Landscaping, Fencing, Walls and Screening
Landscaping, Fencing, Walls and Screening Standards establish requirements for the design, installation, and maintenance of landscapes that:
- Conserve, protect and promote the city's natural environment and high quality of life;
- Contribute ecologically and aesthetically to the prosperity of the city;
- Achieve healthy, attractive, and safe environments based on recognized design and urban forestry principles;
- Expand the tree canopy to reduce the heat island impact and mitigate climate impacts;
- Improve pedestrian comfort;
- Conserve water;
- Integrate stormwater management and minimize polluted water;
- Screen the visibility of less desirable uses and functions;
- Preserve native vegetation and the appropriate use of the native landscape materials; and
- Reduce adverse impacts to wildlife.
These standards can apply to both development and existing parking lots. The zoning code also addresses compliance with existing approvals when required.
General Landscaping Standards
A number of General Landscaping Standards are addressed, including:
- The requirement of a landscape plan;
- Adopted streetscape plans;
- Site area landscaping;
- Landscape material standards including approved and prohibited plant materials, minimum plant sizes, plant species diversity, non-vegetative plant materials, and mulch;
- Water conservation standards including xeriscaping, soil amendment, lawn areas, plant selection and location and efficient irrigation, and water features; and
- Placement and installation of trees including location and spacing, curbing to protect trees, avoiding interference with utilities, berms, clear areas, irrigation, and installation.
Street Frontage Landscaping
Street frontage landscaping is required to be installed between the curb and inside of sidewalk, and each street-facing façade or parking lot of a primary multi-family, mixed-use and nonresidential building. These frontage landscaping requirements do not apply in MX-1, MX-2, MX-3, MX-4, or MX-5 districts where a landscape buffer would prevent the proposed building from being placed within the allowed front or street side setbacks. The standards address size, location and street trees.
Site Perimeter Buffers
These standards address creating a buffer between the primary property and the adjacent streets using landscaping strategically to support ecological and aesthetic goals while creating a safe distance between the vehicles, the property and people. These standards address:
- Arterial and collector street buffering including frontage roads, and side and rear perimeters;
- Other side and rear perimeter buffers including size and location, paring lot and vehicular use area buffers, and lot buffers between different land uses; and
- Standard buffer types, and required landscape separators and buffers; and
- Additional standards.
Parking Lot Interior Landscaping
Any parking lot with 10 or more spaces, including vehicle sales lots, require landscaping within the interior of the parking lot. These standards include:
- Planter design and size;
- Landscaping locations;
- Trees required; and
- Requirements for lighting in relation to the landscaping.
Building Foundation Planting
Any street-facing buildings with an exposed foundation is required to have landscaping along any exposed foundation except where providing access for pedestrians to the building, and except those located within 20 feet of the front of the lot or property line in the MX-1, MX-2, MX-3 and MX-4 zoning districts or those in the MX-5 zoning district. The following standards are required:
- The landscaped area must be at least three feet wide and must not impact pedestrian use of the sidewalk;
- There must be at least one three-gallon shrub for every three feet of linear foundation;
- Ground cover plants shall fully cover the remainder of the landscaped area.
These standards support the preservation of existing trees during development by including:
- Existing trees obtaining credit toward required landscaping;
- Parking reductions exchanged for preserving healthy, desirable trees;
- Mitigating tree removal by implementing replacement requirements;
- Giving guidance for protecting trees during construction.
To improve water quality and provide a natural, effective form of flood and water pollution control, this standard encourages the incorporation of vegetated, well-designed stormwater filtration swales into landscape areas where possible. These standards address design standards including street swales, perimeter buffers, materials and design.
Fences, Walls and Screening
These standards help provide guidance for utilizing fences, walls and screening that mesh naturally with the overall design quality throughout the city, and are used to properly disguise necessary but sometimes unattractive elements such as trash receptacles, HVAC units and more. These standards include:
- Permitted fencing and screening materials;
- Permitted fences, both for specific districts and that apply to all fences;
- Retaining wall requirements; and
- Requirements for screening including parking and storage areas, service areas, and mechanical and utility equipment.
Compliance and Alternative Compliance
There is a hierarchy of compliance with the code, including standards and guidelines. Alternatives are also provided to meet the intended purposes of the landscape requirements when compliance is explicitly not possible or when the alternative exceeds the requirements.
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