LODI (CBS13) – The grass is gone and only dirt and a few trees remain.

But the well kept, mostly dirt, front yard is at the center of a debate that could change the rules of what your front yard must look like if you live in Lodi.

“What I want to do is stay away from is just pure dirt or a few rocks in with dirt,” said next door neighbor Gary Greider.

Greider says once water meters went in his neighbor ripped out his front lawn because he feared a sky-high water bill.

However, the simply soil landscape isn’t just an eyesore for Greider and his family.

“When he rakes there is dust and I’m constantly washing my cars. My house gets dirty, I have to spray that down,” said Greider. “Because of the dust, I noticed my wife coughing a lot more these days.”

City leaders hope people on this block hold off on making extreme decisions. That’s because before the new meters go live, customers get a preview of what rates will be, based on consumption.

“[The preview is] to kind of remove some of that fear that exists out there and I believe this one property is an example of where he feared for the worst and pulled the grass out,” said Joseph Wood, City of Lodi employee.

A special committee is working to find middle ground and avoid extremes.

“As far as someone completely going to dirt front yards and, the other extreme, somebody having complete concrete or paved front yard,” said Wood.

But not everyone on the block is concerned about the dirt yard.

Mike Szkodzinski changed his landscape to reduce his water bill and is sympathetic to his neighbor’s position.

“I’m fine with that. Those are fruit trees, he keeps it well maintained,” said Szkodzinski.


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