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(A) Purpose. This section creates uniform landscape, screening and tree preservation standards for development of property in Lockport to ensure that the city remains attractive, safe and comfortable. These landscape regulations are established to:
(1) Promote, protect and preserve the general health and safety of residents, and support aesthetic compatibility among land uses within the city;
(2) Reduce soil erosion and stormwater runoff, provide oxygen regeneration to enhance air quality, and minimize the effects of urban heat islands;
(3) Minimize any harmful effects of noise, dust, debris, motor exhaust, headlight glare, artificial light intrusions, objectionable sights or activities, or similar adverse impacts conducted or created by nearby land use;
(4) Safeguard the environmental quality and aesthetic character of Lockport by limiting removal and ensuring replacement of trees;
(5) Preserve existing vegetation and topographical features by limiting unnecessary clearing and modification of land, encouraging retention of existing mature trees, and requiring replacement of indigenous trees with approved species; and
(6) Encourage energy efficiency in the city.
(B) Authority. The City Planner is authorized to act on behalf of the Director of Public Works and Engineering in exercising authority to require and/or grant permission for planting and maintaining trees and other landscaping on public streets and municipal and other properties, including private property, when such trees and landscaping are installed or maintained pursuant to this section.
(C) Tree removal permit required. Unless otherwise permitted by the terms of this section, no developer of property or property to be annexed that is greater than or equal to three acres in size, shall, directly or indirectly, cut down, destroy, remove, move, destroy through damaging or authorize cutting down, destroying, removing, moving or damaging, any tree of four inches or more in diameter at breast height (DBH), without first obtaining a permit as herein provided. No city official shall issue a permit in violation of the requirements of this section. Permits for removal, relocation or replacement of trees covered herein shall be obtained by submitting an application on a form prescribed by the Public Works Department pursuant to the standards set forth herein.
(D) Heritage trees. Some species of trees are native to the area, are sound, strong species, and have existed naturally for decades or centuries. The city recognizes that these trees are a key component to its heritage, and therefore they will bear a higher level of preservation requirement.
(1) The following trees are classified as the city’s heritage trees:
Oaks 20" or greater in DBH
Hickories 20" or greater in DBH
Hackberries 20" or greater in DBH
Ironwoods 10" or greater in DBH
Walnuts 20" or greater in DBH
All of the above must be determined to be in healthy condition according to the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) standards.
(2) Every practicable measure shall be undertaken in attempting to preserve heritage trees in the planning phase. Alternatives to development that may threaten these trees shall be explored in detail. Should the merits of development outweigh the benefits of preservation; an appeal may be made to the corporate authorities. The corporate authorities shall have discretion regarding preservation of specific trees, and may request, utilize and review any materials, reports, consultant opinions, and the like, when making their decision. Any costs incurred by the city in such investigation shall be paid by the applicant.
(3) A heritage tree may be removed without approval of the corporate authorities if a certified arborist provides an ISA report stating the tree is in poor condition, i.e., that it is declining significantly in health and/or structure. In such cases, a penalty will not be incurred for removal, but tree replacement as identified herein will be required.
(E) Tree preservation plan.
(1) Maximize tree preservation. The developer shall make every effort to save all healthy trees where feasible and practical.
(2) Tree preservation plan required. The developer of any lot equal to or greater than three acres in size shall submit to the city a survey, prepared by a certified arborist, of all trees four inches or greater in diameter at breast high (DBH). The tree survey shall include notations of intent to preserve trees so identified and the preservation techniques to be implemented.
(a) A tree preservation plan shall be submitted as part of the preliminary plan. The tree preservation plan shall include all trees plotted to scale on a plat of survey, with the size and species identified. The plan shall also include accurate placement of buildings, easements, utilities, infrastructure wetlands and temporary storage locations in relation to existing trees. Any changes from the concept plan must be expressed clearly in writing.
(b) All proposed tree removals shall be clearly identified on the plan with “Xs” and clearly identified at the project site with ribbons or paint.
(c) A list of all trees four inches in DBH or greater, including size, species, and identification of heritage trees, shall be provided by the applicant. Additionally, a listing of all trees proposed for removal shall be submitted on a separate sheet than the plat of survey. Information shall include species, size, reason for removal, and a reference back to the mapped location for ease of review. Heritage trees shall be labeled as such. Tree protection areas shall be clearly shown on the plan.
(d) A grading plan shall be submitted showing existing trees that are proposed to be removed and those that are proposed to be saved.
(e) The developer’s proposed methodology for saving or removing existing trees shall be reviewed by the City Planner. If, in the opinion of the City Planner, the developer has not provided for necessary precautions in preserving the existing trees, it will be recommended by the City Planner that the preliminary plan approval not be granted until such time as the developer satisfactorily amends their plan for the preservation of existing trees. If the developer and the City Planner cannot agree on a satisfactory plan, the developer can appeal the decision of the City Planner to the Plan and Zoning Commission (PZC).
(f) A tree preservation plan shall also be submitted as part of the final development plan review process. In addition to the previous requirements, the tree preservation details shall be clearly shown, including all preservation requirements as stated in this section. Proposed replacement trees shall be indicated on the final landscape plan.
(3) Trees exempt from replacement requirements:
(a) Dead, structurally unsound, fatally diseased or declining trees;
(b) Ailanthus, buckthorn, willows and box elder trees.
(F) Tree replacement.
(1) Heritage tree replacement. Heritage tree removal replacement requirements will require inch-for-inch replacement. For every DBH inch of a heritage tree that is removed, an equal number of caliper inches is required in new tree planting. However, if a certified arborist agrees that the heritage tree is in poor health, the certified arborist shall calculate the value of the heritage tree, as determined by the “Guide for Establishing Values of Trees and Other Plants,” by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). The number of replacement caliper inches then required will be calculated using a unit value of one inch diameter representing $150. For example, a tree valued at $5,000 would require 33.3 inches of tree replacement. Replacement options may include eleven three-inch caliper trees or eight four-inch caliper trees.
(2) Other tree replacement. Where healthy trees with a DBH of six inches or greater are intended to be removed, are unintentionally removed, or damaged during construction, they shall be replaced as follows:
(a) Trees designated for removal. If trees are designated for removal on the tree preservation and removal plan or landscape plan, they shall be replaced with new trees in accordance with the following schedule.
Size of Tree
To Be Removed*
Number of Replacement Trees
30 inches or greater
*Size refers to the tree diameter measured at breast height (DBH).
(b) Trees designated for preservation. If trees designated for preservation are destroyed, damaged or removed during the construction process, they shall be replaced with new trees in accordance with the following schedule.
Size of Tree
To Be Removed*
Number of Replacement Trees
30 inches or greater
*Size refers to the tree diameter measured at breast height (DBH).
(c) Subject to a fine. For each tree designated for preservation that is destroyed, damaged or removed, the permit applicant shall be subject to a fine as specified in § 153.50.125(G)(3).
(d) Prohibited or nuisance trees. When a tree designated for removal is one of the species on the list of prohibited trees as maintained by the city, each such tree shall be replaced with one new tree (rather than the number of additional trees required in the above tables).
(e) Replacement tree requirements.
1. All replacement shade trees shall have a minimum caliper of three inches.
2. All replacement coniferous trees shall have a minimum height of six feet. If a replacement coniferous tree has a height of ten feet or more, it shall count as two replacement trees.
3. Replacement trees may not include any tree on the list of prohibited trees in the appendices.
4. A variety of tree species are encouraged to promote a diverse tree canopy and to minimize the impact from disease and infestation. Thus, when 20 or more replacement trees are required, no more than 20% of the replacement trees shall be of one species type.
(f) Should the City Planner determine that full replacement would result in unreasonable crowding upon the lot, the permittee shall be required to offset the environmental loss by paying a loss fee to the city. The loss fee will be based upon $150 per caliper inch of loss, based upon the formula noted above. This loss fee will account for the proposed environmental losses and shall be used to provide reforestation in other areas of the city. This fee shall be paid prior to the issuance of a development permit.
(3) Where trees are to be saved, provision shall be made for erection of appropriate, temporary, protective fencing, such as snow fence or chain-link fence, at the periphery of the dripline to keep construction from damaging or killing the tree from physical trunk and branch damage, or compacting soil and damaging shallow feeder roots. The developer shall be responsible for the supply, erection and maintenance of temporary fencing, in accordance with the conditions of the building permit, around the tree preservation areas.
(a) The fencing shall be placed at the dripline for protection of the roots, trunk and branches.
(b) All fencing posts shall be installed no further than ten-feet apart.
(c) Fencing shall remain in place during the entire construction project.
(d) All grading and construction equipment shall be forbidden from encroaching within the trees’ dripline. Construction activity, movement and placement of equipment or material or spoils storage and excess soil, additional fill, liquids or construction debris is prohibited within the trees’ dripline.
(e) Materials detrimental to trees, including but not limited to, crushed limestone, hydrocarbons, and the like, shall not be dumped or stored within the trees’ dripline or at any higher elevation draining toward the trees.
(f) Directional boring or auguring is required when work is required within the drip zone of the tree(s) (trenching shall not be allowed within the drip zone).
(g) Attachments, signs, fences or wires, other than that approved for bracing, guying or wrapping, shall not be allowed to be attached to trees during the construction period.
(h) To improve the survival rate of trees, root pruning and/or thinning should be performed in accordance with the latest edition of the American National Standards Institute for Tree, Shrub and Other Wood Plant Management - Standard Practices Pruning (ANSI A300 part 1). Trees to be pruned must also be indicated on the plan or on an accompanying sheet, and approved by the Director of Public Works and Engineering or his or her representative.
(i) No soil shall be removed or added within the root zone/dripline of any tree that is to remain.
(G) Enforcement of tree preservation requirements.
(1) Enforcement. Tree preservation enforcement shall be under the direction of the Director of Public Works and Engineering, or authorized designee, and performed by his or her staff or a contracted, certified arborist.
(2) Emergencies. In the event of emergency conditions requiring the immediate cutting or removal of a tree or trees protected by the section to avoid danger or hazard to persons or property, an emergency permit will be issued by the Director of Public Works and Engineering, or authorized designee, without formal application.
(a) Tree removal without a permit. Failure to obtain a permit, or removal of a tree classified as protected in the submitted tree preservation plan, as required herein, will result in a fine of $300 per inch of the tree’s DBH, and shall be levied against that person or entity primarily responsible for causing the tree to be removed or damaged.
(b) Additional fees will be incurred at the time of violation to cover the cost of required follow-up inspections of the replacement tree installations and subsequent site reviews.
(c) Violations in this code may result in inspections by the city arborist or a consulting certified arborist. All related costs of a consulting certified arborist will be charged back to the applicant as stated in § 153.70.070. The applicant shall also pay for the arborist’s subsequent or follow-up inspection fees.
(d) Trees removed, destroyed or damaged without a tree removal permit must be replaced with trees whose diameter equals the diameter of the trees affected, regardless of condition or species.
(e) Additional bonds will be collected at the time of violation at $150 per inch of the tree's DBH for required replacement trees, until the trees have been installed and have thrived for at least two years. Bonds will be returned upon a satisfactory review after the two-year guarantee period.
(f) Each subsequent act in violation of this section by the same person or entity shall result in a 50% increase in fines over the previous fine levy.
(4) Violation of protected trees. Violation of the tree protection plan and required tree preservation techniques will result in a $100-per-tree-per-day fine. Subsequent violations will result in the stoppage of all work until corrections have been made to the satisfaction of the Director of Public Works and Engineering, or authorized designee or his or her representatives.
(a) Additional fees will be incurred at the time of violation to cover the cost of required follow-up inspections of the replacement tree installations and subsequent site reviews.
(b) Violations of this code may result in inspections by the city consulting, certified arborist. All related costs will be charged back to the applicant as stated in § 153.70.070. The applicant shall also pay for the arborist’s subsequent or follow-up inspection fees.
(c) Trees damaged to the extent that they suffer in health or structure and will likely die within the next five years, must be removed and replaced with trees whose diameter equals the diameter of the trees affected.
(d) At the discretion of the Director of Public Works an Engineering, or authorized designee or his or her representatives, additional bonds will be collected at the time of the violation at $150 per inch of the tree’s DBH for required replacement trees, until the trees have been installed and have thrived for at least two years. Bonds will be returned upon a satisfactory review after the two-year guarantee period.
(5) Applicants may appeal the tree preservation process through the City PZC.
(H) Areas to be graded and seeded. All open areas in the development that are not sodded shall have a new lawn established through seeding in accordance with the following requirements.
(a) Fertilizer shall be standard commercial 10-8-6 or 10-6-4 grade (or approved equal), uniform in composition, free-flowing and suitable for application with proposed equipment.
(b) Turf grass seed mixture shall be a certified seed mix consisting of 30% Park Kentucky Bluegrass, 30% Dawson Creeping Red Fescue, 30% “Fults” Puccinelha distans, and 10% Pennfine Perennial Ryegrass, and shall be applied at the minimum rate of 180 pounds per acre. Any changes or substitutions must be approved by the City Planner.
(c) Native seed mix shall typically be an appropriate IDOT native seed mix, based on soil conditions, plant height, and maintenance capabilities. Specific seed mixes shall be approved by the City Planner, https://natseed.com/idot-seed-mix tures.htm
(2) Preparation of seed bed.
(a) In areas containing existing trees, grading and tilling activity shall be completed in a manner least disruptive to the health of the tree(s).
(b) After the areas to be seeded have been brought to proper grades, the areas shall be thoroughly tilled to a depth of at least three inches by discing, harrowing or other approved methods until the condition of the soil is acceptable.
(c) Fertilizer shall be distributed uniformly at the rate of 400 pounds per acre, and shall be incorporated into the soil to a depth of at least three inches by discing, harrowing or other approved methods.
(3) Seed planting. Planting shall be done by hydroseeding with a mulching material, unless otherwise approved by the City Planner, during March, April, the last two weeks of August, September, and the first two weeks of October; but no soil will be sown during high winds, nor until the surface is suitable for working and is in proper condition for seeding.
(I) Prohibited trees.
(1) Ash trees shall be prohibited within the city.
(2) Prohibited trees. The following trees shall not be allowed for planting unless otherwise approved by the City Planner:
(a) Elms (Siberian, Chinese);
(d) Box elders;
(e) Silver maples;
(J) Approved trees and shrubs for development sites.
(1) Tree and shrubs should be appropriate for the climate (USDA Zone 5b), sun exposure, and soils for the specific site. Additional information on selection of appropriate trees is available from the Morton Arboretum, https://www.mortonarb.org/trees-plants, or the Chicago Botanic Garden, https://www.chicagobotanic.org:plantcollections/plantfinder.
(2) The appendices provide a list of trees generally deemed appropriate for this region. Certain species listed in the appendices have special requirements that must be provided by the developer to ensure the trees survive in a healthy condition. These requirements may include well-drained soils, acid soils or other conditions. It is the developer’s responsibility to denote in the development plan or subdivision plat what measures, if any, have been taken to survey existing conditions to ensure compatibility with each planting species proposed, and what modifications, if any, are proposed to enhance existing conditions to ensure compatibility with each proposed species.
(3) All crippled, deformed and physically damaged trees, regardless of species, shall be removed and replaced if an inspection by the city indicates that recovery and normal development cannot be expected. All trees infected with non-curable disease that will result in deformation, death and infection of other trees shall be removed and replace with healthy species.
(4) The location of planting sites shall take into consideration height restrictions and overhead or underground utilities.
(K) Variety in planting.
(1) Diversification of tree species selection is desired to be as great as possible. No tree species should comprise more than 20% of the planting stock. Deviation from the above will be considered only after a written request is made to the Director of Public Works.
(2) An approved master tree-planting schedule shall be submitted and must be approved by the City Planner.
(L) Requirements for planting trees and shrubs on public property or as part of a development.
(a) All plants shall conform in size and grade to the “American Standard for Nursery Stock”, latest addition.
(b) All plants will be handled and planted in accordance with accepted horticultural practices and professional standards as published by the Illinois landscape Contractors Association in “A Uniform Set of Workmanship Standards in Landscape Specifications.”
(c) Specified varieties of any species shall be specimen-type trees and shall be first-class representatives of their normal species and varieties. They shall have well-developed root and branch systems, reasonably straight stems, and a well-defined single leader (except for clump varieties like River birch).
(d) Trees shall be nursery-grown with a good, compact, fully-developed, fibrous root system that has been developed by proper cultural treatment and is sufficient to ensure plant growth.
(e) Trees shall be a minimum trunk diameter of two and one-half inches, calipered at six inches above ground level. Trees shall be northern-nursery-grown (hardiness zone 5 USDA MAP). Trees shall have been transplanted twice, the last transplanting not less than four years prior to planting. All trees shall be tagged and identified as to species, size and place of origin. Tags shall remain in place until inspection and approval by the Public Works Department is done at the final planting site. The Public Works Department and City Planner reserve the right to inspect trees at the nursery prior to relocation. All trees shall be balled and burlapped. All trees shall have straight trunks and good branching. Branches shall begin from five to six feet above ground level, and shall be high-quality representatives of their species in all regards, including general shape.
(f) Each tree shall be planted plumb and at the same level as where it stood in the nursery in relation to finished grade. Backfill shall be black topsoil, properly fertilized with organic fertilizer, and shall be thoroughly watered when the hole is two-thirds filled with topsoil.
(g) All spoils shall be removed from the site.
(h) After watering, the filling shall be completed and the soil thoroughly tamped. After planting, a four-inch mulch of wood chips or an approved equal shall be applied over the disturbed ground and a shallow watering basin provided around the tree.
(i) All digging of trees in the nursery and all plantings shall be done during the proper season.
(j) Each tree shall be staked when determined to be necessary by the City Planner, with a two-inch-square stake, six-feet long. The stake shall be driven plum two feet into the ground, adjacent to the tree. Each tree shall be tied at the top with a figure-eight hitch, consisting of AWG #14 wire encased in a section of rubber hose at the tree. If necessary, guide wires shall be used where more support for the tree is needed.
(k) All trees shall be maintained until established. All trees not in a vigorous growing condition after one growing season shall be replaced at the beginning of the next succeeding planting season at no cost to the city.
(l) Tree pits shall be at least 18 inches wider than the diameter of the ball, shall have straight vertical sides, and a depth of at least 24 inches below grade.
(m) All trees of one and one-half inch caliper or greater shall be wrapped within 72 hours after planting. Trunks of the trees shall be wrapped spirally, from top to bottom, with waterproof crepe paper, and shall be securely tied with hemp cord at top and bottom, and at 12-inch intervals along the trunk. The wrap shall cover the trunk from the ground to the first branch, and shall be neat and snug.
(2) Location. No planting, fence or other obstruction to vision shall be maintained on a dedicated right-of-way, alley or other property if it is detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare.
(M) Landscape regulations for single-family, attached and detached dwellings.
(1) Single-family residences shall be landscaped, at a minimum, with the following per residential unit:
(a) Fully-sodded front and side yards.
(b) Seeding in rear yards (preferably sod).
(c) Foundation plantings are required for each unit’s front or side building facade facing a street (public or private). Such foundation plantings shall include a minimum of 40 plant units. Plant units shall be calculated as follows:
One ornamental tree (minimum 6' at time of planting) = 5 plant units
One large shrub (minimum 3' at time of planting) = 2 plant units
One small shrub (minimum 2' at time of planting) = 1 plant unit
Perennials and ground cover = ½ plant unit/100 square feet of area
(d) If site features will not allow planting of the required plant units in the side of the building facing a public or private street, they may be permitted to be planted elsewhere as approved on the landscape plan.
(e) All lots shall be landscaped to a minimum level provided by the builder/developer. Typical landscape plans for the landscaping of individual homes should be provided during the subdivision review process. Landscaping shall be installed within 12 months of the issuance of an occupancy permit for the residence.
(f) A minimum-20-foot landscape buffer shall be provided along all through lots within a neighborhood.
(N) Landscape regulations for single-family attached dwellings, multi-family buildings and any nonresidential building.
(1) Scope of regulations. The provisions of this section shall apply to developments occurring after the effective date of this section and any development that has not yet received preliminary or final site development plan approval.
(a) With the construction of single-family attached dwellings(s), new multi-family building(s), any other nonresidential building (excluding accessory buildings) or the construction of a parking lot of more than ten vehicles.
(b) If an existing parking lot serving the uses in division (N)(1)(a) is expanded by more than ten spaces, the regulations would apply to the area only being expanded, unless the expansion is 100% or more than the size of the existing lot, then the entire lot shall comply with the regulations.
(c) For any conforming or nonconforming building or use in existence on the effective date of this section that is subsequently damaged or destroyed by fire, collapse, explosion or other cause, and that is reconstructed, reestablished or repaired at a cost that exceeds 75% of the value of the building or use, landscaping shall be provided as required by this section. (See division (O) for special provisions in the C-4 Downtown Commercial District.)
(2) Landscape plan review.
(a) The Plan and Zoning Commission and City Council shall review and approve landscape plans in accordance with this section and other city ordinances for any development activity that would require a development plan review by the two bodies.
(b) Development activity not subject to Plan and Zoning Commission or City Council review shall require the submission of landscape plans to the Planning/Zoning/Building Department for review and approval prior to the issuance of a building permit.
(c) Any landscape plan submitted to meet the requirements of this chapter shall typically be prepared by a registered or professional landscape architect. Others preparing such plans shall provide evidence to the City Planner showing equivalent experience or competencies to prepare a landscape plan that meets city standards.
(d) The city recognizes the variety of developments and site configurations may warrant flexibility in applying standards set forth in this section. In instances where (1) unique site conditions, (2) visibility of businesses, (3) safe-site access, and (4) limitations on availability of plant material create a practical difficulty in meeting the standards of this section, the city may authorize deviations of not more than 25% from the requirements set forth in this chapter. Whenever such deviations are allowed or required, the city shall find that the intent of this chapter is met and the least amount of relief necessary shall be allowed. When a deviation is granted, it shall be noted on the face of the landscape plan the reasons for allowing or requiring deviation from the requirements of the divisions specified here.
(3) Natural landscape areas. The city encourages the establishment of public/private natural landscape areas managed for the purpose of prairie, reforestation, stormwater management, and/or wildlife habitat. Specifically, natural landscape areas provide a positive public benefit by reducing maintenance costs (no or limited mowing, pesticide applications, or irrigation), providing aesthetic variety in the community landscape, protection of local rare plant species, and encouraging a diversity of wildlife. The city encourages landscape plans that enhance and protect these areas from development. Plans shall include establishment and maintenance specifications for natural and no-mow areas that include a minimum of three years of maintenance by a certified natural landscape specialist with at least five years of experience maintaining similar installations.
(4) Landscape plan components. Landscape plans shall include the following:
(a) North point and scale;
(b) Topographic information and proposed grades. One-foot contours shall be shown for all proposed berms and stormwater detention ponds;
(c) The location and dimensions of all existing and proposed structures, parking lots, roadways, rights-of-way, sidewalks, bicycle-parking areas, paths, ground signs, refuse-disposal areas, fences, freestanding electrical equipment, and other freestanding structural features;
(d) The location and size of all existing landscaping to be preserved;
(e) The location, size, type and quantity of all proposed landscaping to be added.
(f) Specifications of the type and boundaries of all proposed ground cover;
(g) Elevation and location of all existing and proposed fences;
(h) Location of all existing and proposed utilities and easements;
(i) Location of any underground irrigation system.
(j) Pervious surface ratio;
(k) Proposed landscaped bed edges, including individual trees;
(l) Maintenance specifications for natural and no-mow areas.
(5) Right-of-way landscaping. Where a parcel abuts a dedicated right-of-way, landscaping in the right-of-way shall be in accordance with the provisions of § 153.50.150, Parkway Landscaping.
(6) Lot landscaping. All portions of a parcel not having a structure or pavement are to be landscaped with sod, grass or a protective ground cover that maintains the proposed, stormwater-run-off capabilities of the area.
(a) Interior parking lot landscaping.
1. Concrete-curbed, parking-lot landscaping areas (landscaped islands) shall be located at the end of each parking row. For larger parking lots, additional landscape islands shall be required to achieve a minimum ratio of one landscape island per 20 required parking spaces.
2. Landscape islands shall be a minimum of 128 square feet in area and a minimum of eight feet in width, as measured from back of curb to back of curb.
3. One shade tree of a minimum of two and one-half inch diameter, as measured six inches above the established ground level, shall be provided for each 128 square feet of landscape island. Every landscape island shall be fully planted with live plant material, such as shrubs, ground cover or perennials. The remaining area of the landscape island shall be covered with an organic mulch.
4. To ensure proper visibility within the parking lot, shrubs and perennials shall be no greater than 30 inches in height and the branches of trees shall start no less than six feet above the pavement.
5. Trees and shrubs with thorns are prohibited within the parking lot.
(b) Perimeter parking lot landscaping.
1. A minimum of a seven-foot-wide, landscaped area shall be provided adjacent to all parking lots. Such landscaped area shall be set back from the curb appropriately to accommodate snow storage.
2. Front and corner side yards.
a. Where a parking lot is located across a dedicated public right-of-way from property zoned for residential use, continuous landscaping shall be provided across 100% of the parking lot, to a minimum height of 30 inches. The landscaping shall consist of evergreen and deciduous shrubs and/or hedges, spaced at a maximum of four feet on center, pending mature size of plant species. Spacing may be varied, based on plant species, with approval of the City Planner.
b. Where a parking lot is located across a dedicated public right-of-way from property zoned for nonresidential use, landscaping shall be provided across 75% of the parking lot, to a minimum height of 24 inches. The landscaping shall consist of evergreen and deciduous shrubbery and/or hedges, spaced at a maximum of three feet on center, pending mature size of species selection.
c. Except where occupied by planting beds (including ground covers) and trees, all landscaping areas located in front and corner side yards shall be sodded.
3. Rear and interior side yards.
a. Abutting residential property. Where a parking lot abuts a property zoned for residential use, continuous landscaping shall be provided across 100% of the parking lot. The landscaping shall be consistent with a transition-yard screening described in this chapter, unless the parking lot is located more than 100 feet from the property line. Then the transition yard screening shall be provided along the property line, and the perimeter, parking-lot landscaping shall be the same as required by this chapter.
b. Abutting nonresidential property. Where a parking lot abuts a property zoned for nonresidential use, landscaping shall be provided across 50% of the parking lot, to a minimum height of 24 inches. The landscaping shall consist of evergreen or deciduous shrubs and hedges, spaced at a maximum of three feet on center, pending mature size of plant material. Shade trees of a minimum of two and one-half inches in diameter, as measured six inches above the established ground level, shall be spaced at the equivalent of not more than 50 feet apart along that portion of the parking lot abutting the nonresidential property, exclusive of access drives perpendicular to the lot lines.
c. Ground cover. Except where occupied by planting beds (including ground covers) and trees, all landscaping areas shall be sodded or seeded with turf grass.
(c) Perimeter lot/development landscaping. Perimeter landscaping shall be required for all lots/development, other than one- and two-family dwellings, in accordance with the provisions of this division.
1. Trees. Shade trees of a minimum of two and one-half inches in diameter, as measured six inches above the established ground level, and/or evergreen trees a minimum of six feet in height, shall be spaced at the equivalent of not more than 50 feet apart along the abutting property line, exclusive of access drives perpendicular to the lot line.
2. Ground covers. Except where occupied by planting beds (including ground covers) and trees, all landscaping areas shall be sodded or seeded with turf grass.
(d) Transitional yard screening.
1. Appropriate transitional yards and continuous screening/buffering is required in the following instances:
a. When nonresidential uses or structures abut a residence or residential zoning district.
b. Where a single-family, attached dwelling or multi-family structures abut a single, detached, single-family residential building(s).
c. When double-frontage rear yards are created along arterial or collector streets.
d. A minimum-30-foot, landscape buffer shall be provided along the perimeter lines of any neighborhood, when such line abuts a public street, unless fronted by residences from the development. Planting plans shall consider the use proposed within the neighborhood, either increasing the density of plantings when residential lots back to a perimeter road, or controlling the density of plants when ponds or other desirable open space abuts the perimeter road.
e. In manufacturing districts, a minimum of a 15-foot-wide, landscape strip shall be provided along all street frontages consisting of a berm and dense landscaping.
2. The screening of 100 linear feet of transition yard should have a minimum of three shade trees, nine ornamental or evergreen trees, and 21 deciduous or evergreen shrubs, and 200 square feet of native or ornamental grasses. In areas where native seeding is the predominate ground cover, the shrubs and perennials shall be replaced by an additional three ornamental or evergreen trees. Appropriate tree types shall be selected for the native environment.
3. Methods of screening should include:
a. An earthen berm;
b. Mass plantings of native or ornamental grasses of a species that can normally be expected to reach a height of six feet, having a minimum height of three feet at the time of planting;
c. Evergreen trees having a minimum height of six feet at the time of planting;
d. Ornamental trees having a minimum of two and one-half inches diameter, as measured six inches above the established ground level, or six feet tall as a clump species.
e. Shade trees having a minimum of two and one-half inches diameter, as measured six inches above the established ground level.
f. Fencing may also be approved by the City Planner for required screening.
(e) Foundation plantings for commercial properties.
1. Where a building is located adjacent to a right-of-way, the foundation areas of the building shall include a mulched landscape area. This landscape area can be in planter boxes constructed of the same material as the adjacent portion of the building.
2. Building walls adjacent to a right-of-way shall contain foundation plantings for a minimum of 50% of the length of the building wall (except for entrances), and shall contain landscaping in an area a minimum of ten feet in depth.
3. Building walls that are not adjacent to a right-of-way that are adjacent to driveways or parking spaces (except loading areas) shall contain foundation plantings for a minimum of 50% of the length of the building wall, and shall contain landscaping in an area a minimum of five feet in depth.
4. When an outdoor use is located adjacent to the right-of-way, the entire length of the use area shall be landscaped per the building foundation requirements.
5. Where any screen wall or fence is required, the landscaped area shall be located between the property line and the wall or fence.
(f) Screening of refuse-disposal areas.
1. All refuse-disposal and grease-storage containers shall be fully screened on all four sides to a height of six feet. The enclosure shall be used strictly for the confinement of refuse and grease containers, and shall not be used for the outside storage of any other materials or equipment. No refuse screening areas shall be constructed of chain link. Commercial-grade wood fence, masonry wall or equivalent material may be used. When the enclosure is designed to serve a new or reconstructed principal building, the enclosure shall be a solid wall constructed of wood or masonry, using materials, colors and patterns consistent with the exterior of the principal building. Single-family, attached and detached residences, utilizing curbside service, are exempt from the above screening requirements.
2. Certain lots within the city, particularly lots within the downtown area, may lack sufficient space for such enclosures. In cases where there are unique circumstances that make their installation impractical, including but not limited to, the lack of useable area on the zoning lot, or a location being completely hidden from public view, the Zoning Administrator may grant a waiver of the requirement, upon receipt of the owner’s written request and explanation of the hardship. Prior to granting a waiver, the Zoning Administrator shall determine that all reasonably feasible measures have been taken to mitigate any negative impacts caused by the placement of dumpsters, grease containers, or any other solid waste-disposal receptacles.
3. Section 52.07(R), Location of storage facilities, of the City Code regulates where storage facilities shall be stored on a lot.
(g) Outside storage areas. All outside storage areas shall be screened by a solid fence, and shall have:
1. Continuous landscaping across 100% of the fencing, and shall be consistent with a transition yard screening described in this chapter. If the fence is located more than 100 feet from the side or rear property line, then the transition yard screening shall be provided along the property line, and the landscaping along the fence shall be as otherwise specified in this chapter.
2. Storage or parking of vehicles or equipment. Where vehicles or equipment are being stored or parked in an area where the vehicle or equipment would extend higher than the top of the fence that is providing screening to the adjacent parcel or right-of-way, then additional trees shall be provided to screen the top(s) of the vehicles or equipment that extend higher than the fence.
(O) Downtown Commercial District. The C-4 Downtown Commercial District is unique in that it contains historic buildings and structures, small narrow lots, buildings with no setbacks, and a pedestrian zone. Because of these factors, landscape treatment will differ from other parts of the city and within the downtown district itself.
(1) Pedestrian zone/parkways. The area between the fronts of buildings and the street shall be considered as the pedestrian zone. Recommendations in the latest edition of the streetscape plan shall be used as a guide in determining the landscape treatment of the pedestrian zone in the Downtown Commercial District.
(2) Parking lots. Because of the small narrow lots in the Downtown Commercial District, the creation of parking lots may not always be able to provide the desired landscaping provided for in this chapter. Since parking spaces are important to the Downtown Commercial District, all parking lots should be designed towards achieving the maximum number of parking with proper traffic circulation. Landscaping of parking lots shall be required for the areas not needed for parking spaces or circulation. If possible, the landscaping of these areas should be in accordance with this chapter. If the landscaping cannot be installed according to this chapter, a variance will not have to be obtained, provided that the landscaping proposed is the most appropriate and beneficial to the area, as determined by the City Planner.
(P) Alternative landscaping. If, in the sole determination of the Zoning Administrator, certain requirements of this section cannot be met because of specific site or layout conditions, the applicant may, in coordination with the City Planner, or their designee, provide an alternative landscaping plan. The alternative plan shall provide appropriate landscape treatments of equal or greater aesthetic quality in order to meet the intent of this code, as will be determined by the Zoning Administrator.
(Q) Change to approved landscape plan. Any change to, or deviation from, an approved landscape plan, that is in conformance with this chapter, shall require the approval of the Zoning Administrator. If the Zoning Administrator finds the change to be substantial or significantly different than the original approval, the Zoning Administrator may refer the decision to the Department or Commission that approved the plan (e.g., the Department of Community/Economic Development or the Plan and Zoning Commission). Changes that do not conform to this chapter shall be subject to the procedures for a variance as established in § 153.10.050.
(R) Landscape maintenance. The owner, tenant or their agent shall be responsible for the maintenance of all landscaping located on the site required by the provision of this section, or by any approved development plan for the site. Landscaping shall be maintained in good condition to present a healthy, neat and orderly appearance, and shall be kept free from refuse and debris. Any dead or severely damaged or diseased plant shall be replaced by the owner, tenant or their agent no later than the next planting season for the plant or plants in question. An alternative plant species for the replacement planting may be permitted if approved by the City Planner.
(S) Landscaping assurance. With the understanding that certain reasonable conditions (e.g., season, unavailability of landscape materials, inclement weather, and the like) may not allow required landscaping to be completed prior to the issuance of the first occupancy permit, landscaping assurances shall be required in accordance with the provisions of this division.
(1) The developer/owner shall provide, in writing, the reasons why the required landscaping cannot be completed prior to the issuance of the first occupancy permit, and the date all landscaping will be completed.
(2) The protective ground cover shall be installed within 60 days, once the first occupancy permit is issued. The Director of Public Works and Engineering, or designee, can grant an extension if inclement weather exists. Occupancy permits issued over the winter months shall require that the protective ground cover is installed by June 15.
(3) The landscape installer shall provide an itemized cost estimate of all the landscaping to be completed.
(4) Prior to the issuance of the first occupancy permit, the developer/owner shall provide assurance via a signed affidavit that the required landscaping will be completed.
(5) The developer/owner can deposit with the city a cash escrow, performance bond, or a letter of credit in the amount of 115% of the cost estimate of the approved landscape plan. If the developer/owner does not complete the landscaping by the stated date it was to be completed, the city may use the cash escrow or call the surety bond or letter of credit to contract with a landscaping company to complete the landscaping to meet city standards, or take legal action against the developer/owner.
(6) All landscape material shall be guaranteed for a period of one year after initial planting.
(7) Natural and no-mow areas shall meet the establishment and maintenance requirements included in the landscape plan at the end of three years. If the areas do not meet the specifications, the developer, if in existence, will be required to amend the area to meet the requirements. If the developer is no longer in business, the successor business is responsible. If neither party exists, the city will require that the homeowners association make the required amendments.
CALIPER. The diameter of a tree measured at six inches from the ground. This term is usually used for established trees four inches in diameter and less, and for all single-stemmed nursery trees purchased for planting.
CITY AGENT. This consultant shall be selected by the City Council for the review of the landscape regulations as specified herein for development plans. The consultant may be a landscape architect, arborist or forester, or whoever holds the specific qualifications determined to be required by the specific characteristics of a project.
DIAMETER OF BREAST HEIGHT (DBH). The diameter of a tree measured at four and one-half feet from the ground, used for established trees greater than four inches in diameter. Multi-stem trees are measured individually, and the diameters are added, per ISA standards.
INTERIOR PARKING LOT LANDSCAPE AREA. Unpaved landscaped areas within a parking lot, as opposed to the perimeter of the parking lot.
ISA. International Society of Arboriculture, the international professional organization that sets standards for arboriculture.
LANDSCAPING. The existing and/or proposed features of real estate intended to enhance and/or buffer a development, including but not limited to, trees, shrubs, lawns, rocks, berming, waterways, fences, and the like.
LARGE SHRUB. A deciduous or evergreen shrub that is a minimum of three feet in height at the time of planting.
NATURAL LANDSCAPE AREA. An area of land where natural vegetation customarily found in Northeast Illinois can grow and exist with minimal human intervention.
ORNAMENTAL TREE. A deciduous tree planted primarily for its ornamental value or for screening purposes; tends to be smaller at maturity than a shade tree.
PARKING LOT. All paved areas on a property other than detached, single-family and attached, single-family residential lots, and intended to be used for parking spaces, maneuvering aisles, and service drives.
PARKWAY. The area of the public right-of-way between the property line and the roadway.
PARKWAY TREE. A tree permitted under § 153.50.150 and planted within a parkway.
PERIMETER PARKING LOT LANDSCAPE AREA. The area around the perimeter of a parking lot, extending from the property line to the nearest edge of the parking lot.
PERIMETER LANDSCAPE AREA. The area around the periphery of a property, extending from the property line to the nearest building face, but not including parking lots or perimeter parking lot landscape areas.
SHADE TREE. A deciduous tree planted primarily for its high crown of foliage or overhead canopy.
SMALL SHRUB. A dwarf variety or deciduous or evergreen shrub normally measured by spread and at least two feet in height/spread at the time of planting.
SPACE AT THE EQUIVALENT OF. The procedure used to calculate the required number of trees, by taking the total measurement in feet of a dimension, divided by the amount of feet apart the trees are to be spaced. If a fraction of required trees is 0.5 or above, round up to the next whole number; if a fraction of required trees is less than 0.5, round down to the next whole number.
TURF GRASS. Areas of mown, ground-cover grasses primarily consisting of bluegrass, fescue and rye grass.
USDA. United States Department of Agriculture.
(U) City agent review fee. The applicant/developer shall pay all costs and fees incurred by the city in connection with the city’s agent plan review and inspections, if required, associated with the project.
(Ord. 21-021, passed 8-18-21)