5.7   Landscaping and tree requirements.
   1)   Intent.
   a)   The intent of this ordinance is to protect, maintain and improve the visual character of the Town of Surf City. The landscape requirements in this ordinance are designed to minimize the visual impacts from adjacent properties as well as protect against the transmission of noise, dust, odor, litter, and glare of lights. Landscape requirements help to provide a sense of space and create a sense of privacy. The use of new and existing landscaping will enhance the appearance of new development and help this development blend in with the natural environment.
   b)   Landscaping includes not only trees, shrubs, grass, and ground cover, but open paving stones, benches, fountains, and exterior lighting fixtures. All non-vegetative landscaping must be incidental to the overall landscaping plan.
   c)   When possible existing vegetation shall be used. Preservation of existing vegetation not destruction of vegetation is the intent of this ordinance.
   2)   Applicability.
   a)   The requirements of this section shall apply to all zoning districts.
   b)   All development plans shall comply with the provisions of this section. A change of use or expansion of existing heated square footage of an existing building and expansion and/or paving of parking and loading areas also shall require compliance with this section.
   3)   Types of landscaping.
   Type A (screen/buffer).
   Location and required usage: Side and rear property lines excluding parking areas in all commercial zoning districts and/or commercial uses.
   A perimeter landscaped area with a minimum landscape area of (5) five feet shall be provided along property lines; property lines abutting any street shall maintain a minimum depth of ten (10) feet. Landscaping in the C-1 or MU zoning districts shall be equal to the minimum yard space requirements for said use unless ample yard space is available, if so then a larger buffer will be required up to five (5) feet for property lines not abutting a side street and up to ten (10) feet for properties that abut a side street.
   Type B (semi-opaque screen).
   Location and required usage: Perimeter yard of all parking and loading areas for all commercial uses.
   This type functions as a semi-opaque screen from the ground to at least a height of four (4) feet for screening of car lights and glare. This buffer may consist of planted or existing vegetation. Shrubs shall be planted in a minimum five (5) gallon container and shall be planted with no opening wider than four (4) feet. At least seventy-five (75) percent of required shrubs shall be evergreen species native to the area.
   Type C (interior plantings).
   Location and required usage: Interiors of all commercial parking areas.
   This type functions as a tree ceiling over a parking area providing shelter from the sun and rain. These trees are intended to reduce the speed and volume of stormwater as well as keep the temperature of the pavement lower for a reduced impact from heated stormwater. No parking space shall be more than sixty (60) feet from the base of a canopy tree. The use of different species of trees within the lot is encouraged to promote diversity in the town's overall tree canopy. The use of existing trees is encouraged. Landscape islands shall be placed at the end of each parking isle. The maximum depth of a parking isle shall be eighteen (18) feet. Landscape islands shall be a minimum of one hundred sixty-two (162) square feet.
   Type D (street trees).
   Location and required usage: Along all street frontages (all districts).
   This type functions as a unifying element along all street frontages by establishing an attractive and consistent streetscape. Street trees soften the transition from the street to the private yard and provide shelter to the pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Trees shall be spaced twenty (20) foot on center. Trees that grow larger and need more room for growth may be planted at a maximum of forty (40) feet on center with the approval of the community development department.
   Type E (residential tree canopy).
   Location and required usage: All residential properties.
   This type functions to maintain and/or replenish the tree canopy in areas of new residential development. Each lot shall provide canopy trees in accordance with the following schedule:
Lot Size
Required Number of Canopy Trees*
Less than 10,000 square feet
1 front yard, 1 rear yard
10,000—15,000 square feet
1 front yard, 2 rear yard
15,001—20,000 square feet
2 front yard, 2 rear yard
More than 20,000 square feet
3 front yard, 3 rear yard
* Oceanfront lots are not required to plant rear yard canopy trees.
   The use of existing vegetation to satisfy this requirement is encouraged. Existing canopy trees over six (6) inches in caliper may be counted towards fulfilling this requirement. Required street trees may not be used to fulfill this requirement. All trees required under this section shall be planted within the private lot.
   4)   Standards for new planting. Landscaping should be of sufficient size that mature appearance be achieved within three to five years of installation. All trees which this section requires to be planted shall be at least eight (8) feet high above the ground and two (2) inches in caliper at the time of planting and all shrubs which this section requires to be planted shall be measured at least five (5) gallons in container size and three (3) feet above ground level. No artificial plants are allowed.
   All landscaping required by this ordinance shall come from the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Services publication "Plants for Seashore Conditions" in order to maintain native species tolerant to coastal conditions.
   5)   Irrigation.
      a)   All required landscape areas is encouraged to be irrigated or utilize plants which are drought tolerant.
      b)   Irrigation systems shall minimize spray onto pedestrian and vehicular travel ways.
   6)   Landscape maintenance. To encourage the continuance of landscape areas, the owner(s) shall be jointly and severally responsible for the continued proper maintenance of landscaped areas. The owner(s) shall be notified in writing by the community development department of any areas that are not being properly maintained and the owner(s) shall, within fifteen (15) calendar days from the time of notification, restore the landscaped area(s) to a satisfactory condition.
   7)   If any other reference to landscaping is made within this ordinance which is in conflict with this section of the ordinance it shall be the responsibility of the owner to follow the stricter of the regulations.
   8)   Refuse containers.
      a)   All commercial container enclosures shall be screened on three (3) sides by a fence eleven (11) feet wide. The screening height shall be eight (8) feet.
      b)   The opening for the removal of trash pick-up shall be eleven (11) feet wide; no gates are required.
      c)   All refuse shall be in the containers or within the confines of the enclosure. Violation of this provision shall be subject to a civil penalty as described in Section 1-6 of the Code of Ordinances of the Town of Surf City.
      d)   Landscaping at driveways and intersections.
         1.   A minimum sight triangle shall be maintained at all driveways and street intersections. Within the sight triangle, no material, signage or any other obstruction shall interfere with an individual's vehicle sight line. No plant material shall exceed thirty (30) inches in height at maturity; trees shall be trimmed so that branches are at least seven (7) feet above curb level.
         2.   The minimum sight triangle for driveways shall be ten (10) feet by twenty (20) feet on each side of the driveway and shall be measured as follows:
            a.   Begin at the point where the edge of the driveway intersects with the street edge.
            b.   From this point, measure twenty (20) feet along the street edge, away from the driveway edge.
            c.   From the same point, measure ten (10) feet toward the interior of the property, along the driveway edge.
            d.   Connect the two (2) points established by the above method to form the required sight triangle.
         3.   The minimum sight triangle required at street intersections for other than those that intersect state-maintained roads, shall be twenty (20) feet by twenty (20) feet and shall be measured as follows:
            a.   Begin at the property corner point, where the right-of-way lines of both streets intersect.
            b.   From this point, measure twenty (20) feet along the right-of-way in each direction.
            c.   Connect the two (2) points established by the method above to form the required sight triangle.
(Ord. No. 2020-10, 12-1-20)