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10.1 General requirements
10.2 Determination of buffering requirement
10.3 Buffer strip location and design requirements
10.4 Multiple use of buffer strips
10.1.1 Purpose. Buffering standards are designed to provide visual and functional separation between different land uses in order to:
(A) Reduce potential nuisances, such as glare, dirt, noise, unsightly views, and other adverse impacts;
(B) Safeguard property values and preserve the character and integrity of the community; and
(C) Protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
10.1.2 Applicability. These regulations shall apply to all land development activities within the town’s jurisdiction with the exception of the those activities specifically listed in division 10.1.3.
10.1.3 Exemptions. The following activities shall be exempt from the requirements of this article:
(A) The construction, reconstruction, expansion, or modification of a detached single-family dwelling on an individual lot; and
(B) The construction, reconstruction, expansion, or modification of no more than two attached dwelling units, provided that each unit is constructed with an individual driveway and/or garage.
10.2.1 Procedure. The type of buffer strip required to be installed shall be determined as follows.
(A) Identify the zoning type for the proposed project and all adjacent properties, excluding properties across a public right-of-way. The zoning types are defined as follows for the purposes of this article only:
(1) Rural Zoning Districts. Rural Zoning Districts include the RP and RR Districts;
(2) Low Intensity Zoning Districts. Low Intensity Zoning Districts include the RS, RT, and RMX Districts;
(3) Moderate Intensity Zoning Districts. Moderate Intensity Zoning Districts include the RMF, OI, NB, and CB Districts; and
(4) High Intensity Zoning Districts. High Intensity Zoning Districts include the HB, LI, and HI Districts.
(B) Determine the buffer type (A, B, or C) required for each adjacent zoning type from Table 10-1.
Zoning Type of Subject Property
Zoning Type of Adjacent Property
1 - Applies to the exterior project boundary of new single-family subdivisions only.
2 - Buffer strip required to be installed when adjoining developed property does not meet the buffering requirements.
(C) Select the desired buffering option for the required buffer type as set forth in the following.
(1) Type A buffer strip. The Type A buffer strip is a low-density screen designed to partially block visual contact and create spatial separation between adjacent uses. The three design options that may be used to satisfy this buffering requirement are identified in Table 10-2.
Minimum Buffer Strip Width
Minimum Plantings Per 100 Linear Feet
8 trees, 10 primary evergreen plants, 20 supplemental evergreen shrubs
5 trees, 10 primary evergreen plants, 20 supplemental evergreen shrubs
4 trees, 8 primary evergreen plants, 16 supplemental evergreen shrubs
(2) Type B buffer strip. The Type B buffer strip is a medium density screen designed to block visual contact and create spatial separation between adjacent uses. The three design options that may be used to satisfy this buffering requirement are identified in Table 10-3.
Minimum Buffer Strip Width
Minimum Plantings Per 100 Linear Feet
18 trees, 20 primary evergreen plants, 20 supplemental evergreen shrubs
15 trees, 12 primary evergreen plants, 16 supplemental evergreen shrubs
12 trees, 16 primary evergreen plants, 12 supplemental evergreen shrubs
(3) Type C buffer strip. The Type C buffer strip is a high-density screen designed to eliminate visual contact and create spatial separation between adjacent uses. The two design options that may be used to satisfy this buffering requirement are identified in Table 10-4.
10.2.2 Additional standards.
(A) Fractional calculations. Fractional planting requirement calculations shall be rounded to the next higher whole number.
(B) Existing vegetation. Existing vegetation within the required buffer strip may be included in the computation of the required plantings with approval of the Ordinance Administrator.
(C) Fence or wall option. An opaque fence or wall may be used in lieu of not more than 50% of the required evergreen buffer strip plantings with the approval of the Ordinance Administrator and providing the following conditions are met, where applicable.
(1) Fence or wall height for high intensity zoning types. The minimum required fence or wall height shall be eight feet above ground level when the proposed project zoning type is classified as a high intensity zoning type.
(2) Fence or wall height for other zoning types. The minimum required fence or wall height shall be six feet above ground level when the proposed project zoning type is classified as any zoning type except those classified as high intensity.
(3) Vegetation planted on exterior sides. Where a fence or wall is used as part of the required screening, all required vegetation shall be planted on the exterior side of the fence or wall.
(4) Screening rural and low intensity zoning types. Where the fence or wall option is used to screen rural and low intensity zoning types from more intense zoning types, the required vegetation may be planted on the interior side of the fence or wall.
(5) Distribution of remaining vegetation. Where a fence or wall is used in lieu of not more than 50% of the required vegetation, the remaining vegetation to be used in conjunction with the fence or wall shall be evenly distributed in the buffer strip.
(D) Earthen berms. Earthen berms six feet in height or greater, or earthen berms with combined evergreen shrub plantings reaching a minimum height of six feet, may be used in lieu of not more than 50% of the evergreen buffer strip plantings providing the following conditions are met.
(1) Live ground cover. The entire berm shall be planted and covered with live ground cover.
(2) Evergreen shrubs. On berms less than six feet in height, evergreen shrubs, if used, shall be a minimum of one foot high at installation.
(3) Shape. Berms shall be naturally shaped, shall have a minimum crown width of two feet, and shall have side slopes stabilized to sedimentation and erosion control standards.
10.2.3 Conflicting requirements. If any conflict exists between the buffering requirements as identified in this article and any use standards or zoning district regulations contained in other sections of this ordinance, the more restrictive requirements shall apply.
10.3.1 Location of buffer strips.
(A) Buffer strips shall be located on the outer perimeter of a lot or parcel, extending to the lot or parcel boundary line, with the following exceptions.
(1) On adjacent property. All or part of the buffer strip may be located on adjacent property within a permanent easement dedicated for such purpose.
(2) Portion of parcel proposed for development. If only a portion of a parcel is proposed for development, the required buffer strip may be located at the limit of construction perimeter.
(3) Topographic irregularities. Where topographic irregularities require a different location to meet the intent of this article, the location of the buffer strip may be varied with approval of the Ordinance Administrator.
(4) Slope ratios. Required buffer strip plantings shall not be installed on cut or fill slopes with slope ratios greater than two to one (2:1).
(B) Cut slope. Where buffer strips include any part of a cut slope greater than ten feet in height, grading for such cut slope shall not encroach closer than ten feet to the property line.
(C) Streets and rights-of-way. Buffer strips shall not be located on any portion of an existing, dedicated, or proposed right-of-way, or a private street.
(D) Buffer strip plantings within easements. The following regulations shall apply where utility, access, or other easements that may affect required plantings are located within buffer strips:
(1) Where required plantings are located in easements, the property owner shall be responsible for replacement of such required vegetation if maintenance activities or other utility requirements cause their removal.
(2) No required tree or primary evergreen plant shall be planted in a wet retention pond, drainage maintenance easement, or any utility easement.
(3) Required shrubs may be planted within easements provided that they are limited to the outer three feet of the easement.
10.3.2 Design requirements.
(A) Size of plant material.
(1) Only trees which have mature heights exceeding 25 feet may be used for required buffer strip plantings.
(2) All trees must be a minimum of eight feet in height at installation and shall be at least two inches in diameter, as measured six inches above ground level.
(3) All primary evergreen plants shall be a minimum of six feet in height at time of installation unless combined with an approved earthen berm, and shall be not less than ten feet in height at maturity.
(4) All supplemental evergreen shrubs shall be a minimum of 18 inches in height at installation, and shall attain a minimum height of 36 inches three years after installation.
(B) Spacing of plant material. All plant material required by this article shall be installed in such a manner that the spacing between plantings achieves the intent of the required buffer type. While a design that appears to be the most natural is desired, the spacing of plant material must be sufficiently distributed throughout the buffer strip to achieve the intent of this article and provide both visual and physical separation between uses.
(C) Maintenance. Any fence, earthen berm, or plant material used for buffer strip screening shall be maintained in sound condition by the buffer strip provider. Proper maintenance of plant material includes regular mulching, watering, and pruning as well as the replacement of any required plantings which are damaged and/or dying.
10.4.1 To satisfy other requirements. Areas set aside as required buffer strips may also be used to satisfy the following:
(A) Minimum setback requirements;
(B) Minimum open space requirements; and
(C) Tree preservation and protection requirements.
10.4.2 For other purposes. Required buffer strips may also be used for the following additional purposes.
(A) Buffer strips may contain stormwater management facilities provided:
(1) The required buffer strip plantings shall be provided, and the design and landscaping of the buffer strip do not interfere with the proper functioning of the stormwater system; and
(2) The designed water depth shall not harm the viability of the plantings.
(B) Buffer strips may be used for passive recreation, such as pedestrian, bicycle, or equestrian trails, subject to the following limitations:
(1) No plant material shall be eliminated;
(2) The required width of the buffer strip shall be maintained; and
(3) All other requirements of this ordinance shall be met.
(C) Buffer strips may be used for the installation of underground utilities, provided the location and use of the utility lines do not interfere with the required plantings.
10.4.3 Prohibited uses. A required buffer strip shall not be used for any principal building or use, accessory building or use, parking or loading area, storage area, or other principal or accessory uses except as specifically permitted in this article.