1149.11  PHYSICAL BUFFER, OPEN SPACE AND SETBACK REQUIREMENTS.
   Building and parking setbacks from property lines shall be regulated by the requirements stated herein. For every project reviewed under the provisions of this Chapter, the Planning Commission shall have the ability to require certain setbacks as they may deem appropriate for the project being reviewed, unless otherwise stated herein.
   Where zero lot line development is permitted by the Planning Commission , the applicant shall obtain maintenance easements, where necessary, from the abutting property owners.
   (A)   Front Yard Setback.  The Planning Commission may allow construction up to the front property line in areas where it may be deemed consistent with the character of the surrounding neighbor hood. Structures may not encroach upon the street right of way or be supported by structures within the street right of way. On corner lots abutting two or more street right of ways, the yards adjacent to the street right of ways shall be considered front yards.
   (B)   Side Yard Setback.  The Planning Commission may allow construction up to the side property lines in areas where it may be deemed consistent with the character of the surrounding neighborhood.
   (C)   Rear Yard Setback.  The Planning Commission may allow construction up to the rear property lines in areas where it may be deemed consistent with the character of the surrounding neighborhood.
   (D)   Side & Rear Yard Setbacks Adjacent to Single Family Uses.  In instances where a project abuts one or more single family uses, the building shall be setback not less than twenty five (25) feet from the property line(s) that said single family uses abut.
   (E)   Buildings In Excess of 25 Feet in Height.  When a building exceeds twenty five (25) feet in height, the minimum distance from an adjacent building or property line shall be increased by two (2) feet for each of these stories above three (3). (For example, where a two story building is adjacent to a three story building, and the minimum distance between the buildings is less than seven (7) feet, a maintenance easement shall be required as stated in subparagraph (c)(1). above. The same procedure applies where three (3) or more buildings are clustered. For each story above three (3) in each building, three (3) feet are added to the minimum distance allowed between the buildings.
   (F)   Open Space.  Within the overlay district the Planning Commission may allow the amount of open space required within the underlying zoning district to be provided by:
      (1)   Patios
      (2)   Balconies
      (3)   Roof Gardens
      (4)   Similar private exterior spaces
The Planning Commission shall determine the adequacy of the types of spaces listed above in regard to their functional usefulness.
   (G)   Landscaping and Buffer Standards.  Landscaping is the specified land area together with the plantings arranged so as to make the land area more attractive. A buffer is a specified land area together with the plantings and landscaping required on the land. A buffer may also contain a barrier, such as a berm or a fence, where such additional screening is necessary to achieve the desired level of buffering between various activities.
Buffers are recommended to consist of dense plantings of trees, bushes, and scrubs.
      (1)   All projects within the overlay district are required to submit a landscaping and buffering plan for approval of the Planning Commission. The requirement of a landscaping and buffering plan is designed to ameliorate nuisances between adjacent land uses or between a land use and a public road. The separation of land uses through a required landscaping and buffering is designed to eliminate or minimize potential nuisances. Such nuisances may include dirt, litter, noise, lights, signs, unsightly buildings or parking areas. Landscaping and buffers provide spacing to reduce potentially adverse impacts of noise, odor or danger from fires or explosions.
      (2)   Location and Design -  Landscaping shall be provided to the full site. Buffers shall be located on the outer perimeter of a lot or parcel extending to the lot or parcel boundary line. Buffers shall not be located on any portion of an existing dedicated, or reserved public or private street or right of way.
      (3)   Use of Buffers -  A buffer may be used for some forms of passive recreation. It may contain pedestrian, bike or equestrian trails; provided, that:
         (a)   No plant material is eliminated.
         (b)   The total width of the buffer is maintained.
         (c)   All other regulations of the code are met.
      (4)   Compatibility -  All landscaping and buffering shall be compatible in design and usage with the lot, building and adjoining lots, landscaping and structures.
      (5)   Requirements for Maintaining Landscaping and Buffers - The responsibility for maintenance of a required landscape and buffers per the plan approved by the Planning Commission shall remain with the owner of the property or any consenting grantee. Maintenance is required in order to ensure the proper functioning of a buffer as a landscaping area which reduces or eliminates nuisance and/or conflict.
The owner shall be responsible for installing live, healthy plants. Replacement plants shall be provided for any required plants which die or are removed due to disease within the first year following issuance of the occupancy certificate.
      (6)   Maintenance -  Maintenance shall consist of mowing, removal of litter, dead plant materials, and necessary pruning. Natural watercourses within a buffer shall be maintained of free flowing and free of debris. Stream channels shall be maintained so as not to alter floodplain.
Water may be supplied by a shallow well pump installed on the property. The water supply shall be piped to each individual planting area by automatic sprinkler system.
Where pedestrian or bicycle trails are allowed within a buffer, these trails shall be maintained to provide for their safe use. Such maintenance shall include pruning of plants to remove obstructions, removal of dead plant materials, litter or other hazards.
      (7)   Failure to Maintain -  In the event that any private owner of open space fails to maintain landscaping and buffering requirements to the standards of this code, the City of Kent may have legal action brought against the property owner and/or developer after giving reasonable notice and demand that the deficiency of maintenance be corrected. In such cases where the lack of maintenance on said areas creates a public nuisance, the City may, after reasonable notice and demand, cause such maintenance to be performed at the cost of the property owner, their successors or assigns.
         (Ord. 1994-95. Passed 9-21-94.)