(A)   Intent.  In order to mitigate visual impacts on adjacent uses, particularly residential uses, and to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community through the reduction of noise, air and visual pollution, any change in use, or any new, or substantially expanded use, shall provide parking lot landscaping and perimeter buffering in compliance with the requirements of this subchapter.
   (B)   Applicability.  All proposed new or modified parking lot areas located in any zoning district adding five or more new parking spaces shall comply with these parking lot landscaping and perimeter buffering requirements.
   (C)   Standards.  Parking lot landscaping and perimeter buffering for any outdoor parking areas shall be provided in accordance with this chapter.
      (1)   Responsibility for installation shall be with the person in control of developing the project whether as owner, lessee, tenant, or otherwise.
      (2)   Required locations.  Perimeter buffering and landscaping shall be provided between the vehicle use area and the public right-of-way; between vehicular use areas and private street easements; in side and rear yards between non-residential and residential uses; and, in side and rear yards between multi-family uses and single-family uses.  Interior landscaping for vehicular use areas shall be provided in all parking areas.
      (3)   Unless specifically approved by Planning Commission, no structure shall be permitted in a required landscape area other than a wall, fence, or earth berm.
   (D)   Landscaping and buffering plan required. When required by the site plan review requirements set forth in §§ 153.160 through 153.168, a landscaping and buffering plan shall be prepared and included in drawings submitted for Planning Commission approval as part of the regular site plan review process. The landscaping and buffering plan shall be prepared by a landscape architect registered in the State of Ohio and shall include those applicable contents required in §§ 153.190 through 153.201 in addition to the following information:
      (1)   Name of the applicant/owner;
      (2)   Name, address and phone number of the person or firm responsible for the preparation of the landscaping and buffering plan;
      (3)   Material to be removed or retained; and
      (4)   Tabular listings of existing plant material to be retained and proposed plant material within the buffer yard or landscape area with typical planting details for trees, shrubs and ground cover within the landscaped area.
   (E)   Approval.  No site plan approval will be issued by the Planning Commission, and no zoning permit will be issued by the Zoning Enforcement Officer until the landscaping and buffering plan has received final approval.  Approval of the landscaping and buffering plan is conditioned upon satisfaction of the following criteria:
      (1)   Landscaping and perimeter buffering material shall be fully installed on the site by completion of construction; or
      (2)   If not feasible due to seasonal conditions, within one planting season after completion of construction.  A guarantee agreement regarding the postponed improvement must be secured with a letter of credit, cash escrow or other instrument in an amount equal to the cost of such installation.
   (F)   Perimeter parking lot landscaping.  Parking lots containing five spaces or more shall provide perimeter landscaping meeting the following minimum requirements:
      (1)   These perimeter landscape and buffer areas shall consist of earth mounds, decorative fences or masonry walls, vegetative screens or combinations of these sufficient to screen views of vehicular use areas. The minimum width of any perimeter landscape or buffer area shall be six feet. Perimeter landscaping shall be designed to provide a minimum of 50% opacity upon installation and minimum of 70% opacity at maturity. Perimeter landscape buffering shall contain evergreen and deciduous plant materials as approved by the Planning Commission in consideration of desired opacity and need for year-round screening.  Material shall be kept neat and trimmed throughout the entire year.
      (2)   In order to retain visibility along public rights-of-ways, trees shall have a clear trunk of at least five feet above the ground.  Shrubs and other landscape material shall not exceed three feet unless approved by the Planning Commission.
   (G)   Interior landscaping.  Interior landscaping which meets the following requirements shall be provided for parking areas containing more than 6,000 square feet of paved area or more than 20 vehicular parking spaces, whichever is less.  Interior landscaping is required in addition to perimeter landscaping.
      (1)   For every ten parking spaces or fraction thereof, the applicant shall provide not less than 200 square feet of interior landscaped parking lot area containing at least one tree with a minimum caliper of three inches and two shrubs within each individual landscape area. For example, a parking lot containing 30 parking spaces would be required to install a minimum of 600 square feet of landscape area containing a minimum of three trees and six shrubs.
      (2)   In order to assure that landscape areas are properly dispersed and to break up large expanses of parking pavement, no individual landscape area shall be larger than 500 square feet in size in vehicle use areas less than 30,000 square feet and no individual area shall be larger than 2,000 square feet in vehicular use areas larger than 30,000 square feet.
      (3)   Curbs or parking stops shall be provided to prohibit bumpers and bodies of parked vehicles from over-hanging an interior landscape area by more than two and one-half feet.
   (H)   Landscape and buffering waivers.
      (1)   In its consideration of modifications from the requirements of these landscape and buffering regulations, the Planning Commission shall consider unique site conditions, setbacks, line of sight, noise, nuisance or site aesthetics. Financial hardship shall not constitute a factor in considering a waiver.
      (2)   A request to modify any of the requirements under this section shall be made in writing to the Planning Commission by the applicant and shall provide a detailed statement regarding the unique nature and circumstances warranting the requested modifications.
(Ord. 09-3306, passed 10-15-09; Am. Ord. 12-3352, passed 3-15-12)