(A)   Purpose, objectives and procedure.
      (1)   Purpose.
         (a)   The purpose of this section is to establish a uniform procedure for the review of plans for the development of commercial, multi-family residential and industrial property located within the city limits. This procedure includes a comprehensive review by the Planning Department to assure that city codes and standards will be met and the objectives of this section are specifically addressed.
         (b)   This section is a required part of the building permit application process. It is hereby found that the establishment of this procedure will work toward assuring development which complies with the objectives of this section and enhances area architectural and environmental elements in furtherance of the best interest of this community. Furthermore, developers are encouraged to design developments which harmonize with the existing terrain, rather than changing the site to fit a specific design.
      (2)   Objectives.  The Site Plan Review process shall reach a determination that the following objectives have been met:
         (a)   Proposed projects shall respect the natural, wooded environment to preserve, protect and incorporate this natural environment into the overall Site Plan design;
         (b)   The Site Plan shall be examined to assure that all provisions of this section and all other applicable city standards are complied with or where a greater standard is required, those standards shall prevail;
         (c)   Ingress, egress, internal traffic circulation, off-street parking facilities, loading and service areas and pedestrian ways shall be designed to promote safe, efficient vehicular circulation, pedestrian movement, parking and site serviceability; and
         (d)   When commercial, multi-family residential or industrial uses are proposed next to existing less intensive uses, the Site Plan Review process shall emphasize quality project design, aesthetics and landscaping designed to minimize the impact of the project on the established area and/or establish transitional areas to meet the objectives of the Site Plan Review Standards.
      (3)   Procedure. 
         (a)   The review procedure for each Site Plan application shall begin with a comprehensive review by the Planning Department.
         (b)   Staff shall review the plans to determine code compliance and compliance with the objectives. All plans shall be corrected to comply with all minimum codes and adopted policies. Staff shall determine if codes have been met and how the objectives have been addressed.
   (B)   Applicability.
      (1)   For all new commercial, multi-family residential and industrial property within the city limits, and remodeled commercial, multi-family residential and industrial property where improvements of at least a 20% increase in square footage are added.
      (2)   Zoning districts affected are C-1, C-2, C-3, CBD, R-2, R-4, R-5, R-6, I-1, I-2. R-2 exception: single family dwellings and garage apartments.
   (C)   Submittal requirements.  The Site Plan shall comply with this section and applicable sections of this code, and shall contain the following:
      (1)   Disclosure of the boundaries of the property and building site and location of all utilities and easements of record;
      (2)   Placement of site in context to neighboring properties and description of their use;
      (3)   Drawings will include directional arrow and be drawn to scale no less than 1:30; and
      (4)   Detailed landscape plan to include type, size and quantity of plant material, hard goods and street lighting.
   (D)   Review criteria.  In considering applications before it, the Planning Department shall be guided by the following criteria, and these elements shall be described on the Site Plan.
      (1)   Purpose.  The Site Plan shall be reviewed to assure that all proposals present a landscaped appearance that is site sensitive and enhances and preserves the existing vegetation, and is in harmony with surrounding development and the natural environment. The landscape plan, material, berms, fences and walls should be utilized to:
         (a)   Preserve and utilize the existing natural features, existing vegetation and other physical site values where possible;
         (b)   Provide screening/buffering or undesirable views;
         (c)   Soften the visual impact of paved areas;
         (d)   Soften the edge between a parking lot or street and the building;
         (e)   Define walkways, traffic circulation, special use areas and building entries;
         (f)   Complement the architectural form of the building;
         (g)   Mitigate the impacts of lighting or other negative influences;
         (h)   Provide a pleasant driving experience;
         (i)   Provide shade for the landscape, building and parking lot;
         (j)   Provide for energy conservation;
         (k)   Control wind and water erosion;
         (l)   Mitigate the impacts of traffic noise, dust and pollutants; and
         (m)   Storm water management.
      (2)   Percent of landscaping required to meet the objectives of Site Plan Review.
         (a)   No less than 10% of the net lot area shall be landscaped unless greater landscaping standards apply based on the requirement of another zoning category, or the incentive standards have been met for reduction of the 10% landscaping. Fifty percent of the total landscaping shall be along the frontage. Right-of-way is not to be included. For industrial projects with no sensitive borders or frontage on major arterial roadways, the minimum landscaping could be reduced to 5% at the discretion of the City Manager or his designee. These are requirements of the Site Plan process, including the Planning Commission process.
         (b)   An eight-foot sight-proof fence is required between residential and commercial or industrial properties.
      (3)   Landscaping standards.  All applicable uses within the city limits shall be landscaped with trees and ornamental shrubs according to the following standards.
      (4)   Application for Site Plan approval shall be accompanied by a detailed landscaping plan for the required lot area. The plan shall meet the following requirements:
         (a)   Submit a detailed plan listing that identifies the types of plant material proposed and existing vegetation to be preserved.
         (b)   Include on the Site Plan a summary of the landscape area calculations and total plan unit values proposed.
         (c)   There shall be a minimum of 20 live plant units provided for every 250 square feet of area required to be landscaped. A minimum of 40% shall be evergreens. Fifty percent of required plantings should be located on the front elevation.
         (d)   Existing trees proposed for preservation in the Site Plan will require city review to determine the variety, size, quality, and potential survivability in order to confirm the plant unit values requested.
         (e)   Ornamental trees shall be at least two-inch caliper.
         (f)   Evergreen trees shall be a minimum of six feet tall.
         (g)   Traffic control requires that the plan respect all sight triangles at driveways and intersections and be approved for all elements relating to overall traffic control.
         (h)   All planting beds shall be a minimum width of five feet.
         (i)   All planting beds shall include edgings. Acceptable edging material shall consist of either steel or masonry types such as poured concrete, brick rowlock and/or stone. Unacceptable edging materials are plastic, aluminum, treated lumber, and railroad ties.
         (j)   All planting beds shall have a minimum of three inches of biodegradable mulch. The use of gravel, artificial grass or any form of synthetic material does not meet any requirement of this section and shall not be used. Individual tree planting locations shall be mulched with a three-foot diameter minimum.
         (k)   If a lake exists on the property, the surface area of the lake shall not be included in calculating the overall area of the site when making a determination of the required area of the site to be landscaped.
      (5)   Landscaping definitions.  For the purpose of this article, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
         BERM.  An earthen mound designed to provide visual interest, screen undesirable views and/or decrease noise.
         CALIPER.  The diameter of the tree trunk as measured at one foot above ground level.
         DECIDUOUS.  A plant with foliage that is shed annually.
         EDGING.  A border designed to be a barrier against grass and creeping weeds and continuous in design.
         EVERGREEN.  A plant with foliage that persists and remains green year-around.
         EXISTING TREE.  A tree that exists on the property prior to development that will be preserved, and whose root system will not be disturbed in any way within the area covered by the tree’s canopy.
         HARD GOODS.  Non-living items used for landscaping projects, i.e. topsoil, mulch, boulders, etc.
         NET LOT AREA.  The total site area less: structure(s), required parking as defined in Zoning Ordinance 2422, and the right-of-way.
         ORNAMENTAL TREE.  A deciduous tree planted primarily for its ornamental value or for screening purposes. An ornamental tree tends to be smaller than a shade tree.
         PHYSICAL SPACE.  The existence of natural physical features such as flood plains, creeks, ponds and open lands that may accomplish the separation of unlike land uses. These may be used in combination with the screen.
         PLANT UNIT.  A measurement tool that translates the amount of required plant material into a quantifiable but flexible unit.
            1.   One (new) ground cover and perennial plant, minimum one gallon equals one-half  plant unit. No more than 10% of all landscaping materials required by the standards in this code shall be credited for this type of planting.
            2.   One (new) shrub, minimum two-gallon container stock or larger equals one plant unit.
            3.   One (new) shrub, minimum five-gallon container stock or larger equals two plant units.
            4.   One (new) ornamental tree, two-inch caliper equals five plant units.
            5.   One (new) evergreen tree, minimum six feet tall equals four plant units.
            6.   One (new) evergreen tree, minimum 12 feet tall equals eight plant units.
            7.   One (new) shade tree, three-inch caliper equals 7-1/2 plant units.
            8.   One (existing) tree, four-inch/six-inch caliper equals 7-1/2 plant units.
            9.   One (new) shade tree, five-inch caliper equals ten plant units.
            10.   One (existing) tree, six-inch/eight-inch caliper equals 15 plant units.
            11.   One (existing) evergreen tree, minimum ten feet in height equals 18 plant units.
            12.   One (new or existing) specimen tree, eight-inch caliper, if newly planted equals 20 plant units.
            13.   One (existing) specimen tree, ten-inch caliper or greater equals 22-1/2 plant units.
            14.   One (existing) specimen tree, 12-inch caliper or greater equals 25 plant units.
         REQUIRED PARKING.  Land devoted to parking as defined in Zoning Ordinance 2422.
         SCREEN.  A method of reducing the impact of noise and unsightly visual intrusions with less offensive or more harmonious elements, such as plants, berms, fences, walls or any appropriate combination thereof.
         SIGHT PROOF FENCE.  An opaque visual barrier containing wood, masonry, PVC, or live plant material; or a combination of the above and berms.
         SHADE TREE.  Usually a deciduous tree, rarely an evergreen, planted primarily for its high crown of foliage or overhead canopy.
         SHRUB.  A woody plant, smaller than a tree, consisting of several small stems from the ground, or small branches near the ground, that may be deciduous or evergreen.
         SPECIMEN TREE.  A particularly impressive or unusual example of a species due to its size, shape, age or any other trait that epitomizes the character of the six species. Minimum eight inch caliper or larger.
         TREE.  A large, woody plant having one or several self-supporting stems or trunks and numerous branches. May be classified as deciduous or evergreen.
      (6)   Landscaping structures.  A minimum of a five-foot wide planting bed between the structure and the parking lot must be provided in all areas that are visible from the street.
      (7)   Landscaping parking lots.  When the required off-street parking lot is established at the front or side elevation, there shall be an improved landscaped area along the entire perimeter of the parking lot of not less than five feet in width. In addition to the required privacy fencing, this area shall be improved with live shrubs, plants, grasses, trees and berms for the purpose of screening the parking lot from view from the traffic lanes and all surrounding properties and residential areas. Existing plant material may be preserved and utilized to contribute to the required screening of the off-street parking lot where possible. Off-street parking lots are encouraged at the rear elevation, especially when vehicular access is possible between adjacent structures.
      (8)   Sensitive borders.  When a site directly abuts residentially developed or zoned land on any side, to minimize the impact of commercial development on the residential area, a landscaped buffer area against the residentially developed or zoned land shall be required.
   (E)   Permit review process.
      (1)   Review and approval authority.  It is recognized that due to the unique conditions presented by some proposed projects and the nature of a site’s special limitations, particularly in the built environment, there may be applications that will present some special conflicts complying with all parts of this section. In those cases where there are justifications, the Planning Department may recommend review by the Planning Commission for requested modifications or variances to this section. Variances to parts of this section may be considered if the applicant is able to exceed requirements in other parts of this section, especially in the areas of landscaping, signage, decorative paving and physical appearance of the building. Consideration may also be given for special improvements or solutions to community concerns, such as drainage or traffic circulation problems.
      (2)   Criteria for reducing landscaping to less than 10% of the site.  The percent of landscaped area required by this section may be reduced for each of the following conditions that are met or exceeded. The percent of landscaped area required may not be reduced by more than three full percentage points. The amount of percentage points specified for each of the following conditions shall apply.
         (a)   Thirty-five percent of the required plant units consist of existing trees proposed for preservation. These trees will require city staff review and approval to determine the variety, size, quality, potential for long-term survival and plant unit value. Any trees that will have their root systems disturbed in any way within the area covered by their canopy will not be considered. A maximum of  1-1/2 percentage points will be allowed.
         (b)   If the height of signs is decreased by 50%, the percent of landscaped area required by ordinance may be reduced by 1%. If the height of the sign is reduced by 25%, the percent of landscaped area required by ordinance may be reduced by one-half percent.
         (c)   If landscaped areas directly adjoin existing landscaped areas on adjoining properties, a maximum of one-half percentage point will be allowed.
         (d)   If drives are located to be shared by adjoining properties, a maximum of one percentage point will be allowed.
         (e)   If shared or regional detention facilities are developed that will serve two or more properties, a maximum of one-half percentage will be allowed.
         (f)   If the Site Plan preserves in an undisturbed state significant natural features, the original natural topography and existing native vegetation, a maximum of one-half percentage point will be allowed.
         (g)   If the signs allowed are set back from the front property line a distance of one foot for every one foot of height, a maximum of one-half percentage point will be allowed.
         (h)   If adjoining properties share a ground sign which does not exceed the square footage allowed by either property, a maximum of one percentage point will be allowed.
         (i)   If the Site Plan incorporates features that aid in noise abatement, a maximum of one  percentage point will be allowed. These features may include a combination a berms, masonry walls and wooden fences, and must be used in conjunction with landscaping to assist in absorbing noise.
         (j)   If all planting beds and lawns have an automatic irrigation system, a maximum of 1% will be allowed.
      (3)   Submitted for building permit.  The approved Site Plan, requirements and modifications approved by the Planning Commission shall be submitted to the Planning Department with the application for a building permit. No building permit may be issued prior to the approval of the Site Plan.
      (4)   Compliance with codes and standards.  Approval of the Site Plan as provided herein does not exempt the applicant from compliance with other applicable building or construction standards or codes in effect.
      (5)   Expiration of Site Plan.  Approval of any Site Plan and associated signage as required herein shall expire and become null and void 18 months from the date of such approval, including all time required for legal proceedings; if any, providing that a building permit has not been issued, and unless the Planning Commission, for good cause shown, has specified a different expiration date.
Requests for extension shall include:
         (a)   A letter of formal request for extension;
         (b)   A public hearing with the Planning Commission to review the extension request;
         (c)   The application review for extension shall determine the compliance with current Site Plan review standards;
         (d)   PUD Designations and Special Use Permits; and
         (e)   If the project is zoned with a PUD designation, no building permit shall be issued until all provisions of the PUD procedure have been followed, and nothing herein shall be deemed to abolish existing requirements or procedures for the obtaining of Special Use Permits in any zoning district. The standards of this section shall be minimum standards of any Planned Unit Development.
   (F)   Installation, irrigation and maintenance.
      (1)   Wherever landscape plantings or a landscape-planting screen are required, such landscape plantings shall be installed in a sound, workmanlike manner and according to accepted good planting procedures.
      (2)   All landscaped areas shall be provided with a readily available and acceptable water supply. Underground, automatic sprinkler systems are preferred. Otherwise, a minimum of one supply outlet per island is required. These outlets must be located within 100 feet of all planted material to be maintained.
      (3)   It shall be the continuing duty of the property owner, his successors, or anyone having beneficial use of the property, to maintain any such designated landscaping in a live and healthy condition by keeping lawns mowed, all plants properly groomed and maintained as disease-free, and planting beds groomed, except in naturally occurring dense growths of shrubs or undergrowth. Any required planting(s), which have been removed, are diseased or no longer living, shall be replaced in kind as soon as natural conditions allow. Tree stakes, guy wires and tree wraps are to be removed after one growing season.
      (4)   Enforcement and appeal.  When it is determined that improvements required by this section are not being met, it shall be the duty of the Code Enforcement Department to give notice in writing to the property owner. Such notice shall specify in what manner the improvements are in need of maintenance and a date for compliance. Any person who is aggrieved by the administration of these regulations may file an appeal with the City Manager or City Planner within the 30-day period.
      (5)   Failure to comply.  Failure to provide the improvements required by these regulations or failure to maintain improvements in the manner prescribed by these regulations shall constitute an offense and violation of this chapter. The notice of violation served by the city shall include a time period in which violation should be cured. If, after expiration of the time period the violation has not been cured, each subsequent day may be counted as a new and separate violation. Upon conviction, the person who has violated the landscaping requirements may be subject to a fine of up to $200 per day, plus court costs.
(Ord. 3164, passed 9-6-05)