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OC Couple Faces Misdemeanor Charges for Removing Front Lawn

By Kamika Dunlap on March 03, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Removing your front lawn to save water kind of sounds like a good idea, right?

Wrong. It's especially not recommended if you live in Orange California.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Orange officials are locked in a legal battle with a couple accused of violating city ordinances for removing their front lawn in an attempt to save water. City codes require that live landscaping cover 40% of the yard.

Now the couple faces misdemeanor charges for removing their front lawn.

In drought-plagued Southern California Quan and Angelina Ha had hoped not only to save thousands of gallons of water but hundreds of dollars it cost them each year to maintain their front lawn.

The city's lawsuit alleges their residence does not cover significant portions of their front yards with live ground cover.

Taking aesthetics into account, the couple then put wood chips on top of the dirt, built a fence around the yard and planted "drought-tolerant greenery." They even sent a picture of the new yard to the city.

But city officials said it still wasn't enough. They want the Has to come up with a compliance plan.

The couple says the point of replacing their grass with wood chips was to not be wasteful and attempt to save water. Their water use has dropped 80% since they replaced the grass.

Orange officials want them to be compliant and are dragging the couple to court.

"It's just funny that we pay our taxes to the city and the city is now prosecuting us with our own money," Quan Ha said in a Los Angeles Times article. "Doesn't it waste funds to go back and forth in court, rather than sending pictures, e-mails and having phone conversations?"

They recently received a letter from the city informing them they had been charged with misdemeanor code violations and must appear in court.

The maximum penalty, if the Ha family is found guilty of a misdemeanor, is up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.

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