Yesterday, Senator Morgan Carroll introduced Senate Bill 13-183 ("SB 183") to amend current law as it relates to HOAs requiring homeowners to install turf grass on any portion of property they own or are responsible for. The bill is intended to promote the utilization of xeriscaping as a response to the drought conditions we are continuing to experience in Colorado while providing HOAs with the authority to regulate the types of drought tolerant plantings and hardscapes which may be installed by owners.
As initially introduced, the bill provides as follows:
1. HOAs cannot require the installation of turf grass on any portion of a landscape. Turf grass is defined as "continuous plant coverage consisting of nonnative grasses, or grasses that have not been hybridized for arid conditions which, when regularly mowed, form a dense growth of leaf blades and roots."
2. The ability of HOAs to create and enforce aesthetic and design guidelines is clarified and provides that assocations may adopt and enforce design or aesthetic guidelines: ". . . that require drought-tolerant vegetative landscapes or regulate the type, number, and placement of drought-tolerant plantings and hardscapes that may be installed on the unit owner’s property or property for which the unit owner is responsible.
3. HOAs cannot take enforcement action against owners who reduce the watering of their landscapes to comply with water use restrictions. However, associations are permitted to require owners to water to the maximum level permitted under any applicable water restriction.
If this bill is ultimately signed into law, it would not impact landscapes which have already been installed in compliance with association requirements. Instead, it would only impact the installation of new landscapes or the requested replacement or redesign of existing landscapes which take place after the bill is signed into law.
As always, keep your eye on this blog for important updates on SB 183 as it proceeds through the legislative process.