LOCAL NEWS

Lehi man ordered to rip out his new xeriscape landscaping by his HOA

May 26, 2022, 8:25 PM | Updated: May 27, 2022, 11:16 am

LEHI, UTAH — As he was building a new home in Lehi, Jared Hadley was eager to heed the calls to put in landscaping that uses little or no water.“We saw it as an opportunity to be like, hey, we could really make a difference in the environment,” he said.Hadley installed landscaping consisting of a few water-wise plants surrounded by river rocks and decorative gravel.

“It looks beautiful,” he said.

Jared Hadley with Matt Gephardt

It’s the sort of landscaping that has the hearty support of everyone from water scientists and Utah politicos.

But you know who doesn’t like it? Hadley’s homeowner’s association.An email from his HOA, Holbrook Farms, states that he’s likely going to have to tear out the gravel parts to put in something of which they approve like “mulch, river rock, or sod.”

Hadley says he protested, pointing out that gravel is the better option.

“There’s not chemicals like mulch. It’s not sod, where we’re having to water it,” he said.

By email, an HOA representative told Hadley should have submitted an application and site plan before doing the work. He was instructed to submit the documents for the already completed work but admonished that if the HOA doesn’t sign off, and the representative is “confident” they won’t, Hadley will have to fix it to their liking or face fines.

And indeed, Thursday, Hadley got word that his landscaping is not approved and he is being ordered to replace it.

“It just, it’s mind boggling,” he said.An HOA ruling with an iron fist on what an exterior can look like is not unique. In fact, the KSL Investigators have heard from more than a dozen people who live in various HOA’s in Utah saying they want to install xeriscaping or artificial grass to conserve water but are being rebuffed by their associations.

The question is: can they do that?

Here in Utah there is a new law, HB282, which says municipalities and HOA’s cannot have rules that prohibit water wise landscaping.

Sen. Mike McKell, who cosponsored the new legislation, says the bill was inspired by Utah’s dire water situation as well as predicable water issues for decades to come.

“We’re in a drought,” McKell told the KSL Investigators. “We’re also in a state that is growing at a rate that’s just not sustainable without making improvements across the state.”

McKell says he thinks the bill struck an important balance of requiring government agencies and associations to allow people who want to conserve the legal protection to do so without banning cities and associations from making sure their communities keep their aesthetics.

He says the point of the law is to, “make sure that if somebody’s got a good plan that includes xeriscaping, let’s make sure that they can do that.”

Back to Hadley, can Holbrook Farms force him to remove the water-wise-gravel or other xeriscaping his already installed. The association certainly thinks so.

Holbrook Farms refused to talk about any of this on camera and refused to discuss Hadley’s situation at all.

When asked if they believe their landscaping policies are in line with current Utah law, Holbrook Farms’ community manager Amanda Howell responded by email saying, “yes.”

Holbrook Farms has actively implemented water-wise landscaping techniques into our community’s covenants, conditions and regulations for the last five years,” Howell said in an email. “All homeowners must comply with our existing site plan review process before making any exterior modifications to their home.”

HB282 spells out that HOA’s may force homeowners to comply with site plan submission and review processes.

According to the HOA’s rules, most landscaping material that uses zero water is forbidden from being “substantially” used, including concrete, masonry products, pavers, brick, stone, cobblestone, tile, terrazzo, slabs, slate, rock, pebbles, gravel, wood, woodchips, bark, decking and artificial tur.

Holbrook Farms sent the KSL Investigators a copy of a brochure they gave to Hadley. It depicts water-wise landscape ideas that are approved. Most of the images in the brochure feature grass and other plants, all of which, Hadley points out, require more water than the decorative gravel he’s likely going to be forced to remove.

Asked if he’d do anything differently if he had to do it over again, he said, “I would not purchase a home through an HOA.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

The 6-month-old troublemaker leading first responders on a chase on I-80. (Salt Lake County Animal ...
Michael Houck

Stray dog runs loose at entrance of Parleys Canyon freeway

A stray puppy gave first responders a slow-speed chase on the highway entrance of Parleys Canyon Sunday.
1 day ago
Lava flowing from Mauna Loa Volcano during the night. (KSL-TV's Carissa Hutchinson)...
Shelby Lofton

‘It’s kind of an eerie feeling;’ Utah man living in Hawaii witnesses Mauna Loa eruption

A Utah man has a front-row seat to the Mauna Loa Volcano eruption happening on the Big Island of Hawaii.
1 day ago
Campus View Suites II where 18-year-old Peyton Hall fell to his death Sunday morning. (KSL-TV)...
Michael Houck & Lauren Steinbrecher, KSL-TV

Utah Tech student dead after accidentally falling from balcony

A freshman Utah Tech University student is dead after accidentally falling from a fifth-floor balcony early Sunday morning, according to the university and Utah Tech Police Department.
1 day ago
Three men are facing federal charges for allegedly robbing a postal carrier at gunpoint and taking ...
Brooke Williams

Man arrested after lengthy search, one still wanted

A 22-year-old man was arrested early Sunday after fleeing from a traffic stop.
1 day ago
A West Valley police car. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)...
Brooke Williams

Two dead after crashing into parked truck

Two died in a crash in West Valley.
1 day ago
Keith Jensen's Christmas home lit up by all the festive lights. (KSL-TV)...
Michael Locklear

Millcreek man lights up neighborhood with the face of Santa

Millcreek man is spreading Christmas cheer through tens of thousands of lights all around his home.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Lehi man ordered to rip out his new xeriscape landscaping by his HOA