(A)   Purpose and objectives. The preservation of existing trees and vegetation as well as the planting of new trees and vegetation can significantly add to the quality of the physical environment of the community. This section provides for the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the city and is intended to:
      (1)   Promote the reestablishment of vegetation in urban areas for aesthetic, health and urban wildlife reasons;
      (2)   Establish and enhance a pleasant visual character which recognizes aesthetics and safety issues;
      (3)   Promote compatibility between land uses by reducing the visual, noise and lighting impacts of specific development on users of the site and abutting uses;
      (4)   Unify development, and enhance and define public and private spaces;
      (5)   Promote the retention and use of existing vegetation;
      (6)   Aid in energy conservation by providing shade from the sun and shelter from the wind; and
      (7)   Reduce flooding and erosion by stabilizing soils with trees and vegetation.
   (B)   Landscaping plan. A landscaping plan shall be submitted at the time of site plan / preliminary plat review for any:
      (1)   New development or new building construction in any commercial, industrial, single-family residential, multiple-family residential, public/ institutional or planned unit development.
      (2)   Modification or expansion of a building or improvements to a site, and/or when there is a change in land use. Landscaping requirements shall be applied to those portions of the site that are directly affected by the proposed improvements, or change in land use, as determined by the Zoning Administrator. In all cases appropriate screening and buffering shall be provided for the entire site.
      (3)   No building permit for any construction shall be issued until a landscape plan is approved and a security is obtained by the city. Guidelines for the security are found in division (G) of this section.
   (C)   General plan requirements. Landscape plans shall be prepared by a landscape architect or other qualified person acceptable to the Zoning Administrator at a legible scale and shall include the following:
      (1)   Boundary lines of the property with accurate dimensions;
      (2)   Locations of existing and proposed buildings, parking lots, roads and other improvements;
      (3)   Proposed grading plan with two-foot contour intervals;
      (4)   Location, size and common name of all existing ‘significant’ trees at least eight inches in diameter or greater as measured 54 inches above the ground. (For changes to developed sites, the location, size and common name of all trees and shrubs on the site must be identified.);
      (5)   A planting schedule containing symbols, quantities, common and botanical names, size of plant materials, root condition and special planting instructions;
      (6)   Planting details illustrating proposed locations of all new plant materials;
      (7)   Locations and details of other landscape features including berms, fences and planter boxes;
      (8)   Details of restoration of disturbed areas including areas to be sodded or seeded;
      (9)   Location and details of irrigation systems; and
      (10)   Details and cross-sections of all required screening.
   (D)   Design standards and guidelines. All landscape plans shall adhere to the following:
      (1)   Landscaped areas.  
         (a) All open areas of a lot which are not used or improved for required parking areas, drives or storage shall be landscaped with a combination of over-story trees, under-story trees, coniferous trees, shrubs, flowers and ground cover materials.
         (b)   Single-family residential lots must maintain vegetation in the city’s right-of-way and along the five-foot perimeter of the property, except in areas where the required driveway access is located (see § 91.38). An exception to this restriction would be landscaping materials (two to three feet in width) adjacent to a residential driveway.
      (2)   Number of trees. The minimum number of major or over-story trees on any given site shall be as indicated below. These are the minimum substantial plantings, in addition to other under- story trees, shrubs, flowers, and ground cover, deemed appropriate for a complete quality landscape treatment of the site.
         (a)   Single-family and two-family residential units.
            1.   Lot width greater than 65 feet. Lots greater than 65 feet in width shall contain two or more tress with four inches of combined diameter in the front yard. Each tree must be at least one inch in diameter and at least one of the trees must be an over-story (shade) tree.
            2.   Lot width less than 65 feet. Lots less than 65 feet in width shall contain trees with four inches of combined diameter, with a minimum of one over-story (shade) tree at least one and a half inches in diameter in the front yard.
            3.   Evergreen equivalent. An evergreen tree at least five feet in height shall be deemed equivalent to two inches of tree diameter.
            4.   Planting time specified. Trees must be planted within the front yard within 120 days after the city has issued a Certificate of Occupancy or within 15 months of the issuance of the building permit, whichever comes first. The counting of the 120 days shall be tolled during the time between October 1 and May 1 but said count shall be resumed after May 1.
            5.   Tree location exception. The Zoning Administrator may authorize the placement of some of the required trees within the side or rear yard if the Zoning Administrator determines that due to the shape of the lot there are unique circumstances.
         (b)   All other uses shall contain, at a minimum, the greater of: one tree per 1,000 square feet of gross building floor area; or one tree per 800 square feet of landscaped area; or one tree per 40 lineal feet of site perimeter; or two trees per multi-residential dwelling unit.
      (3)   Sodding and seeding. All front (including boulevards), side or rear yards facing a right-of-way shall be sodded with the following exceptions:
         (a)   Single-family residential lots are not required to sod, but turf must be established within 120 days after the city has issued a Certificate of Occupancy or within 15 months of the issuance of the building permit, whichever comes first. The counting of the 120 days shall be tolled during the time between October 1 and May 1, but said count shall be resumed after May 1. All silt fence or hay bale erosion controls must be maintained until turf is established. A financial security in an amount determined by the city will be required if turf is not established within the front yard (including to the rear of the structure abutting the street on a corner lot) prior to occupancy.
         (b)   All other zoning districts may seed their lots when the city determines sod is not practical or desirable such as, but not limited to, campus areas of schools, recreational playfields, open space, sites that are rough graded and areas that cannot be developed (such as those in a power line easement).
         (c)   Seeding of future expansion areas as shown on approved plans.
         (d)   Undisturbed areas containing existing viable natural vegetation which can be maintained free of foreign and noxious plant materials.
         (e)   Areas designated as open space or future expansion areas properly planted and maintained with prairie grass.
      (4)   Building ground cover. A minimum five-foot strip from the building edge must be treated with decorative ground cover and/or foundation plantings, except for garage/loading and pedestrian access areas.
      (5)   Softening of walls and fences. Plants shall be placed intermittently against long expanses of building walls, fences, and other barriers to create a softening effect. Plantings shall also be proportionate to the height of the building. Additional depth along buildings may be required to accommodate this landscaping.
      (6)   Existing trees.
         (a)   A reasonable attempt shall be made to preserve as many existing trees as practical and to incorporate them into the site plan. Significant trees are any over-story or coniferous tree over eight inches in diameter, as measured 54 inches from the ground. Sites containing significant existing trees which will be retained may be given credit against the required number of trees.
         (b)   As a condition of subdivision approval or the issuance of grading or building permit, the city may require the applicant to replace any significant trees which are damaged or destroyed a as result of development or construction activities. Significant trees that are damaged or destroyed shall be replaced by at least two trees meeting the minimum planting requirements.
      (7)   Minimum planting size.  
         (a)   All multi-family residential, commercial, industrial, public/institutional and association-maintained residential landscaping materials shall conform to the following minimum size requirements:
            1.   Over-story trees: 2½ inch diameter, as measured six inches above the ground.
            2.   Under-story trees: 1½ inch diameter, as measured six inches above the ground.
            3.   Coniferous trees: 6 feet.
            4.   Tall shrubs or hedge: 3 feet.
            5.   Low shrubs: 5 gallon.
         (b)   All single-family residential units shall provide landscaping according to § 155.031(D)(2)(a) of the city code.
      (8)   Species.
         (a)   All trees and plantings used in site developments shall be indigenous to the appropriate hardiness zone and physical characteristics of the site.
         (b)   All deciduous trees proposed to satisfy the minimum requirements of this policy shall be long-lived hardwood species.
         (c)   The complement of trees fulfilling the requirements of this section shall be not less than 25% deciduous and not less than 25% coniferous. Single-family residential development is exempt from this requirement.
         (d)   No required tree shall be any of the following:
            1.   A species of the genus Ulmus (elm), except those elms bred to be immune to Dutch Elm disease;
            2.   Box Elder;
            3.   A species of the genus Populous (poplar) except when counted as an under-story tree;
            4.   Female ginko; or
            5.   Ash.
      (9)   Parking lots/planting islands. All parking lots designed for 15 or more parking spaces shall provide landscaping areas dispersed throughout the parking lot, in order to avoid the undesirable monotony, heat and wind associated with large parking areas. Parking lots with less than 15 spaces shall not be required to provide landscaping other than yard area and buffer landscaping requirements as specified in other sections of this chapter.
         (a)   Plant materials: at least one over-story/shade tree must be provided for each 24 parking spaces. Ornamental trees, shrubs, hedges and other plant materials may be used to supplement the shade trees, but shall not be the sole contribution to such landscaping.
         (b)   Additional perimeter plantings may be used to satisfy this requirement in parking facilities less than 42 feet in width.
      (10)   Detention/retention ponds. Storm water ponds shall be landscaped with an average of a ten-foot buffer strip of shade and ornamental trees, evergreens, shrubbery, natural grasses, groundcover and/or other plant materials to provide an aesthetically appealing setting. This landscaping shall be in addition to the required landscaping.
    (11)   Slopes and berms. Final slopes of greater than 3:1 will not be permitted without special treatment such as terracing or retaining walls. All berms must incorporate trees and plantings into the design. In no situation shall berms be used as the sole means of screening.
    (12)   Irrigation system. In order to provide for adequate maintenance of landscaped areas, an underground sprinkler system shall be provided as part of each new development. The exceptions to this are one-family dwellings and additions to existing structures equal to more than 25% of the square feet of the existing structure.
    (13)   Landscape guarantee. All trees and plant materials that do not survive for at least two full growing seasons must be replaced by the landowner.
   (E)   Collector road landscaping. The following requirements shall apply to all lots abutting collector roads and the ground area within the street right-of-way.
      (1)   The abutting property owner shall be responsible for improving and maintaining the ground surface of the boulevard with turf or other plant material and trees.
      (2)   Trees shall be provided, on average, 40 feet apart adjacent to the roadway.
      (3)   A variety of over-story species should be included in the planting plan for a specific development.
   (F)   Screening and buffering. Where any business or industrial use abuts property zoned or guided for residential use, that business or industry shall provide screening along the boundary of the residential property. Screening shall also be provided where a business or industry is across the street from a residential zone, except on the side of a business or industry considered to be the front (as determined by the Zoning Administrator). A green planting strip shall consist of over-story trees, evergreen trees, shrubs, berms and fencing of sufficient width and density to provide an effective visual year-round screen to a minimum height of six feet.
      (1)   Size of buffer: a minimum 20 feet wide along entire property line abutting the residential property;
      (2)   Height of buffer: the buffer shall fully screen the bottom six feet;
      (3)   Berms may be used but shall not be used to achieve more than three feet of the required screen.
      (4)   The landscaping, berming and fencing materials shall be subject to the approval of the City Council. The landowner must demonstrate how the proposed plan will provide the desired screening effect.
   (G)   Security.
      (1)   When screening, landscaping or other similar improvements to property are required by this chapter, a security shall be supplied by the owner in an amount equal to 125% of the City Engineer’s estimate of the value of such screening and landscaping. The security shall be provided prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy and shall be valid for a period of time equal to two full growing seasons after the actual date of installation of the landscaping. In the event construction of the project is not completed within the time prescribed by building permits and other approvals, or if the plant materials have died within two full growing seasons, the city may, at its option, complete the work required or replace the landscaping at the expense of the owner and the security.
      (2)   The city may allow an extended period of time for completion of all landscaping if the delay is due to conditions which are reasonably beyond the control of the developer. Extensions may be granted by the Zoning Administrator for a period not to exceed nine months, due to seasonal or weather conditions. When an extension is granted, the city shall require such additional security as it deems appropriate.
(Ord. 110, passed 11-15-97; Am. Ord. 116, passed 10-27-98; Am. Ord. 0204, passed 8-13-02; Am. Ord. 0405, passed 5-11-04; Am. Ord. 0408, passed 12-14-04; Am. Ord. 0605, passed 7-25-06; Am. ord. 0701, passed 1-9-07; Am. Ord. 0802, passed 3-11-08; Am. Ord. 1902, passed 5-14-19; Am. Ord. 1905, passed 12-10-19) Penalty, see § 155.999