Homeowner in turf battle with City of Toronto to keep her pristine lawn
A Scarborough homeowner is in a turf battle with the City of Toronto over her picture-perfect lawn.
After years of struggling to maintain a trim and neat front yard, Sangeeta Gounder said she decided to have artificial grass put in.
“We had a lot of trouble keeping our lawn green and weed free. It was just a lot of work to keep it up to the standard we wanted it," said Gounder.
The artificial turf was professionally installed three years ago with proper drainage. Gounder says her lawn always looks great and there is little maintenance.
“We love our turf and some people that walk by take their shoes off and kind of poke at it and look at it. We get compliments that it looks great and clean.”
Gounder received a beautiful front yard award from the City of Toronto last year, which is why she was shocked to get a knock on her door from a bylaw officer.
After a neighbour complained, she received a notice of violation, which said that “a minimum of 75 per cent of the front yard must be soft landscaping” and that she must “remove the artificial grass from the front yard forthwith. Artificial grass is prohibited in front yards.”
Gounder told CTV News Toronto that it cost thousands of dollars to install the artificial turf and it would also be expensive to have it removed.
“If we have to remove it and put grass back it will cost thousands of dollars. We are quite concerned and would like to keep it.”
The bylaw is designed to prevent people from paving their front yards to park cars, but the city says artificial turf also creates problems.
A city of Toronto spokesperson told CTV News Toronto that “natural surfaces are important.”
“They help cool the air, absorb rainwater and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,” the spokesperson said.
Gounder said that other lawns in her neighborhood are not kept up and she feels bylaw officers should concentrate on them instead.
“We should be focusing on that (lawns that are not kept up) not on turf that looks like grass. I would like to keep it because I really do enjoy it."
Gounder said she plans to take her case before the city’s committee of adjustment to see if she can keep the artificial grass. It will cost her about $1,700 just to have the case heard and there is no guarantee she will win.