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Dear Decaturish – Decatur should let residents install artificial turf

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Dear Decaturish – Decatur should let residents install artificial turf

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The city of Decatur installed artificial turf on the courthouse lawn this month. Photo provided by Chris Billingsley


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Dear Decaturish,

Several of “us Decaturites” were hopeful that the installation of artificial turf around the bandstand area of the square might herald a change in the current zoning regulations in the City of Decatur.

Currently, the City considers (for residents, but obviously not the City itself) that artificial turf is 100 percent impervious and is considered the same as installing concrete on your lot. Because current regulations state that no more than 40 percent of a homeowner’s lot can have impervious covering, the majority of us are unable to put in even a small area of artificial turf.

David Junger is quoted in the Decaturish article: “The benefits of installing artificial grass include but are not limited to virtually no maintenance, no watering or mowing, no use of chemicals and fertilizer, optimal drainage, and zero damage from the high traffic environment”.

Note “Optimal drainage”.

I had a 575 square foot patch of artificial turf installed in my backyard in an area that has proven over the last 20 years to be inhospitable to the growth of real grass. I was unaware that the installing company did not get a city permit. I am in the midst of hopefully getting a permit but am very bothered by the fact that our city ordinance still considers artificial turf to be as impervious as concrete, yet this standard does not apply across the board. I may have to remove it if the city demands.

My company has done permeability studies on their particular turf and it is proven to have superior drainage when compared to genuine turf. I am hoping that these archaic rules/laws will soon change. I believe that artificial turf is ecologically superior in every way to living sod and that all of the residents of City of Decatur have a right to place this if they so desire.


Timothy J. McDonald

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