Georgetown nears passage of size restrictions for yards

GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — A growing trend across Austin is about to become law in Georgetown. City Council members want to limit the yard size of any new homes being built within city limits. It’s an idea aimed at keeping the water flowing for a growing population.

“People are looking more toward the native plants,”said Sherri Forbes, a real estate broker with Realty Executive of Austin. She says more buyers want homes with smaller yards and less grass to water. “They’re looking for the sega palms, they’re looking for cactus.”

Council members want to limit the size of a new home’s yard to 10,000 square-feet, or two and a half times the size of the home’s foundation, whichever is smaller.

“Our average use right now is about 218 gallons per person, per day,” said Georgetown utility manager Jim Briggs. “And the target of this initiative is to get to about 160 gallons.”

Briggs wants to reach that water reduction goal by 2030 and says some developers have already started building homes with water conservation in mind.

“What we’re seeing is a trend, not just here in Georgetown, but throughout the Austin metropolitan area,” he said. “To be able to use these same tactics, to be able to continue to have water resources.”

Forbes says homeowners have come to accept the restrictions.

“Those that are second, third, fourth time buyers,” Forbes added, “they’re tired of maintenance and they do want something that’s more manageable.”

The city council is expected to pass the new ordinance in coming weeks. These rules are important because landscaping makes up 60 percent of the average family’s water use.

In Austin, residents can get money back for making their lawns ‘water wise.’

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