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St. Pete business finds themselves in turf war with the city

ABC Action News WFTS
ABC Action News WFTS
 2021-10-25
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An artificial turf company is finding themselves in a turf war themselves with the City of St. Petersburg.

Chris Lee began his business, Durable Lawn about five years ago. He said at the time he never had an issue laying turf at residential homes. He said it was about three years into the business he began to get pushback from city leaders.

"It has been a big headache for us. Yeah, big headache. We have had a lot of issues here," Lee said.

The most recent headache is at Hope Lane's home.

She traded in her condo in Washington D.C. for a picturesque home in St. Pete.

In fact, she bought the house sight unseen in part because of the perfectly designed front yard.

Her home is now costing her.

According to the city of St. Pete artificial turf is considered an impermeable material which means liquid can't drain through.

"We had two other cases that we had issues like this," Lee said. "I really don't know what the reason is. I mean, the grass looks beautiful when we put it down. You don't have to worry about watering or mowing it or fertilizing again. It helps with the water conservation."

Elizabeth Abernethy with the city of St. Pete said it has to do with storm water drainage.

"What the code says is that at least 45% of your front yard or 25% of your corner yard if you're on a corner lot needs to be permeable landscaped vegetative green space,"Abernethy said.

According to Abernethy businesses and residential homes have different rules when it comes to the turf.

She said businesses often have drainage systems that residential properties don't that help with storm water.

"Our process right now is no different than a paver or any other sort of landscaping product so if you can have a paver driveway that is considered pervious allowing water to pass through it and we have the same sub-straight as they do why are we being penalized," Matthew Bader said.

Bader is helping Lee in the battle.

They have gone before the city and have been denied in their request to allow the turf at Hope's home.

They both say they will continue their fight.

For more information about city zoning and rules regarding artificial turf contact Jennifer Bryla at jennifer.bryla@stpete.org.

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