In an effort to save money and water, the Half Moon Bay City Council will hold a special study session tonight on the topic of replacing a portion of its lawns with drought-tolerant plants, mulch, gravel pathways and hardscapes such as decomposed granite.
According to the city, installing such lawn alternatives can save over $12,000 a year by reducing costs on water delivery, water usage and maintenance. Currently, the city spends about $16,000 for water charges at city parks alone and estimates that these costs can be cut in half by installing drought-tolerant plants or hardscapes in place of lawns.
These actions would also cut back on pesticide use and the release of such chemicals to the water table, the city says.
Staff is asking councilmembers to consider their suggestions as candidates for lawn reduction and replacement at the locations listed below. Suggestions submitted in a city staff report by Larry Carnahan, Public Works Superintendent, are in quotes.
- - "Turf area is underutilized and can be removed and replaced with decomposed granite. We may also enhance this area with some additional low-water use plants."
- - "The grass area covers approximately 11,500 sq. feet. Approximately 95% of the turf is proposed for removal. Some of the grass would be replaced with picnic tables, barbeques and decomposed granite. This park would be the largest area of reduction."
- - "Has a small turf area that is underutilized and could be removed and replaced by expanding the playground area and adding drought-tolerant plants and perhaps adding a third picnic table." Carnahan also recommends increasing the playground area as a way to terrace the area which he says would enable the city to confirm to new discharge permit standards mandating that rain and runoff water be contained on city property.
- - "A portion of the turf area could be removed and replaced with additional picnic tables, barbeques and decomposed granite. This would allow more people to utilize the area for picnics and family gatherings. With the additional facilities, the park would be more usable and not as full or crowded."
- Lawn at the - "Totally passive and its main purpose is for aesthetics. All the existing turf can be removed and be replaced with gravel pathways, low maintenance and drought-tolerant plants and mulch. This area can be developed into a small park-like area with seating and tables which we believe would enhance or encourage public use."
The city says it could offset some of the initial costs to remove and replace the lawns with the "Lawn Be Gone" rebate program offered by the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency. The program runs through June 2012 and offers a maximum of 50 cents per square foot and $3,000 in materials towards replacing a lawn with drought-tolerant plants.
To read the city staff report, click on the PDF document in the media box to the right.
The study session will be held tonight at 6:15 p.m. at the Ted Adcock Senior/Community Center (535 Kelly Ave.).