(a)   Materials.  Landscape buffering may include, but shall not be limited to, trees, shrubs, bushes, grass cover, earth berms, or a combination thereof.
   (b)   Screening. Screening shall consist of plant material or other nonliving durable landscape material. When this section applies to screening of all utility structures, as required by Section 1260.15, screening shall consist of adequate plant material comparable to those plants described in paragraphs (e) and (f) herein below. The screening shall be appropriately maintained by the property owner. Said plantings shall be warranted by the utility company for a period of no less than eighteen months. Thereafter, the screening shall be appropriately maintained by the property owner.
   (c)   Buffered Areas.
      (1)   Location and width.  Buffering areas shall be located on those less restrictive portions of land bordering or abutting a more restrictive zoned or use district and shall be a minimum of ten feet in width.
      (2)   Use.  Designated buffered areas shall be used for no other purpose than plantings or screening, except for necessary ingress to or egress from the buffered area.
      (3)   Design.  A buffered area shall be designed to permit access to easement tracts by the grantees to perform the functions for which such easements were granted and to facilitate use of such easement areas for fire protection purposes.
   (d)   Fences and Walls.  Fences shall be acceptable as part of a landscape buffer where traffic noise and lights create a need for a buffer.  When used they shall be of a decorative style and type.  Walls and berms shall be used only in most unusual cases, as one of several options to the developer to fulfill the buffering requirement.
   (e)   Natural Planting Requirements.  Where natural plantings are used to provide a landscape buffer, such plantings shall provide eighty percent summer opacity and sixty percent winter opacity when viewed from two to ten feet above ground level.
   (f)   Buffering Effect.  The desired buffering effect shall be achieved not later than twelve months after the initial installation.  The Planning Commission may extend this period of time when a hardship would be created because of expected growth or material shortages, but the Commission shall not extend such period beyond two growing seasons from the time the initial installation was to have been or has been installed.
   (g)   Modification of Requirements.  The Commission may modify or change the location of a buffered area contiguous to side and rear property lines where topographical problems prevent the installation of buffer materials or plantings, if confirmed by the City Engineer.
(Ord. 1982-129.  Passed 3-16-83; Ord. 05-58. Passed 7-19-05.)