From what I gathered in the article, they didn't tear out their grass to be "environmentally friendly" hippies, it sounds like that was just the overall excuse when really, they just can't afford to throw money at paying to water it. I am sure that if they stopped watering it the city would have had the same reaction to their brown grass. I don't buy the "I wouldn't want to live next to that" excuse since the article stated they erected a fence and planted plenty of plants, it's just that the city treats grass as plants and thus, easily cover the 40% requirement to their liking. I am surprised there wasn't some sort of permit required before they could do their landscaping, then I would understand being fined, but jail time for not having grass? Sounds like something for a higher court to decide on if the city council isn't going to hear their case, trust me, I've seen it happen.