(A) Purpose and intent. Landscape requirements as set forth in this chapter have been established to:
(1) Encourage quality development within the city;
(2) Provide compatibility and harmony between adjoining properties and land use;
(3) Screen service yards, parking lots, equipment, and limited access areas;
(4) Reduce heat transfer from pavements;
(5) Provide open space and recreational area to serve the needs of city residents;
(6) Soften development impact;
(7) Reduce erosion and storm-water runoff control;
(8) Reduce the particulate matter in the air;
(9) Aid in the enhancement of property values;
(10) Create an attractive appearance along city streets and assist as traffic calming device;
(11) Aid in the conservation of water by encouraging the use of varieties of plans, trees, and shrubs indigenous to this arid region;
(12) Promote protection or control of intense activities; and
(13) Promote community aesthetics as well as provide for the health, safety, and general welfare of city residents.
(B) Extended regulation authorized. The standards and regulations of this chapter shall be held to be the minimum requirements necessary for the promotion of the foregoing objectives of this chapter in those instances where the minimum standards and requirements are not sufficient to achieve the purpose and objectives of this chapter, the Zoning Administrator or his or her designee may impose such other reasonable requirements as may be deemed appropriate. Examples might be: where, in the opinion of the Zoning Administrator or his or her designee, there exists extraordinary conditions of topography, land ownership, site boundaries and dimensions, adjacent development characteristics, or other circumstances not provided for in this chapter, the Zoning Administrator or his or her designee may modify or vary an extent as is deemed appropriate to the public interest, provided that the purpose and intent of this chapter is maintained with the modification or variance.
(C) Scope. The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all development or construction, all building remodeling, alternations, additions, or expansions, and to all changes of occupancy in the use or development of land which requires the approval of a development site plan or subdivision plat by the city. Agricultural uses and single-family and two-family residences and their accessories shall be exempt from the requirements of this chapter.
(D) Enforcement and notice of violations. This chapter shall be enforced by the Zoning Administrator or his or her designee. The Zoning Administrator or his or her designee shall have the authority to enter upon the premises, or any part thereof, at any and all reasonable times for the purposes of performing his or her official duties. When any condition which could constitute a violation of the provisions of this chapter comes to the attention of the Zoning Administrator, he or she shall cause a notice thereof to be served upon the owner, lessee, or other person in control of the premises. The notice shall specify the nature of the violation and shall order the responsible party to correct the violation within 30 days.
(E) Landscape inspections.
(1) All projects required by this chapter to be landscaped shall pass a landscape inspection prior to a certificate of occupancy being issued by the city.
(2) The city shall have the right to refuse to pass any project not meeting the provisions of this chapter. The city shall also have the right to reject landscape materials as being substandard as to size, condition, or appearance including a pre-inspection of materials at the supplier if deemed necessary.
(F) Required landscape maintenance.
(1) With respect to every lot, parcel, or tract of land within the city containing a use for which the provisions of this chapter apply, every owner, lessee, or any other person having the lawful right to possession and control of this premise shall:
(a) Maintain all landscape materials and landscaped areas in accordance with the approved landscape plan, including the frontage street right-of-way landscaping required in this chapter. The landscaped areas shall be kept free of trash, debris, weeds, dead plant material, and shall in all respects be maintained in a neat and clean fashion; and
(b) Replace all dead or removed landscape material with landscape material of the same variety, and in the size and quantity as those originally required. All dead or removed landscape material shall be replaced within 60 days.
(2) The city shall accept responsibility for the maintenance and operation of all landscaping and appurtenances installed in accordance with the provisions of this section for reverse street frontage landscaping or any landscaping and appurtenances installed within other street rights-of-way. Rights-of-way is described by one of the following categories:
(a) Arterial and/or secondary street rights-of-way adjacent to single-family residential areas that back onto the arterial and/or secondary street and have a screening wall constructed on the rear property line;
(b) Arterial street rights-of-way adjacent to single-family residential areas that side onto the arterial street, and which have a screening wall constructed on the side property line;
(c) Bridle trails, bicycle paths, and multi-use recreational facilities within city limits;
(d) Median islands on arterial and secondary public streets within the city;
(e) All alleys within city limits;
(f) Street rights-of-way abutting municipal public facilities;
(g) Street landscaping within districts specially approved or created by City Council; and
(h) Flood control facilities which have been accepted for operation and maintenance by the city.
(3) Prior to the city accepting for maintenance any reverse street frontage landscaping or other street rights-of-way landscaping described in the division (F)(2) above, the following conditions shall have to be satisfied:
(a) The landscaping shall be inspected and approved by the city for compliance with the approved landscape plan.
(b) The subsequent completion of a 60-day maintenance period wherein the developer shall be responsible for all watering, weeding, and replacement of all dead or dying plant materials.
(c) A final inspection called by the developer or his or her representative at the completion of a 120-day maintenance period resulting in final approval and acceptance by the city, except for the subdivision which shall be determined when final plans are approved.
(d) As-built drawings of the landscape and irrigation system are required prior to acceptance by the city and for projects within the city right-of-way or city-owned property. The as-built drawings shall be four mil., non-wash off photo mylar or digitized record in accordance with city CAD guidelines showing the locations of all plantings and irrigation equipment.
(G) Landscape plan description.
(1) A landscape plan consisting of a preliminary plan and a final plan shall be prepared, submitted, and approved for all applicable development projects in accordance with the procedures and requirements set forth in this subchapter.
(2) All changes in landscape plans before, during, or after preliminary or final landscape plan approval shall be approved by the Zoning Administrator or his or her designee prior to the installation of any such landscape change.
(3) All changes in the landscaping of a site before, during, or after final landscape plan approval and landscape installation shall be approved by the Zoning Administrator or his or her designee as set forth in this subchapter.
(H) Preliminary landscape plan.
(1) Two copies of a preliminary landscape plan shall be submitted along with the required development site plan for review by the Zoning Administrator or designee. The preliminary landscape plan may be shown on the development site plan drawings. The preliminary landscape plan shall be a conceptual plan and shall include information as specified on the formal application form, such information may include, but is not limited to:
(a) The location and identification of all proposed landscape areas (on-site, street rights-of-way, parking area, landscape buffers, and others);
(b) Preliminary data pertaining to the amount of net site area, the ground floor areas of all proposed commercial and industrial buildings, the number of required and proposed parking spaces, and the amount of all landscaped areas required and provided;
(c) The approximate location of all proposed trees, and generally other landscape materials and improvements;
(d) The location of all sight visibility triangles;
(e) Notes or graphical representations adequately showing intent of the proposed plans and materials and indicating how those plans will comply with this chapter;
(f) The location, height, type, and general design and finish of all proposed screening walls;
(g) The location of all proposed stormwater retention areas; and
(h) A plant list indicating the botanical name, common name, and size of plant materials proposed.
(2) The preliminary landscape plan shall be reviewed and approved by the Zoning Administrator or designee as part of the development site plan review and may be approved with stipulated changes or additions.
(I) Final landscape plan.
(1) Two copies of a final landscape plan shall be submitted along with all other required site improvement and building plans prior to or concurrent with the application for a building permit. The final landscape plan shall contain information as specified on the formal application form, such information may include, but is not limited to:
(a) The final calculations, data, and specific details and information all proposed landscape areas, landscape materials, screening walls, irrigation system, and other items that were required and identified in conceptual form on the preliminary landscape plan. The final landscape plan shall contain a specific schedule of all trees and shrubs identified by common and botanical name and shall clearly indicate quantity and size of each tree, shrub, and ground cover to be installed.
(2) The final landscape plan shall be in conformance with the approved preliminary plan and any stipulated changes or additions and shall be approved by the Zoning Administrator or designee prior to the issuance of a building permit.
(3) All changes in landscape plans before, during, or after preliminary or final landscape plan approval and/or landscape installation shall be approved by the Zoning Administrator or his or her designee.
(J) Installation of landscape improvements.
(1) All landscape improvements (landscape materials, irrigation system, screening walls, and the like) shall be installed by the developer on the site in accordance with the approved final landscape plan prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy for the building or use. When considered advisable, upon presentation of a cash bond, cash deposit, or assured letter of credit in the amount sufficient to guarantee installation of the landscaping and irrigation system, the Zoning Administrator or his or her designee may approve a delay in the immediate installation of the required landscape improvements for a period of time not to exceed 12 months. In those instances where the Zoning Administrator or his or her designee approves a delay in the installation of the required landscape improvements, a temporary certificate of occupancy shall be issued for the building or use conditioned upon the satisfactory installation of the required landscape improvements within the time period approved by the Zoning Administrator or his or her designee.
(2) All plant material shall be selected from the Arizona Department of Water Resources current plant list for low water use plants in the Phoenix Active Management Area (AMA). Plant materials that are not acceptable: Cercidium aculeate, Cercidium x ‘Desert Museum,’ Dalbergia sissoo, Acacia salicina, Acacia saligna.
(3) All plant material and specifications shall conform to the Arizona Nursery Association (ANA) standards.
(K) Minimum size of trees, shrubs and the like, and substitution of ground cover for shrubs.
(1) Unless otherwise specified herein, all required trees shall be a minimum of 15 gallons in size and at least 50% of those trees must be 24-inch box or larger size. All shrubs shall be a minimum of five gallons in size. All 15 gallon trees must be a minimum of eight feet in height, four feet in spread, and one and one-quarter inches trunk caliper at the ground level. All 24-inch box and larger trees shall be a minimum of ten feet in height, four feet in spread and two and a half inches trunk caliper at the ground level. For individual specifications see AMA standards upon approval of the Zoning Administrator or his or her designee, the installation of 20 square feet of vegetative ground cover in any landscaped area shall substitute for one required shrub up to a maximum of 20% of the required shrubs in any particular landscaped area.
(2) All Mexican Fan Palms (Washington Robusta), California Fan Palms (Washingtonia Filifera), and Queen Palms (Syagrus remonzoffianum) shall have a minimum five foot trunk height measured from the base of the trunk to the base of the fronds when located within the public right-of-way or within 20 feet of the street property line.
(L) Natural topping of landscaped areas. All landscaped areas shall be finished with natural topping material which may include, but not limited to the following: turf, groundcover, planting, decomposed granite (two inches minimum depth), river run rock, expanded shale, or bark. A pre-emergent herbicide shall be applied to the ground prior to the placement of natural surface materials (decomposed granite, river run rock, and the like) in any landscaped area to prevent weed growth and again after the rock has been installed. Turf shall not be planted in a dedicated right-of-way. All turf is to be limited to 50% of the landscape areas unless defined as a turf facility.
(M) General standards for landscaped areas along street/frontage.
(1) Landscaped areas along street frontages shall be contoured or bermed, where feasible, to provide variations in grade, visual relief, parking lot screening, and a more pleasing aesthetic value.
(2) All on-site parking areas shall be screened from street view by a landscaped berm or decorative wall not less than three feet in height. The required height of berm or wall shall be measured from the highest finished grade of the adjacent on-site parking area or adjacent finished grade of the street, whichever is greater.
(3) Trees along R.O.W. shall maintain seven-foot canopy height.
(N) Sight visibility triangle. All landscaping and landscaped materials established in close proximity to a driveway or street intersection shall be installed and maintained in strict compliance with the sight visibility triangle requirements set forth as follows:
(1) Maximum plant material height of 24 inches; ten feet by 20 feet at drives onto streets, 15 feet by 33 feet at minor and major streets, and 33 feet by 33 feet at major intersections. Measurement is from behind the property line.
(2) Berming or boulders are not to be located in the sight visibility triangle.
(O) Power lines. All overhead power lines are to be shown if they exist or note that there are none. All trees under power lines or within 15 feet of power lines shall have a maximum height of 20 feet at maturity.
(P) Retention basins. Slopes are to be no steeper than a four to one ratio and minimum of 50% live plant material and groundcover shall be planted within the retention area.
(Q) Irrigation standards. All landscaped areas shall be supported by an automatic irrigation system. A pressure type vacuum breaker shall be required for any new, improved, or renovated irrigation system and enclosed with a two-inch steel pipe and screen and lock enclosure screened with a three foot wall or plant material four foot on center. All irrigation systems and landscaped areas shall be designed, constructed, and maintained so as to promote water conservation and prevent water overflow or seepage into the street, sidewalk, or parking areas.
(R) Screening walls. See § 154.101.
(S) Use of landscape areas for other purposes. No part of any landscape area shall be used for any other use such as parking, signs, or display; except for required on-site retention areas or when the use is shown on the approved final landscape plan.
(T) Single-family residential subdivisions. Landscaping shall be required along the rear of reverse-frontage, single-family lots along collector or arterial streets and required open space areas in accordance with the standards specified below.
(1) Trees with a minimum size of 15 gallons shall be planted at the rate of one tree per 30 feet of linear street frontage. At least 50% of the trees shall be 24-inch box size.
(2) Shrubs with a minimum size of five gallons shall be planted at the rate of five shrubs per tree and in no case shall be less than three shrubs per 20 feet of linear street frontage.
(3) Clustering of trees and shrubs shall be encouraged to accent focal points or landmarks and to provide variety to the streetscape. Contouring of the ground and placement of mounds and earth berms along streets shall be required.
(4) A minimum of 35% of all frontage landscaped areas shall be covered with vegetative or organic groundcover consisting of grass (except in right-of-way) or other living plant materials characterized by horizontal growth which generally does not exceed two feet in height.
(5) Within common open space areas, minimum 15-gallon sized trees and five-gallon shrubs shall be planted at a ratio of one tree per 200 square feet and 1 shrub per 100 hundred square feet of landscape area.
(6) Inorganic groundcover shall be applied to all non-planted landscape areas consisting of decomposed granite (minimum one-half minus) crushed rock, gravel, river run rock, and/or boulders, utilizing sufficient variety in terms of color, texture, and materials to provide a pleasant and diverse appearance of streetscape. Mounding and contouring of landscaped areas is required.
(7) Vegetative groundcover shall be located to accentuate landmarks or focal points on a site and to create a “lush” appearance to the landscaped area from public streets and areas.
(U) Multi-family residential developments. The following landscape standards shall apply to multi-family development.
(1) A minimum 20-foot wide landscaped area shall be required along all interior property lines when adjacent to single-family residential development. Trees with a minimum size of 15 gallons shall be planted every 20 feet on center within the area.
(2) Along public street frontages, minimum 15-gallon sized trees shall be planted at a ratio of one tree per 30 feet of frontage. A minimum of 50% of the required trees shall be 24-inch box size.
(3) Within required yards and common open space areas, minimum 15-gallon sized trees and five-gallon shrubs shall be planted at a ratio of one tree per 200 square feet and 1 shrub per 100 hundred square feet of landscape area.
(4) Open space areas along public street frontages shall receive special landscaping treatment to provide a lush setting for both the residents of the project and the general public. The following standards shall apply to landscaping of public street frontages.
(a) Special entry features shall be provided at major entrances into a project to provide a sense of identification and uniqueness.
(b) Walls, planters, and earth berms shall be provided in the front yard to add variety to the landscape and to increase privacy for residents.
(c) No more than 50% of the required front yard landscaped area may be used for stormwater retention purposes.
(d) Foundation plantings should be utilized to complement building elevations, provide shade, and increase privacy. A minimum of 50% of the building frontage facing public streets shall have foundation plantings.
(V) Non-residential development. General requirements:
(1) A minimum of 10% of new land area of any site used for non-residential development shall be landscaped.
(2) All portions of the development site not occupied by buildings, structures, vehicle access and parking areas, loading/unloading areas, and approved storage areas shall be landscaped in accordance with the following standards. Future building pads within a phased development shall be improved with temporary landscaping, or otherwise maintained weed-free in such a manner as may be approved by the city.
(3) Within required yards and open space areas, minimum 15-gallon sized trees and five-gallon shrubs shall be planted at a ratio of one tree per 200 square feet and one shrub per 100 hundred square feet of landscape area, except within the EI Zoning District where trees may be planted at one tree per 400 square feet and shrubs may be planted at a rate of one shrub per 200 hundred square feet of landscape area.
(4) The intersection of arterial streets are a dominant feature of the urban landscape, serving as major focal points of activity in the community. Because of the importance of these intersections, additional landscaped setbacks and design features beyond the required minimum standards may be imposed on property at these intersections by the city at the time of rezoning and/or site plan approval. The additional features may include wider setbacks, unique building orientation and design, and special landscaped features such as wall and screening devices.
(5) Where existing buildings or nearby parcels are built to the street property line, landscaping may be modified or located elsewhere on approval of the Zoning Administrator or his or her designee.
(6) All landscaped areas adjacent to vehicular parking and access areas shall be protected by a six-inch vertical concrete curbing in order to control stormwater flows and minimize damage by vehicular traffic.
(W) Streetscape standards. The following landscaping shall be required along all streets unless otherwise stated herein.
(1) Trees with a minimum size of 15 gallons shall be planted at the rate of one tree per 30 feet of linear street frontage. A minimum of 50% of the required trees shall be 24-inch box trees, except within the EI Zoning District trees may be planted at the rate of one tree per 60 feet of linear frontage.
(2) Shrubs with a minimum size of five gallons shall be planted in appropriate numbers to complement the placement of trees, but in no case shall be less than three shrubs per 20 feet of linear street frontage, except within the EI Zoning District shrubs may be planted at a rate of three shrubs per 40 feet of linear street frontage.
(3) Clustering of trees and shrubs shall be encouraged to accent focal points or landmarks and to provide variety to the streetscape. Contouring of the ground and placement of mounds and earth berms along the street shall be required.
(X) Parking lot landscaping.
(1) A minimum of 10% of the parking lot area shall be landscaped, exclusive of front yard or perimeter landscaping and street trees. The landscaping shall consist of parking islands located within the parking lot area.
(2) A minimum of one tree shall be provided for every five parking spaces, exclusive of perimeter landscaping and street trees, except within the EI Zoning District trees may be planted at the rate of one tree for every 10 parking spaces. Trees must be planted within the parking lot.
(3) Parking islands or landscaped areas shall be installed at least every ten consecutive parking spaces. The islands shall be a minimum of ten feet wide and contain a minimum of 180 square feet in area.
(4) All parking lots shall be separated from adjacent residential uses or districts by a ten-foot landscaped strip planted with a minimum of one tree every 25 linear feet and a minimum six-foot high masonry wall.
(5) Pedestrian walking lanes and related landscaping may be required at the discretion of the Zoning Administrator or his or her designee to control traffic and provide safety of pedestrians.
(6) All parking lots shall be screened from public streets by walls or earth berms or combination thereof constructed at least three feet above the grade of the parking lot or adjacent street, whichever is higher in elevation. Variety to the alignment and style of the walls is required. The walls shall be decoratively designed to match the facade of any buildings and shall be constructed of slump block, brick, or masonry with a mortar wash or stucco finish.
(7) Any landscaped area used for vehicular overhang shall not be counted towards the required landscaping.
(Y) Substitution of landscape requirements. The Zoning Administrator or his or her designee may modify the minimum planting area requirements specified herein in lieu of the application and placement of approved alternative landscaping elements such as, but not limited to, low impact development (LID) practices, art instillations, or hardscape features that are found to further the landscape purpose and intent specified in division (A) above.
(Res. R22-05-08, passed 5-3-2022; Ord. O22-05-02, passed 5-3-2022)