(a)   Intent. The intent of this Section is to establish provisions for a visual screen or buffer between incompatible uses and to reduce the effects of glare from automobile headlights, noise, and other objectionable activities conducted on a given lot.
   (b)   Screening. Screening, as required by the provisions of this Code, shall be of such nature and density that it will screen the activities on the lot from view from the normal level of a first story window on an abutting lot.
   (c)   When Required. A buffer yard shall be required when:
      (1)   A lot in the Retail Business District abuts the Dwelling House District;
      (2)   A lot in the Townhouse District abuts the Dwelling House District;
      (3)   A lot in the Dwelling House District is devoted to a non-residential, conditional use;
      (4)   Mandated by the Conditional Use Regulations in Chapter 1177; and,
      (5)   Any wall of a non-residential building in a Retail Business District faces or is across the street from a Dwelling House District, screening shall be installed along the full length of such street frontage. No screening shall be required when the Retail Business District lot is either not in use or is used for residential purposes.
   (d)   Width of Buffer Yard. The width of the buffer yard shall be equal to ten (10) feet.
   (e)   Location. The buffer yard shall be located entirely within the higher intensity zoning district or use and abutting the zoning district line or lot line of the lower intensity use. However, the buffer yard may be placed in the lower intensity zoning district or partially within both zoning districts if both sides of the zoning district line and the entire buffer yard width are within common ownership and a permanent easement is provided over any portion of the buffer yard not within the higher intensity zoning district. If a buffer yard is located in a residential development that has an owners' association or other similar legal entity, all buffer yards shall be located in open space owned by the association or in an open space easement controlled by the owners' association.
   (f)   Buffer Yard Abutting an Adjacent Jurisdiction. When property lines abut an adjacent jurisdiction, the Planning Commission shall determine the specific screening and buffering requirements along that property line after consideration of the zoning designation and or land use of the adjacent property. Requirements shall not exceed those that would be required for similarly situated/zoned property within the Village of Moreland Hills.
   (g)   Screening. When the natural vegetation within the required buffer yard does not form a solid, continuous, visual screen or does not have a minimum height of five (5) feet along the entire length of the common boundary at the time of occupancy, except as provided for in sub-section (g)(3)B. below, screening shall be installed in compliance with the following:
      (1)   Screening materials. Screening design and development shall be compatible with the existing and proposed land use and development character of the surrounding land and structures. Screening within the buffer yard shall consist of one or more or combination thereof of the following:
         A.   A dense vegetative planting incorporating trees and/or shrubs of a variety which shall be equally effective in winter and summer. Trees and/or shrubs shall be adequately spaced to form a solid, continuous visual screen within one (1) year after the initial installation. At a minimum, at the time of planting, the spacing of trees shall not exceed twelve (12) feet on center, and the planting pattern shall be staggered. Shrubbery shall be more closely spaced.
         B.   Non-living opaque structures, such as a solid masonry wall, that is compatible with the principal structure or a solid wood fence together with a landscaped area at least fifteen (15) feet wide. For solid fences, fences shall be designed, constructed, and finished so that the supporting members face the property owner of the fence and they shall be maintained in good condition, be structurally sound, and attractively finished at all times.
         C.   An ornamental fence with openings through which light and air may pass together with a landscaped area at least fifteen (15) feet wide. A chain link fence shall not be permitted.
         D.   A landscaped mound or berm with no more than a 2.5:1 slope.
      (2)   Installation of screening. Screening shall be continuous and in place at the time of occupancy. If vehicular or pedestrian access through the screen is necessary, the screening function shall be preserved.
      (3)   Height of screening. The height of screening shall be in accordance with the following:
         A.   Visual screening by walls, fences, or mounds in combination with vegetation, fences or walls shall be a minimum of five (5) feet high measured from the natural grade on any adjacent residential lot, except as set forth in sub-section (g)(3)B. below.
         B.   Whenever the required screening is located within a front yard or within twenty-five (25) feet of a parking lot, drive, or driveway entrance, the required screening shall not exceed a height of three (3) feet.
         C.   When used alone, vegetation shall be a minimum of five (5) feet high, as measured from the natural grade on any adjacent residential lot, in order to accomplish the desired screening effect. The required height shall be achieved no later than one (1) year after the initial installation.
   (h)   Modifications to Buffering and Screening Requirements. Buffer yards required by this Chapter shall be applied equally to all similarly situated properties. The Planning Commission is empowered to modify the above buffer yard and screening requirements when it determines that:
      (1)   Natural land characteristics, such as topography or existing vegetation on the proposed building site, would achieve the same intent as this Section.
      (2)   Innovative landscaping or architectural design is employed on the building site to achieve an equivalent screening and buffering effect.
      (3)   The required screening and landscaping 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 as to render required screening ineffective at maturity.
      (5)   It can be clearly demonstrated that it is highly improbable that the abutting property will be developed for residential purposes due to circumstances that have taken place since the adoption of this Code.
         (Ord. 2012-21. Passed 7-11-12.)