§ 723  LANDSCAPING.
   (A)   All landscaping required by this chapter or imposed by the Board of Review or Planning Board as a condition of the grant of any special use permit, variance or approval of any land development project, shall be installed prior to the issuance of any certificate of use and occupancy.
   (B)   Prior to issuance of the certificate of use and occupancy, the Building Official shall inspect the development and determine if the approved or required landscape plan has been installed in a satisfactory manner. The Building Official shall consult with, and request a report by, the Middletown Tree Commission in making this determination.
   (C)   If for any reason, the required or approved landscape improvements are not fully installed at the time of issuance of the certificate of occupancy, the owner or the owner's agent shall provide an improvement guarantee to secure the satisfaction of all landscape requirements.
      (1)   The amount of the improvement guarantee shall be 150% of the estimated cost of completion of all landscaping and associated finish grading, shall be based on actual cost estimates for all required landscape improvements and shall be reviewed and approved by the Building Official.
      (2)   The Building Official shall deliver any such cost estimates, which serve as a basis for improvement guarantee, to the Middletown Tree Commission for their review and comment.
      (3)   The improvement guarantee shall be a security instrument in a form acceptable to the Finance Director which enables the town to gain timely access to the secured funds for cause, and which contains such conditions as are necessary to secure for the town the complete installation of all required landscaping.
      (4)   The improvement guarantee shall set forth a definite time by which the required landscape improvements shall be completed.
   (D)   If the Building Official determines that the landscape improvements have been installed in a satisfactory manner, in the time prescribed, he shall authorize release of the improvement guarantee.
      (1)   Prior to the release of the improvement guarantee, the owner or owner's agent shall post a maintenance guarantee. The maintenance guarantee shall be equal to 50% of the cost for all landscaping improvements as evidenced by actual invoices, or alternatively, actual cost estimates as referenced in divisions (C)(1) and (2) above. The maintenance guarantee shall guarantee the durability of the landscape improvements for a period of one year from the release of the improvement guarantee.
      (2)   If the required landscaping has been installed prior to the issuance of a certificate of use and occupancy, and no improvement guarantee is required, the owner or owner's agent shall post a maintenance guarantee prior to issuance of the certificate of use and occupancy. The maintenance guarantee shall be equal to 50% of the cost of all landscaping improvements as evidenced by actual invoices or in the alternative, actual cost estimates as referenced in divisions (C)(1) and (2) above. The maintenance guarantee shall guarantee the durability of the landscape improvements for a period of one year from the issuance of the certificate of use and occupancy.
      (3)   At the conclusion of the one year maintenance period the Building Official shall inspect the landscape improvements and shall request the Middletown Tree Commission to review and comment upon improvements. If the Building Official finds the improvements to be acceptable he shall so certify in writing to the Finance Director to release the maintenance guarantee. If at the conclusion of the one year maintenance period the Building Official determines the improvements to be in an unacceptable condition, he/she may grant an extension of time for the owner or agent to bring those improvements to an acceptable condition.
   (E)   The town shall hold the owner or agent in default of the improvement or maintenance guarantee should any one or more of the following conditions occur:
      (1)   Failure to complete the required landscape improvements in the time prescribed;
      (2)   Failure of the landscape improvements to survive for the one year maintenance period, or failure to protect improvements or repair damage to improvements occurring during the development or the one year maintenance period.
   (F)   Should any of the conditions set forth in division (E) above be found to exist, the Building Official shall certify in writing to the Finance Director that the owner is in default and the extent of any noncompliance.
   (G)   Upon receipt of such certification the Finance Director shall execute such portion of the improvement or maintenance guarantee, as may be necessary, to correct any deficiency for which the owner was held in default.
   (H)   For the purposes of this section, the terms LANDSCAPE PLAN, LANDSCAPE IMPROVEMENT or LANDSCAPING, shall mean and include the planting, location and/or installation of all trees, shrubs, grass, turf, other plantings, fencing, stone walls and aesthetic barriers, and completion of finish grading associated therewith and, where applicable, the maintenance and preservation of existing vegetation.
(Ord. passed 10-30-06)