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The purpose of landscaping and screening is to soften the outline of buildings; screen glare and reduce noise levels emanating from a site; and to create a visual and/or physical barrier between conflicting, incompatible and/or visually undesirable land uses. The installation of landscaping and screening protects the health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of the Village through the reduction of noise, visual pollution, and headlight glare.
(a) Applicability. Landscaping and screening shall be required as follows:
(1) All new commercial development on vacant lands;
(2) Additional buildings or building additions proposed for a site currently developed with commercial uses; or
(3) Currently developed sites that are to be modified by changes in use, vehicular circulation, or parking area design.
(b) Landscaping plan submission requirements. Any applicant proposing a development listed in subsection (a) above, shall submit for review and approval a landscaping and screening plan. Landscaping and screening plans shall be prepared by a person knowledgeable in landscape design and construction such as a professional nurseryman, a professional landscaper or a landscape architect.
(c) Required landscaping and screening. The following minimum landscaping and screening shall be provided:
(1) Landscaping along streets. A minimum ten-foot-wide applied landscaping strip abutting all rights-of-way, broken only by points of vehicular or pedestrian access, shall be provided with a minimum of one deciduous tree having a caliper of not less than two inches and ten shrubs, each having a height of not less than 36 inches per 35 lineal feet of frontage. In lieu of the above, an elevated earth berm a maximum of three feet higher than the finished elevation of the street centerline with one deciduous tree having a caliper of not less than two inches and six shrubs each having a height of not less than 36 inches per 35 lineal feet of frontage may be provided as an alternative. Plantings or earthen berms or mounds along a public or private street shall not block or interfere with sight distance at street/drive intersections or corner lots, nor shall any such plantings or earthen berms contribute to the additional accumulation of snow within the public way. Landscaping materials used along streets and sidewalks shall not be fruit- or nut-bearing, nor shall they have thorns or briars that interfere with passersby. Areas outside of the required landscaping strip in front yards shall be maintained either as lawns or additional landscaping beds.
(2) Landscaping along site perimeter when adjacent to another commercial use. A minimum ten-foot-wide by 35-foot-long landscaping bed shall be provided for every 70 lineal feet along the perimeter of the site, except along streets. Each required landscaping bed shall be planted with one deciduous tree having a caliper of not less than two inches, or two evergreen trees having a height of not less than six feet, and three shrubs each having a height of not less than 36 inches per required landscape bed. Between adjoining uses, landscaping beds shall be coordinated in order to provide a continuous landscaping strip along the perimeter. Where existing vegetation occurs along the perimeter that satisfies the intent of this section and no development is proposed within 50 feet of the lot line, a ten-foot-wide preservation strip may be substituted. Perimeter planting along the site perimeter shall only be required to the extent necessary to screen the activity areas and exterior lighting of the commercial use from neighboring uses. For the purposes of this section, the activity area of a commercial site shall include, but is not limited to, all structures, access drives and on-site traffic lanes, parking lots, loading areas and refuse areas. Areas outside of the required perimeter landscaping strip in required side or rear yards shall be maintained either as lawns or additional landscaping beds.
(3) Site perimeter landscaping when adjacent to residential zoning district or an existing residential use. A minimum 15-foot-wide perimeter landscaping strip shall be provided along the perimeter of the site that is adjacent to the Residential Zoning District or existing residential use. Site perimeter landscaping shall include, at a minimum, two deciduous trees having a caliper of not less than two inches each, eight evergreen trees, each having a height of not less than six feet, and 12 shrubs, each having a height of not less than 36 inches per 35 lineal feet of perimeter landscaping required. Plantings shall be staggered to form a dense screen within two years after planting. Where existing vegetation occurs along the perimeter that satisfy the intent of this section and no development is proposed within 50 feet of the lot line, a 20-foot-wide preservation strip may be substituted. Areas outside the required perimeter landscaping strip in required side or rear yards shall be maintained either as lawns or additional landscaping beds.
(4) Interior parking lot landscaping. A planting island of at least 160 square feet in total pervious surface area shall be provided for each 12 parking spaces on the interior of a parking lot that accommodates 12 cars or more. The island shall be placed at intervals of no more than 135 lineal feet on center. A minimum of one deciduous tree having a caliper of not less than two inches shall be planted per island, along with other ornamental shrubbery and plantings. Where the island occurs parallel to parking spaces on each side, the planting island shall be a minimum of nine feet in width. No fruit- or nut-bearing trees or shrubs shall be planted in any planting island.
(5) Screening of loading areas, outside storage areas and other service areas. Screening and landscaping shall prevent direct views of loading areas, storage areas outside an enclosed building, service areas, and associated service driveways from adjacent properties or from the public or private right-of-way when viewed from ground level within 12 months after planting. Screening shall consist of opaque ornamental fencing or walls, which are architecturally compatible with the principal building on the lot, or a dense, staggered evergreen planting consisting of a double row of evergreen trees, spaced a minimum of 15 feet on center, of sufficient quantity and height, to screen the above areas totally.
(6) Building façade landscaping. At least 75% of the area within ten feet of the building façade shall be permanently landscaped. Landscaping materials shall include a combination of trees, shrubbery, annual and perennial flowers, and ground cover plantings. This area may be broken by entrance walks. Trees shall be planted a minimum of 30 feet on center, with the planting of shrubbery flowers and ground covers completing the design.
(d) Landscaping Materials and Standards. New development shall provide landscaping and screening as provided in subsection (c), above. Walls and fences, plants and mounds, as listed in subsections (1) through (3) below, are suitable for screening use individually, or in combination with each other to create a dense screen, subject to review and approval by the Planning Commission.
(1) Walls and fences. Walls and fences used to fulfill screening requirements shall be so detailed on the site plan. Walls and fences shall be constructed of waterproof materials, including brick, pressure treated lumber, redwood or cedar lumber, vinyl, and aluminum, stainless steel, brass, bronze, or galvanized hardware. Except as specifically noted, chain link fences with or without wooden or synthetic slat material shall not be allowed when used to satisfy landscaping and screening requirements.
(2) Plants. All plants are to be living and hardy within the United States Department of Agriculture's Hardiness Zone 6, Per Department of Agriculture, effective January, 2012, and thriving in Medina County. Plant materials used in conformance with the provisions of this section shall conform to the standards of the American Association of Nurserymen and shall have passed any inspection required under state regulations. Trees shall be balled and burlapped or in containers. Shrubs, vines and ground covers can be planted as bare root as well as balled and burlapped or in containers. All landscaping materials shall be free of noxious weeds, disease and pests. Nursery stock identification tags shall not be removed from any planting prior to inspection and approval of final installation by the Zoning Inspector.
A. Deciduous trees. Deciduous trees shall have a minimum caliper of at least two inches, conforming to acceptable nursery industry procedures at the time of planting.
B. Evergreen trees. Evergreen trees shall be a minimum of six feet in height at the time of planting. Evergreen plantings shall be designed to provide an effective, dense screen within two years of planting. White Pine trees are not acceptable trees for screening/buffering purposes.
C. Shrubs and hedges. Shrubs and hedges shall be at least 36 inches in height at the time of planting. All shrubs and hedges used for screening shall be designed to provide an effective, dense screen and mature height of at least six feet within four years after the date of the final approval of each planting when used for perimeter landscaping or screening applications. The height at installation of the planting shall be measured from the level of the surface of the plant base at the edge closest to the screening.
D. Grass or ground cover. Grass of the fescue, bluegrass, or perennial rye families shall be planted in species normally grown as lawns in Medina County. In swales or other areas subject to erosion, solid sod, erosion reducing net or suitable mulch shall be used and nurse grass seed shall be sown for immediate protection until complete coverage is achieved. Grass sod shall be clean and free of weeds and noxious pests or diseases. Ground cover shall be planted in such a manner as to provide 75% complete coverage after two growing seasons.
E. Existing material. The Planning Commission may approve the use of existing plant material to comply with the landscaping and screening requirements of this section. In reviewing such proposals, they shall consider whether the existing material is capable of performing the landscaping or screening functions required by this section, by reason of its size, density, location, deciduous or evergreen foliage, and other characteristics. They shall also consider the likelihood that the plant material will survive construction related disruptions, including soil compaction and changes in grading and drainage. Existing vegetation shall be preserved in accordance with acceptable nursery industry procedures.
(3) Mounds. Mounds or berms may be used as physical barriers, which block or screen a view. Differences in elevation between areas requiring screening do not constitute a mound. Mounds shall conform to the following standards:
A. The maximum side slope shall be four feet horizontal to one foot vertical (4:1). The design shall be reviewed by the Zoning Inspector to ensure that proper erosion prevention and control practices have been utilized and that irrigation or other means are provided to ensure plant material will have sufficient moisture for survival.
B. Mounds shall be designed with physical variations in height and alignment throughout their length.
C. Landscape plant material installed on mounds shall be arranged in an irregular pattern to accentuate the physical variation and achieve a natural appearance.
D. The landscape plan shall show sufficient detail to demonstrate compliance with the above provisions, including a plan and profile of the mound, soil types and construction techniques.
E. Mounds shall be located and designed to minimize the disturbance to existing trees located on the site or adjacent thereto.
F. No part of any mound shall be elevated more than 30 inches above natural grade within ten feet of any right-of-way or property line.
G. Adequate ground cover or mulch shall be used and maintained to prevent erosion.
(4) Maintenance. All landscaping materials shall be installed and maintained according to accepted nursery industry procedures. The property owner shall be responsible for continued, perpetual maintenance of all landscaping materials, and shall keep them in a proper, neat and orderly appearance, free from refuse, debris, and noxious and unsightly weeds at all times. All unhealthy or dead plant material shall be replaced within one year, or by the next planting period, whichever comes first. Violation of these installation and maintenance provisions shall be grounds for the Zoning Inspector to require replacement of the landscape material or institute legal proceedings to enforce the provisions of this section.
(Ord. 2013-01. Passed 2-5-13; Ord. 2019-04. Passed 4-2-19.)