Courtesy of Channel 9 News
May 26, 2015
ORANGE COUNTY -- A west Orange County
community homeowner's attempt to improve some landscaping has led to a
three-year battle with the neighborhood's homeowners association.
The Summerport HOA rules allow for
certain types of grass to be planted as lawns. The bahia
one family put in is not on the list.
But the homeowners believe state law allows them to have
bahia and other water-friendly landscaping.
Karina Veaudrey of the Florida Native Plant Society said
bahia grass is a water-friendly grass, requiring much
less water that St. Augustine, which is the type seen on
most Summerport lawns.
But the HOA rules say lawns should be either St.
Augustine grass or zoysia grass. The HOA is suing the
"They want all the houses to look exactly the same. I
guess they like that movie 'Pleasantville' where everything looks the
same," said Barbara Stage, the attorney
representing the homeowner.
Stage said bahia is considered "Florida-friendly" and contends it is
allowed under Florida law. She pointed out a Florida statute that reads,
in part, "Homeowners'
association documents, including declarations of covenants, articles of
incorporation, or bylaws, may not prohibit or be enforced so as to
prohibit any property owner
from implementing Florida-friendly landscaping."
An attorney from the HOA told Channel 9's Jeff Deal he doesn't dispute
the statute, but he said St. Augustine and zoysia are both considered
The homeowner's attorney said she believes the statute doesn't allow
HOAs to limit the choice of Florida-friendly grasses.