1168.12  TYPES OF LANDSCAPING AND BUFFERING.
   (a)   General Landscaping.
      (1)   Intent: The General Landscaping standard is a landscaped treatment for open areas. It is intended to be applied in situations where distance is used as the principal means of separating uses or development, and landscaping is required to enhance the area in-between. While primarily consisting of ground cover plants, it may also include a mixture of trees, high shrubs, and low shrubs.
      (2)   Planting Patterns: The following is the standard for trees and shrubs. Ground cover plants must fully cover the remainder of the landscaped area.
         A.   One (1) tree is required and either two (2) high shrubs or three (3) low shrubs for every 5000 square feet of parcel area.
 
   (b)   Buffer A.
      (1)   Intent: The Buffer A standard is a landscaped buffer which uses a combination of distance and low-level screening to separate uses or developments. The standard is applied where a low level of buffering is adequate to soften the impact of the use or development, or where it is intended to create the impression of a separation of spaces without necessarily eliminating visual contact between the uses.
      (2)   Planting Patterns: The standard requires a screen that is partially opaque from the ground to a height of three (3) feet, with intermittent visual obstruction from above the opaque portion to a height of at least six (6) feet.
         A.   Buffering shall be located within the minimum required yard.
         B.   Fifty (50) percent opacity shall be maintained year-round;
         C.   Trees shall be planted at a ratio of one (1) tree per fifty (50) lineal feet on center and surrounded with assorted shrubbery, or as appropriate to provide a tree canopy over the landscaped area.
         D.   Ground cover plants must fully cover the remainder of the landscaped area.
         E.   A three (3) foot high masonry wall, low shrubs, fence, or a landscaped earth mound shall be used for the low level screening, along with required trees and ground cover plantings.
         F.   When applied along street lot lines, the screening, mounding, or wall is to be placed along the interior side of the landscaped area.
         G.   Compliance of planted vegetative screens or natural vegetation with the requirements of this Chapter will be judged on the basis of the average mature height and density of foliage of the subject species, or field observation of existing vegetation. The screen may contain deciduous plants.
 
 
   (c)   Buffer B.
      (1)   Intent: The Buffer B standard is a landscaped buffer which uses screening to provide the physical and visual separation between uses or development. This buffering is intended to exclude all visual contact between uses and to create a strong impression of spatial separation.
      (2)   Planting Patterns: This standard requires complete (100%) opacity from the ground to a height of at least three (3) feet, another three (3) feet of partial opacity (50%), with intermittent visual obstructions from the opaque portion to a height of at least twenty (20) feet.
         A.   Buffering shall be located within the minimum required yard.
         B.   Trees shall be planted at a ratio of one (1) tree per fifty (50) lineal feet on center and surrounded with assorted shrubbery, or as appropriate to provide a tree canopy over the landscaped area.
         C.   The lower opaque portion of the buffer must be opaque in all seasons of the year. A landscaped earth mound shall be used for such low level buffering. A three (3) foot masonry wall may be substituted for the required mound along with required trees and ground cover plantings. Natural materials planted on mounds shall be staggered.
         D.   A three (3) foot high partially opaque buffer composed of a fence, planted vegetation, or existing vegetation shall be installed atop the mounding to provide intermittent visual obstruction for the required partial opacity. At maturity, the portion of intermittent visual obstructions at the three (3) to six (6) foot level should not contain any completely unobstructed openings more than ten (10) feet wide. A minimum of ninety-five (95) percent opacity shall be maintained year around. The portion of intermittent visual obstructions may contain deciduous plants.
         E.   Trees shall be planted as appropriate to provide a tree canopy over the landscaped area and surrounded with assorted shrubbery planted at various positions along the horizon to provide the required opacity and tree canopy over landscaped areas and/or mounding. Tall evergreen trees should be staggered, with branches touching the ground.
         F.   Compliance of planted vegetative screens or natural vegetation with the requirements of this Chapter will be judged on the basis of the average mature height and density of foliage of the subject species, or field observation of existing vegetation.
      (3)   Exceptions: In special instances where extensive buffering of both visual and physical impacts is needed to protect abutting sensitive uses in areas and where there is little space for separation. In such instances, a six (6) foot high masonry wall may be substituted for the opaque screen along the interior side of the landscaped area. One (1) tree is required per fifty (50) lineal feet of wall or as appropriate to provide a tree canopy over the landscaped area. In addition, intermittently planted high shrubs are required at a ratio of one (1) per thirty (30) lineal feet of wall. Ground cover plants must fully cover the remainder of the landscaped area.
 
 
   (d)   Buffer C.
      (1)   Intent: The Buffer C standard is a landscaped buffer which uses screening and mounding to provide the physical and visual separation between uses, structures, or developments.  It is used in those instances where acute visual separation is required. This Buffer is intended to limit visual contact between uses and to create a strong impression of spatial separation, while retaining some degree of visibility.
      (2)   Planting Patterns: Buffer C yards shall be a minimum of twenty (20) feet in depth, however, on a site-specific basis the Planning Commission may determine that a depth greater than twenty (20) feet shall be required. For all industrial districts located adjacent to residential districts, the minimum buffer yard depth shall be fifty (50) feet. The following minimum standards are required for this degree of buffering:
         A.   Fifty (50) percent opacity shall be maintained year-round;
         B.   The height of the required buffering shall extend to one-half (½) the building height of structure being screened. The required level of opacity shall be maintained to a maximum height of twelve (12) feet.
         C.   One (1) canopy tree, rounded upward, for every thirty (30) linear feet of frontage.
         D.   Five (5) shrubs for every twenty (20) linear feet of frontage.
         E.   The Planning Commission may approve substitution of evergreen trees for up to fifty percent (50%) of the required trees.
         F.   Mounding along the full width of the lot shall be required.
         G.   Neither mounding, nor decorative landscape treatments shall block adequate safe distances at driveway locations and intersections.
         H.   Side yard buffer strips shall begin at the setback line and extend the full length of the lot line.
 
 
   (e)   Buffer D.
      (1)   Intent: The Buffer D standard is a landscaped buffer used when a continuous physical screen is required to prevent any visual access from one use to another.  It is used in those instances where total visual separation is required.
      (2)   General Standards: Buffering shall contain vegetative plantings and/or architectural screening which meets the following requirements:
         A.   One hundred (100) percent opacity shall be maintained year-round;
         B.   The maximum slope of any buffer yard shall be 3:1. Additional width shall be added to any portion of any buffer yard that exceeds this slope such that the minimum buffer yard width is met by land less steep than 3:1.
         C.   The height of the required buffering shall extend to one-half (½) the building height of structure being screened. The required level of opacity shall be maintained to a maximum height of twelve (12) feet.
         D.   Buffering shall be located entirely within the lot of higher-intensity use and abutting a lot of lower-intensity use, or adjacent right-of- way. However, such buffer yard may be placed in the lot of lower- intensity use or partially on both lots if both lots and the entire buffer yard width are within common ownership and a permanent easement is provided over any portion of the buffer yard on the lot of lower-intensity use.  When abutting a residential zoning district on the side or rear, the buffering requirements set forth in Chapter 1155.04 (d) of the Zoning Code shall be used. 
         E.   Buffer yards shall be maintained in a natural condition free of structures, loading or storage areas, parking, roads, or driveways. A driveway required to serve the principal  structure on the site may exist in the buffer yard provided that the Planning Commission determines that such driveway does not lessen the effectiveness of any required side or rear buffer yard.
         F.   Buffer yards required by this Section shall be applied equally to all similarly situated properties.  Modifications to these standards may be granted in writing by the Planning Commission.  If the Planning Commission, after consultation with a Certified Landscape Architect, finds any of the following circumstances exist on the proposed building site, or surrounding properties:
            1.   Natural land characteristics such as topography or existing vegetation on the proposed building site would achieve the same intent of this Section.
            2.   Innovative landscaping or architectural design is employed on the building site to achieve an equivalent buffering effect.
            3.   The required buffering would be ineffective at maturity due to the proposed topography of the site and/or the location of the improvements on the site.
            4.   The topography of adjacent and surrounding sites is such that it would render the required buffering ineffective at maturity.
         G.   When the acreage of a site is significantly larger than the area proposed for physical improvements or active usage, buffer yards shall be reserved as required by this Section.  However, to achieve the intent of this Section, the Planning Commission may require an alternative location and design for required buffering.
      (3)   Planting Patterns: Buffering shall be a minimum of twenty (20) feet in depth, however, on a site specific basis, the Planning Commission may determine that a depth greater than twenty (20) feet shall be required, but in no case shall defer the minimum standard. For all industrial districts and other intense land uses located adjacent to residential districts, the minimum buffer yard depth shall be fifty (50) feet.
         A.   Small trees shall be planted as appropriate to provide the required level opacity and tree canopy over the landscaped areas, and surrounded with assorted shrubbery. Trees and vegetation may be grouped.
         B.   The height of the required buffering shall extend to one-half (½) the building height of the structure being screened.
         C.   Trees shall be planted in a staggered pattern with no more than ten (10) feet between trees.
         D.   A landscaped mound may be used for screening up to a height of six (6) feet. A masonry wall may be substituted for vegetative materials up to four (4) feet.  In both cases, screening shall be installed along with required trees and ground cover plantings. Natural materials planted on mounds shall be staggered.
 
 
(Ord. 2014-09.  Passed 2-19-14.)