Hot Topic! Should historic homes participating in the Mills Act be allowed to install synthetic lawns? Do you have a better idea? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Yes. Mills Act requires that structures comply with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards, which states that any changes to the property be reversible. Artifical turf can easily be exchanged for live plants at any time with no loss of integrity to the structure, and therefore I believe it to be compliant. I know many in the preservation world object to the materials on principle. But my high-tech sprinkler system is not "of the period", and nobody objects to that in the least. I think it is a moot point, as homeowners who desire Mills tend to be the more hard-core owners who reject non-period materials, so few will demand it. We do need to develop environmentally friendly power sources and recycled materials that fit within historic preservation guidelines. We all know that the most "green" house in the world is the one already built. Restoring with vintage materials is the ultimate in recycling, but we need to go one more step. I would love to see someone develop solar panels as period appearing roof shingles, etc. We need to get used to it, "saving the planet" is the wave of the future, the trick is to find ways to make it fit with preservation so we all win.