Tuesday, May 22, 2012

City of Aurora Offers Xeriscape Landscaping Programs To HOA Homeowners

Have you been looking at your newly-turned-on sprinklers and seeing dollar bills spraying out of them? Did you get a notice from the HOA for a dry lawn, during a drought? We’ve got some good news for you! The City of Aurora is sponsoring a program that offers financial incentives to Aurora residents who commit to Xeriscape landscaping. The program – aimed at incentivizing its residents to conserve water – will provide rebates of up to $1.00 per square foot for turf grass that is replaced with low-water-use plant material. Aurora has $250,000 per year allocated to the program and about 25 percent of this year’s budget has already been doled out. Aurora’s water-conservation department also offers 20 classes each year, designed to help inform residents about Xeriscaping in Colorado.
Xeriscape Rebate Programs Provide a Great Opportunity for HOA’s and other Property Owners
by Matt Corrion
This $400,000 project entailed correcting some serious drainage problems and replacing outdated high water-use landscaping with new low water-use landscaping as part of Aurora’s Xeriscape Rebate Program.  Outdoor Design Group worked with the HOA to design the improvements, submit plans to the City for approval, and apply for the Xeriscape rebate.  We then worked with the general contractor in the field on the re-grading of large areas, piping of downspouts, and the creation of drainage swales.  Finally, we provided bid procurement services for installation of the approved landscape and irrigation design, and worked closely in the field with the selected landscape contractor to complete the project. Through careful planning, design, and coordination, we were able to obtain the maximum possible Xeriscape rebate for the HOA while reducing the water-use and associated costs by over 60%.  The maintenance costs for the landscaping are expected to be reduced by 20-40% with the new low-maintenance approach.

Upcoming Classes 

Learn about water conservation, Xeriscape and how registered Aurora Homeowners Associations can apply for up to $5,000 in matching Xeriscape grants at the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Roundtable Jan. 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Aurora Municipal Center. Funded through the Aurora Water Department, the Xericape HOA grant program is offering a total of $20,000, with a maximun of $5,000 each, to registered neighborhood groups to help promote the use of waterwise landscaping. Homeowners associations must be registered with the City of Aurora and are required to attend the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Roundtable to apply for a grant. Following the Introductory roundtable meeting, interested applicants must attend a two-session class on Xeriscape planning and design. 

The state has taken some lead with landscaping requirements – specifically not prohibiting xeriscape options. The state has established guidelines for public project landscaping to promote water efficiency and conservation through C.R.S. 37-96-101 et. seq.  Covenants for homeowners associations that restrict or prohibit xeriscape options are also not enforceable per C.R.S. 37-60-126. And model ordinances for landscaping, like those provided by DOLA (Water Efficient Landscape Design Model Ordinance; WaterWise Landscaping Best Practices Manual: A Companion to the Landscape Design Ordinance), can assist local governments in adopting local regulations promoting water conserving landscapes.   

This article is not intended to be specific legal advice. It only provides general legal information. You should consult a licensed attorney if you have a legal issue.

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