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A. Landscaping requirements. Landscaping shall be provided and maintained per Table 20.925.030-1 and 20.925.030-2 of this section.

Table 20.925.030-1. Minimum Landscaping and Buffer Setback Standards

Zoning of Proposed Development (Buffer width is the setback for the commercial and industrial zoning districts)

Required street trees and parking area landscaping do not count towards these requirements except as allowed by the street tree and parking code sections.

Lower Density Residential3

Higher Density Residential3

Commercial and Mixed Use1

Industrial1

R-2, R-4,

R-6, R-9

R-18, R-22,

R-30, R-35

CN, CC, CG, HX and MX only

OCI

IL A

IH

Zoning Of Land Abutting Development Site

Separated from site by a street

Not separated by a street

Separated from site by a street

Not separated by a street

Separated from site by a street

Not separated by a street

Separated from site by a street

Not separated by a street

Separated from site by a street

Not separated by a street

Separated from site by a street

Not separated by a street

Lower Density Residential

R-2, R-4,

R-6, R-9

None

None

L2

10-ft

L3

5-ft

L2

10-ft

L4

10-ft

L2

10-ft

L4

10-ft

L3

20-ft

L4 in 40-ft 5

L5 in 50-ft 5

L3

20-ft

L4 in 40-ft 5

L5 in 50-ft 5

Higher Density Residential

R-18, R-22,

R-30, R-35

None

L3

5-ft

L1

10-ft

L1

5-ft

L2

10-ft

L4

10-ft

L2

5-ft

L2

5-ft

L3

20-ft

L4 in 40-ft 5

L5 in 50-ft 5

L3

20-ft

L4 in 40-ft 5

L5 in 50-ft 5

Commercial and Mixed Use

CN, CC, CG, MX

L1

10-ft

L3

5-ft

L2

10-ft

L3

5-ft

L2

10-ft

L12

0-5 ft

L2

5-ft

L12

0-5 ft

L2

10-ft

L3

5-ft

L2

10-ft

L3

10-ft

Industrial

OCI

L1

10-ft

L3

5-ft

L1

10-ft

L3

5-ft

L2

10-ft

L12

0-5 ft

L2

5-ft

L12

0-5 ft

L2

10-ft

L3

5-ft

L2

10-ft

L3

10-ft

IL, A,

L1

10-ft

L3

5-ft

L2

10-ft

L3

5-ft

L2

10-ft

L2

5-ft

L2

5-ft

L12

0-5 ft

L2

10-ft

L1

5-ft

L2

10-ft

L3

10-ft

IH

L1

10-ft

L3

5-ft

L2

10-ft

L3

5-ft

L2

5-ft

L3

5-ft

L2

5-ft

L3

5-ft

L2

10-ft

L3

10-ft

L2

10-ft

L12

0-5 ft

Resource (County)

FR-80, FR-40,

AG-20, AG-WL, Park/WL

L1

10-ft

L3

50-ft

L2

10-ft

L3

50-ft

L2

10-ft

L2

5 ft

L2

5-ft

L3

10-ft

L2

10-ft

L1

5-ft

L2

10-ft

L3

10-ft

1Zero lot line developments shall comply with the standards and requirements of VMC 20.910.050.

2If building is to be built on the property line there is no required buffer for that portion of the site.

3Applies to multi-family site plan applications and the perimeter of land divisions not to individual single-family lot developments.

4In case of conflict with yard, setback, landscape, screening, or buffer standards specified in other sections of Title 20, the stricter standard shall apply, except for plan districts where the district standards shall always apply even if less strict than the standards of this table.

5Buffer widths abutting parking areas that are landscaped in accordance with the requirements of VMC 20.945.040(I) can be reduced to 25 feet.

Table 20.925.030-2. Landscaping and Screening Design Standards1

Type

Name

Description

Minimum Shrubs Based on Buffer Depth

Minimum Trees

Wall or Berm or Fence Required – Standards

L1

General (for open areas)

Used where distance is primary means of separating uses or development, and landscaping enhances area between them

a. 10 ft or less = None

b. Over 10 ft = 2 high or 3 low shrubs per 400 sq. ft. landscaped area

a. One tree per 30 lineal ft

b.One tree per 800 sq. ft.

None

L2

Low Screen

Distance and low-level screening intended to separate uses or development. Applied where low level screening sufficiently reduces the impact of a use or development, or where visibility between areas is more important than a greater visual screen.

Continuous screen 3 ft high, 95% opaque year-round. 3+ gallon containers or equivalent with spread 18+ inches.

One tree per30 lineal ft of landscaped area or as needed to provide a tree canopy over the landscaped area

3 ft high masonry wall or F2 fence or a berm may substitute for shrubs

L3

High Screen

Physical and visual separation between uses or development principally using screening. Used where full separation is warranted by impacts of proposed development, notwithstanding loss of direct views.

Enough shrubs to form a 6-ft high buffer screen 95% opaque year-round; 5+ gallon containers or equivalent with spread of 30+ inches

6 ft F1 or F2 high wall or fence with or without berm may substitute for shrubs

L4

High Wall

Used where extensive screening of visual and noise impacts is needed to protect abutting senstive uses and/or there is little space for separation between uses.

Four high shrubs required per 30 lineal ft of wall

6 ft F2 high wall required

L5

High Berm

Used instead of L4 where extensive screening is warranted and more space is available for separation between uses.

L2 low shrubs on top of berm so total screen height = 6 ft

4 – 6 ft high berm required. If under 6 ft high, plant L2 low shrubs on top of berm so overall screen height is 6 ft.

F1

Partially Sight-ObscuringFence

Partial visual separation applied where a proposed use or development has little impact, or where visibility between areas is more important than a total visual screen.

6 ft high – at least 50% sight-obscuring – wood, metal, chain link with slats, bricks, masonry or other permanent materials.

F2

Fully Sight-ObscuringFence

Full visual separation where complete screening is needed to protect abutting uses, and landscaping alone cannot provide that separation.

6 ft. high – 100% sight-obscuring – made of wood, metal, bricks, masonry or other permanent materials – no chain link fences with slats or similar construction.

1 Additional Requirements:

L1, L2, L3, L4, L5 – Groundcover plants, grass lawn or approved flowers must fully cover the landscaped area not in shrubs or trees.

L2, L3 – When applied along street lot lines, the screen or wall is to be placed along the interior side of the landscaped area.

L4 – When abutting another property, the wall shall abut the property line. When abutting a street or road right-of-way, the wall shall be on the interior side of the landscaped area.

L1 – Within the commercial districts where a building is to be placed at the buffer line for a front setback, concrete or brick pavers may be used in place of the required groundcover for the length of the building for the front setback only; provided, the required trees are still supplied, the paved area is connected to the public sidewalk, and pedestrian amenities are provided such as benches or pedestrian plazas. Building need not be placed at the required buffer line to utilize this section if the area between the buffer line and the building is devoted entirely to pedestrian only areas.

L1, L2, L3, L4, L5 – Groundcover plants to be placed not more than thirty (30) inches on center and thirty (30) inches between rows. Rows of plants shall be staggered for a more effective covering. Groundcover shall be supplied in a minimum four (4) inch size container or a two and one-quarter (2 1/4) inch container or equivalent if planted eighteen (18) inches on center.

Figure 20.925.030-1. 

B. Obligation to maintain. Unless otherwise provided by the lease agreement, the owner, tenant and his agent, if any, shall be jointly and severally responsible for the maintenance of all landscaping and screening, which shall be maintained in good condition so as to present a healthy, neat and orderly appearance, shall be replaced or repaired as necessary, and shall be kept free from refuse and debris.

C. Pruning required. All plant growth in landscaped areas of developments shall be controlled by pruning, trimming or otherwise so that:

1. It will not interfere with the maintenance or repair of any public utility;

2. It will not restrict pedestrian or vehicular access;

3. It will not constitute a traffic hazard because of reduced visibility; and

4. Trees shall be pruned to provide at least 8’ of clearance above sidewalks and 13’ above a local street, 15’ above a collector street, and 18’ above an arterial street roadway surfaces.

D. Installation requirements. The installation of all landscaping shall be as follows:

1. All landscaping shall be installed according to accepted planting procedures;

2. The plant materials shall be of high grade, and shall meet the quality and size standards of the American Standards for Nursery Stock (ANSI Z60, 1-1986, as updated); and

3. Landscaping shall be installed in accordance with Section 20.925.050 VMC.

4. All landscaped areas shall be provided with an irrigation system or a readily available water supply with at least one outlet located within 50’ of all plant material.

5. All landscaped areas shall be provided with a 6 inch curb which could include curb cuts, wheel stops or other protective measure to allow for stormwater flow as part of LID.

6. Landscaped areas shall have a minimum length or width dimension of 5 feet in order to count toward the minimum required landscaped area..

E. Certificate of Occupancy. Certificates of occupancy shall not be issued unless the landscaping requirements have been met or other arrangements have been made and approved by the city such as described in Section 20.909.020(B) VMC.

F. Care of landscaping along public rights-of-way. Appropriate methods for the care and maintenance of street trees and landscaping materials shall be provided by the owner of the property abutting the rights-of-way, unless otherwise required for emergency conditions and the safety of the general public.

G. Conditions of approval of existing vegetation. The review procedures and standards for required landscaping and screening shall be specified in the conditions of approval during development review and in no instance shall be less than that required for site development.

H. Height restrictions abutting public rights-of-way. No trees, shrubs or plantings more than 18” in height shall be planted in the public right-of-way abutting roadways having no established curb and gutter.

I. Sight visibility. Sight visibility requirements of Chapter 20.985 VMC Vision Clearance shall be met. (Ord. M-4341 § 3 (Exh. B), 2021; Ord. M-4179 § 90, 2016; Ord. M-3931 § 30, 2009; Ord. M-3840 § 43, 2007; Ord. M-3701 § 31, 2005; Ord. M-3643, 2004)