Saturday, July 27, 2013
New law forbids HOAs to ban “xeriscaping”
That means installing native and drought-resistant landscaping.
Good news for homeowners fed up with maintaining lawns and the high water bills that come with it.
If you live in an HOA and couldn’t install a water-friendly landscape because of restrictive covenants, now you can. According to a new law passed by the Texas Legislature, HOAs can no longer forbid homeowners from installing native and drought-resistant landscaping.
The new law, first proposed by state. Sen. Kirk Watson and state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, both Austin Democrats, prevents HOAs from prohibiting xeriscaping, the process of installing drought-resistant landscaping or other native, water-conserving natural turf.
The passed legislation likely will result in many HOAs creating uniform xeriscape standards for the first time. Associations can still require preliminary approval of any xeriscaping plans, but their control is limited and must be “reasonable,” said Gregory S. Cagle, an Austin attorney and author of the book Texas Homeowners Association Law.
This is especially great news for the growing Dallas-Fort Worth metro area and our dwindling water supplies. I’m waiting to hear back from officials from the city of Dallas to find out if this new law affects homeowners in conservation districts such as Burton Knight, who, if you recall, installed a gorgeous native and xeriscaped front yard in Junius Heights only to receive a citation from the city. Apparently, conservation-oriented landscaping is against historic standards for the conservation district. As of our last report, Knight is still trying to find a compromise with City Hall.
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