Drought? What drought? Homeowners fined for brown lawns

A homeowners association in Denver has issued hundred of tickets to residents this year for failing to keep up their lawns in the drought.

Tess Vigeland: If you have trouble keeping your lawn green in the summer time, here's an incentive: a $200 dollar ticket. That's what some homeowners in one Denver development are facing for brown patches in their yards. Yes, in the same state that just experienced a rash of massive wildfires.

Colorado Public Radio's Megan Verlee has our story.


Megan Verlee: There's not a lot of green in Colorado this summer. The corn is withering, the pine trees are parched, and in Lori Worthman's yard, whole patches of grass are just refusing to grow.

Lori Worthman: I've put plenty of money into it and now we're throwing water at it. And so when they said, 'You've still got to pay $200, your lawn doesn't look good,' I just thought, you gotta be kidding me.

She's not the only one -- around 500 homeowners in her subdivision got a lawn ticket from the Green Valley Ranch Homeowners Association this summer. But if you think the head of the HOA has no sympathy, you're wrong. Jack Tanner knows it's hard.

Jack Tanner: I mean, in these economic times, it's rough because lawns are not necessarily the cheapest thing in the world to take care of.

But lawn tickets aren't cheap either. Worthman has until next spring to get her grass to grow, but she's got one heavy-hitting ally. The Denver Water utility heard about her ticket and sent out a specialist to help her with the problem.

In Denver, I'm Megan Verlee for Marketplace.

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