18.73.040   Screening and bufferyard requirements.
   A.   Scope:
      1.   Land use zones permitted by this code are ranked according to their land use intensity and restrictiveness (reference Section 18.05.010B). Ranking is based on the type and degree of nuisance or negative impact the more intensive use is likely to impose on less intensive, adjacent land uses. Bufferyards shall be provided between uses to minimize the negative effects of their dissimilarity.
   B.   Bufferyards:
      1.   Purpose: Both the amount of land and the type and amount of planting specified for each bufferyard requirement are designed to ameliorate nuisances between adjacent land uses or between a land use and public street or road, yet to be designed to promote appropriate linkages to compatible land uses and public streets or roads. Appropriate linkages include, but are not limited to design that promotes pedestrian and bicycle path connectivity including safe routes.
   C.   Location of bufferyards:
      1.   Bufferyards shall be located on the outer perimeter of a lot or parcel, extending to the lot or parcel boundary line.
      2.   Portions of required bufferyards shall not be located on an existing or dedicated public or private street right-of-way. However, portions of bufferyards in excess of the bufferyard requirement as determined by Table 18.73-1 and the bufferyard standards illustrated in the Landscape Design Manual may be located on an existing or dedicated public or private street or right-of-way in accordance with the department of transportation's adopted subdivision street standards, board of supervisors Policy F 54.1 Planting in Pima County Right-of-Way, as amended, which includes review and approval of a right-of-way use permit or licensing through the Pima County Department of Transportation Real Property Division.
   D.   Determination of bufferyard requirements:
      1.   To determine the type of bufferyard required between the project site and adjacent parcels, or between the project site and an adjacent street, the following procedure shall be followed:
         a.   Identify the land use zone category of the proposed use on Table 18.73-1, "Bufferyard Requirements," codified in this chapter, and located in the landscape design manual,
         b.   Identify the land use zone category of the existing land use zones adjacent to the proposed use on Table 18.73-1,
         c.   Identify any adjacent street as private, public, major route, and/or scenic route.
         d.   Determine the bufferyard required on each boundary (or segment thereof) of the subject parcel by referring the indicated letter designation from Table 18.73-1 to the bufferyard standards illustrated in the landscape design manual.
      2.   Bufferyard specifications detailed and illustrated in the manual constitute the bufferyard required between the two adjacent land uses. Any of the options contained in the letter designated bufferyard shall satisfy the requirement of buffering between the adjacent land uses. The width of the bufferyard can vary, or meander, provided that the average bufferyard width is not less than the required bufferyard width when measured along any single lineal bufferyard. If a developer is providing pedestrian or bicycle connectivity through a bufferyard to an adjacent site, street or right-of-way, the required wall height within the bufferyard can be lowered to forty-two inches.
      3.   Responsibility for bufferyard:
         a.   When a use is the first to develop on two adjacent vacant parcels, this first use shall provide the required buffer,
         b.   The second use to develop shall, at the time it develops, provide any additional plant material and land necessary to provide any additional bufferyard required between those two uses.
      4.   Existing plant material, structures and land located on the preexisting (first developed) land use which meets the requirements of this chapter may be counted as contributing to the total bufferyard between it and the second (adjacent) land use to develop.
   E.   Use of bufferyards:
      1.   A bufferyard may be used for passive recreation; it may contain sculpture, furniture and pedestrian, bike or equestrian trails, provided that:
         a.   No plant material is eliminated,
         b.   The total width of the bufferyard is maintained, and
         c.   All other regulations of this chapter are met.
      2.   In no event shall the following uses be permitted in bufferyards:
         a.   Playfields,
         b.   Stables,
         c.   Swimming pools,
         d.   Racquetball and tennis courts.
   F.   Bufferyard options:
      1.   Where the bufferyard originally required between a land use and vacant land turns out to be greater than that bufferyard subsequently required between the first use and the subsequently developed use, the following applies:
         a.   The subsequent establishment of compatible adjacent land uses, as indicated in Table 18.73-1, may eliminate the requirement for a bufferyard. If the requirement is reduced, but not eliminated, the existing use may expand into the excess buffer area, provided that the resulting total bufferyard between the two uses meets the revised bufferyard requirements;
      2.   Property owners may enter into agreements, subject to the approval of the county, with abutting landowners to use adjoining land to provide some or all of a required bufferyard. The total buffer shall equal the requirements of this chapter. Nonconforming uses and plats shall not be created, expanded or allowed by this option, nor shall designated, platted open space be compromised. Agreements must run with the land, be approved by the planning department, and be recorded with the county recorder.
      3.   Contractual reduction of a bufferyard abutting vacant land. When development requiring a development plan or subdivision plat is proposed adjacent to vacant land and the owner of that vacant land enters into a contractual relationship with the owner of the land that is to be developed first, a reduced buffer may be provided by the first use, provided that: the contract contains a recorded agreement whereby that vacant landowner shall assume all responsibility for any additional buffer, if needed by the subsequent development of a more or less intense use on the vacant property.
      4.   A bufferyard is not required in either of the following cases, provided, however, a six-foot-high decorative masonry wall is constructed in lieu of the bufferyard, and the wall requirement is noted on the approved subdivision plat and landscape plan:
         a.   Where a proposed residential development has the same or less density or where the individual lot size along the abutting lots is equal to, or less than the adjacent residential property;
         b.   Where a bufferyard is required along the side or rear yard of an individual residential lot abutting an internal street.
(Ord. 2009-98 § 2 (part), 2009; Ord. 2006-97 § 1 (part), 2006; Ord. 2005-35 § 4, 2005; Ord. 1996-59 § 4, 1996; Ord. 1994-147 § 8, 1994; Ord. 1994-133 § 1, 1994; Ord. 1990-1 § 1 (part), 1990; Ord. 1987-92 § 1 (part), 1987; Ord. 1985-171 § 1 (part), 1985)