Falcon Heights eyes native landscaping ordinance

By Anne Holzman

The city of Falcon Heights is considering adopting an ordinance that would allow homeowners to implement environmentally friendly practices in their yard maintenance.

The proposed ordinance “aims to allow and encourage residents to replace turfgrass with naturalized plantings that will require less water, reduce stormwater runoff and provide habitat for pollinators,” according to Environment Commission chairman Jim Wassenberg.

The proposal can be viewed online at a “Native Landscaping” link on the city’s main web page. Comments may be sent to Community Development Coordinator Justin Markon.

As the Bugle went to press, the City Council had a hearing scheduled on Jan. 28 on the proposed ordinance. It may vote on the issue at its Feb. 12 meeting. Wassenberg said the commissioners hope to have the new ordinance in place by this spring for the planting season.

“We would also like to have an informational workshop for residents who might want to do some native plantings,” Wassenberg added.

The commission began working on the ordinance about a year ago, after residents inquired about restrictions on what they could plant in their yards. “Some local residents wanted to plant something more than turf grass,” Wassenberg said.

Commissioners worked with Dan Shaw, an ecologist and vegetation specialist at the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, to draft the ordinance. They looked at similar initiatives in Edina, Eden Prairie and Eagan, Wassenberg said, also noting that fellow commissioner Nick Olson, a stormwater engineer, drew up the proposed document.

Anne Holzman is a former St. Anthony Park resident and regular freelance writer for the Bugle.

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