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§ 14-705. Landscape And Trees.

(a) Applicability.

The on-site landscape and tree requirements of this § 14-705(1) (On-Site Landscape and Tree Requirements) shall apply to all development on existing lots greater than 5,000 sq. ft. in area, except:

(.1) Lots with a principal single-family, two-family, parks and open space, or urban agriculture use; and

(.2) Parking lots and garages. Parking lots and garages shall comply with the landscape standards of § 14-803(5) (Parking Landscape and Screening).

(b) Landscape and Tree Plan Required.

Zoning permit applications must, if subject to the provisions of this § 14-705(1) (On-Site Landscape and Tree Requirements), include a landscape and tree plan prepared by a licensed architect, licensed landscape architect, licensed professional civil engineer, or a certified arborist that demonstrates compliance with the standards of this § 14-705(1) (On-Site Landscape and Tree Requirements).

(c) General Standards.

(.1) Plants.

Herbaceous plants or lawn installed in the required landscaped area shall be from the list of appropriate plantings maintained by the Commission.

(.2) Minimum Plant Size.

Trees installed in the required landscaped area shall have a minimum caliper of 2.0 in.

(.3) Irrigation.

All irrigation systems for development shall be designed, installed, and operated to minimize runoff and over-spray of irrigation water onto roadways, sidewalks, and adjacent properties, and shall be installed with rain sensors to turn the system off during rainy conditions.

(.4) Sight Triangle Requirements.

Shrubs and similar plants that exceed 2.5 ft. in height are prohibited in sight triangles.

(d) Landscape Buffering Between Different Land Uses.

Landscape buffers are required when specific types of different land uses abut each other, as listed in § 14-705(1)(d)(.1) (When Buffering Is Required), below. These requirements only apply at the time a lot subject to these requirements is developed, and no existing development shall be required to install buffer landscape because of a change in the zoning district classification of an abutting lot.

(.1) When Buffering Is Required.

A landscape buffer satisfying the requirements of § 14-705(1)(d)(.2) (Two Buffering Options) shall be provided along side and rear lot lines for the following:

(.a) Multi-Family Residential, Commercial, or Institutional.

(.i) A multi-family building with more than six units that abuts a lot in an RSD zoning district; and

(.ii) A building with a principal use in the public, civic, and institutional, office, retail sales, commercial services, or vehicle or vehicular equipment sales and service use categories that abuts a lot in a Residential district.

(.b) Industrial.

A building containing a principal use in the wholesale, distribution, and storage, or industrial use categories that abuts a lot in a Residential district.

(.2) Two Buffering Options.

The applicant shall provide the amounts of buffering shown in Table 14-705-1 using either Option A or Option B.

(.a) Option A – Landscape Buffer.

A landscape buffer area meeting the requirements of Table 14-705-1 shall be provided on the shared border to minimize sound, light, and noise impacts. The buffer area shall consist of natural plant materials such as lawn, herbaceous plants, shrubs, and trees, and shall not contain impervious materials. At least 15 ft. of space must be provided between tree trunks. Shrubs shall have a mature height of at least five ft.

(.b) Option B – Wall, Berm, Fence, or Vegetative Screen.

An opaque wall, berm, fence, or dense vegetative screen meeting the requirements in Table 14-705-1 shall be provided on the shared border. If a fence or wall is provided, the side facing the Residential district shall be at least as finished in appearance as the side facing the applicant's use. Fencing shall be constructed of wood or ornamental metal; chain-link and barbed wire are prohibited as fencing material.

Table 14-705-1: Landscape Buffering Between Different Land Uses

{For a printable PDF version, click HERE}

Land Use (Descriptions below are summary only. The provisions of § 14-705(1)(d)(.1) shall control.)

Option A

Landscape Buffer

Option B

Opaque Wall, Berm, Fence, or Dense Vegetative Screen

Multi-Family Residential abutting an RSD district; Commercial or Institutional abutting a Residential district (14-705(1)(d)(.1)(.a))

Width: 10 ft. min.

Landscape: At least 1 tree and 3 shrubs per 25 ft.

Height: 5 ft. min./6 ft. max.

(at least 5 ft. at time of planting for a vegetative screen)

Industrial abutting a Residential district (14-705(1)(d)(.1)(.b))

Width: 15 ft. min.

Landscape: At least 1 tree and 4 shrubs per 25 ft.

Height: 7 ft. min./8 ft. max.

(at least 7 ft. at time of planting for a vegetative screen)

{For printable PDF version of image, click HERE}

{For printable PDF version of image, click HERE}

(e) Preservation of Heritage Trees.

The location, DBH, and species of all existing trees shall be included in a landscape and tree plan. Heritage trees may not be removed from any property unless the applicant meets the standards of § 14-705(1)(e)(.1) or obtains a special exception approval in accordance with § 14-705(1)(e)(.2).

(.1) A heritage tree may be removed from a property without a special exception approval, provided:

(.a) the applicant replaces the removed heritage tree in accordance with § 14-705(1)(f) (Tree Replacement Requirements); and

(.b) One or both of the following applies to the heritage tree:

(.i) a certified arborist has determined that the tree is dead, damaged, diseased, or a threat to public health or safety; or

(.ii) the Streets Department has determined that the tree interferes with the provision of public services or constitutes a hazard to traffic, bicyclists, or pedestrians.

(.2) If the standards of § 14-705(1)(e)(.1) are not met, a heritage tree may be not be removed from any property unless the applicant obtains a special exception approval. The Zoning Board shall grant a special exception to remove a heritage tree if:

(.a) The applicant replaces the removed heritage tree in accordance with § 14-705(1)(f) (Tree Replacement Requirements);

(.b) It determines that the criteria of § 14-303(7) (Special Exception Approval) have been met; and

(.c) The applicant has demonstrated that the proposed development cannot be practically redesigned to protect the heritage tree.

(f) Tree Replacement Requirements.

(.1) Except as set forth in § 14-705(1)(f)(.2), below, all healthy trees on the lot of 2.5 in. DBH or larger that are removed, damaged, or destroyed as a result of development activities shall be replaced in accordance with the following standards:

(.a) All trees proposed for removal and all proposed replacement trees shall be indicated on the site plan.

(.b) The total caliper of all replacement trees shall be no less than the total caliper of all trees removed from the lot. Each replacement tree shall not be less than 2.5 in. DBH at planting.

(.2) Trees removed under the following conditions are exempt from the replacement requirements of § 14-705(1)(f):

(.a) As determined by a certified arborist, the tree is dead, damaged, or diseased.

(.b) As determined by a certified arborist, the tree is an undesirable species in its present location.

(.c) As determined by a certified arborist, the tree poses potential danger to life or property.

(g) Credits for Preserving Existing Trees.

Applicants who preserve mature, healthy trees as part of a development project may obtain credits toward trees required by this Zoning Code. Trees intended to be preserved shall be indicated on the site plan. To obtain credit, the preserved trees must be on the same lot, at least five in. diameter breast height (DBH) and must be in healthy condition as determined by a certified arborist. The credit for preserved trees shall be as shown in Table 14-705-2 and may be applied toward the number of trees required on the lot. Any preserved trees for which credit is given, and that are lost to damage or disease within two years after the credit is awarded, shall be replaced by the land owner with trees otherwise required.

Table 14-705-2: Tree Preservation Credits

{For a printable PDF version, click HERE}

Caliper of Preserved Tree (in.)

Credit (in total DBH)

Over 12 in. DBH

12 in. DBH

Over 8 in. to 12 in. DBH

8 in. DBH

5 in. to 8 in. DBH

5 in. DBH

(a) Applicability.

The street tree requirements of this § 14-705(2) (Street Tree Requirements) shall apply to:

(.1) All development on lots greater than 5,000 sq. ft. in area, except lots with a principal single-family, two-family, parks and open space, or urban agriculture use; and

(.2) Subdivisions of three or more lots.

(b) Certification.

Before L&I may issue a building permit, the applicant must, if subject to the provisions of this § 14-705(2) (Street Tree Requirements), submit a site plan indicating the location and number of street trees to be planted prepared by a licensed architect, licensed landscape architect, licensed professional civil engineer, or a certified arborist that demonstrates compliance with the standards of § 14-705(2) (Street Tree Requirements).

(c) Standards.

(.1) Existing street trees in healthy condition that will be preserved may be used to meet the requirements of this section.

(.2) New street tree planting shall comply with the following standards:

(.a) At least one street tree per 35 ft. of linear frontage shall be provided. Street trees may be placed at regular or irregular intervals, provided that there is at least 15 ft. of space between tree trunks. Where any of these standards conflict with the regulations of the Streets Department or the Department of Parks and Recreation, the least restrictive regulation shall govern.

(.b) To the extent possible, trees shall be planted in alignment with street trees on the same block or adjacent lots.

(.3) The applicant shall plant the required street trees and manage the tree installation.

(.4) L&I shall not grant a building permit to an applicant unless the applicant either makes a deposit into the City treasury, or posts a bond in form satisfactory to the City Solicitor, in an amount sufficient, as determined by DPR, to pay for the City's costs in purchasing and planting the required street trees in the event the applicant fails to comply with the requirements of this § 14-705(2) (Street Tree Requirements) and applicable regulations, such amount to be refunded or such bond to be marked satisfied upon compliance by the applicant with these requirements. Retention by the City of the deposit or payment on the bond shall not excuse the applicant from applicable fines or penalties.

(a) All landscape and trees required to be installed or replaced by this § 14-705 (Landscape and Trees) shall be installed or replaced within two years of the issuance of a building permit for the project, or before the issuance of a certificate of occupancy for the principal building on the lot, whichever is later.

(b) The applicant or owner of each property subject to the requirements of this section is required to maintain all required landscape and trees and replace any tree that dies or is required to be removed due to damage or disease.

(c) Failure to install, replace, or maintain landscape or trees as required by this section is a violation of this Zoning Code.

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