Belmar Lawmaker, Residents Battle Over Artificial Grass

BELMAR, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The battle in brewing in Belmar over artificial grass.

As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, residents say artificial turf is easy to maintain and better for the environment. But some lawmakers do not agree.

“It’s not natural,” said Belmar Councilman Brian Magovern. “It doesn’t give off any oxygen, It doesn’t provide any food for the animals.”

Magovern wants to amend the town’s current rules on lawn maintenance to ban fake turf.

“We really tried to make sure people maintained their front lawn,” he said. “We never thought that down the road that people would be putting down artificial lawns.”

Eleven homes have the faux lawns, including the home of Rick Adase.

“I didn’t want to have to start up the lawnmower; put fertilizer down, water the grass, have it go to weed if I’m vacation,” he said.

Adase said environmentally, it is better. He said it does not pollute the water system with fertilizer or pesticides, and there is no need for a sprinkler system that wastes water.

“A lot of people think that this artificial turf promotes runoff, but it doesn’t,” Adase said. “It’s very permeable.”

What do others on the boardwalk think?

“If it, you know, it holds up nice compared to grass, I guess it’s up to the person that lives there,” said George Blake.

“I think it looks tacky, because, you know, people take pride in taking care of their grass,” said a resident named Joe. “It definitely adds like a better feel at the Jersey Shore when you see like a lot of real nature.”

Tom McGill said he may give it a try, but he wants to see how it holds up over time from his neighbors.

“If you have turf down on a small piece of lawn like that, I think it actually looks better than some of the people who don’t take care of their grass,” McGill said.

Councilman Magovern also points out that space between the sidewalk and the street is considered an easement and is not officially the homeowner’s property.

The residents who have the fake grass do said they paid a lot of money for the product and do not want to tear it out.

The Belmar Town Council will hold open discussions and then vote on the whether to amend the front lawn ordinance or not.

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