by the department, the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida, and the Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program, including, but not limited to, the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program for homeowners, the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Builder Developer Program for developers, and the Green Industries Best Management Practices Program for landscaping professionals. Each district may develop supplemental materials as appropriate to address the physical and natural characteristics of the district. The districts shall coordinate with the department and the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida if revisions to the educational materials are needed.

    (a) The Legislature finds that the use of Florida-friendly landscaping and other water use and pollution prevention measures to conserve or protect the state's water resources serves a compelling public interest and that the participation of homeowners' associations and local governments is essential to the state's efforts in water conservation and water quality protection and restoration.

    (b) A deed restriction or covenant may not prohibit or be enforced so as to prohibit any property owner from implementing Florida-friendly landscaping on his or her land or create any requirement or limitation in conflict with any provision of part II of this chapter or a water shortage order, other order, consumptive use permit, or rule adopted or issued pursuant to part II of this chapter.

    (c) A local government ordinance may not prohibit or be enforced so as to prohibit any property owner from implementing Florida-friendly landscaping on his or her land.

    (4) This section does not limit the authority of the department or the water management districts to require Florida-friendly landscaping ordinances or practices as a condition of any permit issued under this chapter. ​

    The next section continues with the following:

    373.187 Water management district implementation of Florida-friendly landscaping.

    Each water management district shall use Florida-friendly landscaping, as defined in s. 373.185, on public property associated with buildings and facilities owned by the district and constructed after June 30, 2009. Each district shall also develop a 5-year program for phasing in the use of Florida-friendly landscaping on public property associated with buildings or facilities owned by the district and constructed before July 1, 2009. ​
     
  6. unkownfl

    unkownfl LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,838

    This is so much bull. How can we run out of water when we are surround by it on three sides. I know it is more costly to turn sea water into potable water, but thats just the price we need to pay. It doesn't matter how much people conserve if we have millions of people in this state, and 75% or whatever the figure is of the human body is water whats that equal. If Florida constantly projects growth year after year that is a lot of water. Now if we throw in the affect of 50% of the homes have pools we are talking about a lot of water that will never go back into the aquifer. All of this could be avoided if we just use sea water and then there is virtually no ill effect on the aquifer at all. by doing this eventually the aquifer will go back to what it was 200 years ago and people will complain about their houses being under water lol.
     
  7. zturncutter

    zturncutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,308

    This change in the law is not all bad, we just have to adapt our business. I have one account that is 80% Xeriscape, lots of palmettos etc. It is one of my best accounts, it takes more time to maintain landscape beds than lawn areas and I charge for it, yearly contract.
     
  8. unkownfl

    unkownfl LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,838

    Yes but its sucks because a lot of people are switching to Bahia, Bermuda, and Zoysia. Two of them take reel mowers and have you looked at how much one of those cost and how big they are.
     
  9. CkLandscapingOrlando

    CkLandscapingOrlando LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 652

    I mow all the above turfs with a rotary with zero issue. Now we need strong regulation across the board. The fact is the kissimee river basen was at one point the start of the everglades. We closed all that up for usable land and really did a number on the eco system. The non point source polution travels from north of Orlando all the way to the keys' Every year we loose coral reef from mass amount of nit and phos which has also caused severe algea blooms in many of our lakes. We've lost native orchads that may vary well have been the only of it's kind. Invasives like the brazilian pepper have recked havoc on our plant life in native and landscape settings. Same is true for many types of pernials such as non native lantana. Fert companies just dump it no matter i rain is coming or not. Knowing full well that the app will wash into the sewwer. Landscapers blow clippings into the drains which is the same as dumping fert in.

    The list goes on and on. Theres money to be made here. Whats needed is education in plants and how to properly maintain them. Drip lines. Re-landscapes. Proper culture. So on and so forth.

    The fualt here is with homeowners and landscapers. We refuse to educate ourselves. We use the wrong plants for the wrong place. We fert when we dont need to. We cut to low or dull blades. We water way more than we need to.
     
  10. williams lcm

    williams lcm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,020

    Bahia pretty much goes dormant in the winter (Mid October to April). Might have to mow once every six to eight weeks or so. Now with watering St.Augustine once a week it really only needs to be cut once every three weeks in the winter. Usually this mowing every three weeks did not start until Feb when it is real cold. With the new development of slow growing turf and synthetic customers will no longer need a LCO during the winter months. It is hard now a days to get a yearly contract for Bahia. It just does not grow much six months out of the year. St. augustine might be a thing of the past in the next 10 years or so. Replaced by slow growing drought tolerant plants that might need to be trimmed every couple months or so. St. Augustine means job security. With out it it will be a much smaller group of LCO's trying to make a living. All new developments want Bahia or Zoyia. Even city's are taking out St.Augustine in the median and replacing with cheap grass.
     

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