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Turf war between elderly Toronto man and city over fake grass rages on

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The city is refusing to back down from a court battle with an elderly man over artificial grass.

“I think the city is bullying me. I think it's not fair,” homeowner Frank Leone told CTV News Toronto on Tuesday.

An image of Frank Leone, and the artificial turf that he used for his front lawn. (CTV News Toronto)Leone said he installed synthetic grass on his North York lawn months ago because he is in his 80s, has suffered a stroke, and has limited mobility.

While there is no specific bylaw pertaining to fake grass, artificial turf is not listed as an approved material for soft landscaping.

To approach the issue within the bounds of the law, Leone said he had a bylaw officer inspect his grass last October, which led to an approval for his synthetic grass.

But just a month later, a city building inspector had a different take on the lawn after a neighbour complained about the landscaping.

The inspector said water could not pass through the fake grass, which led to Leone charged with a failure to comply with an order.

“He's the one being dragged into court and he has a disability. Because the city can't agree with itself,” former city councillor Karen Stintz said.

She pointed out that Leone even has written approval for the grass from a bylaw officer – proof she thought would put an end to the saga.

But Stintz said the city is not backing down.

“I cannot believe that this is the approach they are taking with an elderly man who wants to live in his house, in peace,” she said.

The next step is the city is taking the matter to trial, which means Leone will have to travel to court at least two more times this month, and then again in May.

“This is ridiculous,” he said. 

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