SECTION 30
WALLS, LANDSCAPING AND FENCES

Subsections:

30.01    Gateway Treatments

30.02    Height and Design

30.03    Right-of-Way or Easement

30.04    Property Owner Responsibility

30.05    Landscaping Design Standards and Requirements

30.05-01    Purpose and Applicability

30.05-02    Definitions

30.05-03    Single-Family District Standards

30.05-04    Multifamily Districts

30.05-05    Nonresidential/Resort Districts

30.01 Gateway Treatments

Combinations of landscaping, monumentation signs and masonry walls may be approved by the design review board at locations where appropriate. Privately-constructed entry signs may be placed on public property, subject to the prohibitions of Section 30.03, upon obtaining conditional and/or temporary approval from the city. (Ord. 04-91 § 1 (part))

30.02 Height and Design

a.    The height of walls and fences shall be measured vertically from the finished grade on each side of the wall or fence. Raising the finished grade by placing fill solely for the purpose of adding additional height to a wall or fence is prohibited. If a wall or fence is placed on a berm, the height shall be measured vertically from the base of the berm. The maximum height of walls and fences shall be six feet, except as set forth below:

1.    Tennis court fences shall not exceed fifteen feet in height.

2.    Where the structure has a load-bearing function, such as earth retention, a masonry wall is required and shall be properly engineered. Retaining walls shall not exceed eight feet in height.

3.    Within the front yard setbacks of residential lots, walls and fences shall not exceed three feet in height and shall be set back from the front property line a distance equal to or greater than one-half the depth of the front yard setback, except a wall or fence not to exceed three feet in height may extend along the side property line to the front property line.

4.    In side yards of residential lots, from the midpoint of the side yard building wall to the front yard, walls and fences shall not exceed three feet in height, except the design review board has authority to approve a wall or fence up to six feet in height from the midpoint of the side yard building wall elevation to a point set back at least ten feet from the front yard.

5.    In cases where a corner lot abuts a key lot, the fence or freestanding wall over three feet but not more than six feet in height on the corner lot shall be set back from the street side property line not less than one-half the depth of the required front yard.

b.    The design of walls and fences constructed after June 6, 2007, shall comply with the following requirements:

1.    Walls and fences shall be masonry or metal grill. Masonry walls or fences shall be finished on the exterior side of the fence or wall. The minimum standard for the exterior side finish of a masonry wall or fence is stucco and paint, except the design review board may vary this requirement to provide design compatibility with nearby architectural elements. If the person constructing the wall or fence is not able to obtain reasonable access to adjoining property in order to comply with this requirement, that person shall not be required to comply with this subsection.

2.    In residential districts, walls and fences on rear lot lines adjoining golf courses, public pathways and parks shall be full view walls or full view fences.

3.    In residential districts, walls and fences on side yard property lines adjoining golf courses, public pathways or parks shall be partial view walls or partial view fences.

4.    In resort and open space districts, walls and fences separating golf courses from adjoining residential districts shall be full view walls or full view fences.

5.    Tennis court fences may be chain link.

c.    Construction of walls and fences after June 6, 2007, requires a building permit issued by the city. No building permit shall be issued until the wall or fence has received design review board approval.

d.    The design of any gate installed after March 6, 2009, shall comply with the following requirements:

1.    Gates shall be wood, metal grill, or a combination thereof. A gate shall have a design compatible with or complementary to the attached building, wall or fence.

2.     Tennis court gates may be chain link, if the tennis court is fenced by a chain link fence.

3.    Within the front yard setbacks of residential lots, gates shall not exceed five feet in height.

e.    A gate installed as part of the construction of a new wall or fence shall be approved as part of the process set forth in subsection c of this section. (Ord. 09-146 § 1; Ord. 07-128 § 1 (part); Ord. 04-91 § 1 (part))

30.03 Right-of-Way or Easement

A masonry wall, as herein defined, is required, and shall be properly engineered, where the structure has a load-bearing function such as earth retention. No wall or fence may be placed upon any street, walkway or access. (Ord. 04-91 § 1 (part))

30.04 Property Owner Responsibility

Each property owner shall landscape and maintain all property abutting streets or rights-of-way. Property owners must provide a wall or fence around a swimming pool as stipulated in the city building codes.

30.05 Landscaping Design Standards and Requirements

(Ord. 10-156 § 1 (part))

30.05-01 Purpose and Applicability

a.    The purpose of these landscaping standards is to implement the goals of the general plan, to preserve the natural beauty of the area, to enhance the beauty of the city, to preserve and enhance the value of land and buildings in the city, to provide for Arizona Department of Environmental Quality PM-10 dust mitigation and to protect the quality of the city’s environment.

b.    The landscape requirements set forth in this subsection shall apply to all new development, redevelopment or building expansion (greater than twenty-five percent of gross building area) projects in the city after August 6, 2010, and to uses where there is a substantial modification to the existing use.

c.    Each property owner shall landscape and maintain such landscaping on his property and on property abutting streets or rights-of-way in compliance with the requirements set forth in this section. (Ord. 10-156 § 1 (part))

30.05-02 Definitions

Arizona Department of Water Resources Plant Materials List means the list of low-water-use/drought-tolerant plants published by the Arizona Department of Water Resources.

Caliper means the diameter of a tree, in inches, measured four feet above finished grade or adjacent ground.

Common Open Space means land within or related to a development, not individually owned or dedicated for public use, which is designed and intended for the common use or enjoyment of the residents of the development and may include such complementary structures and improvements as are necessary and appropriate. Common open space does not include private or public street rights-of-way.

Drought Tolerant/Low-Water-Use means a landscaping method that maximizes the conservation of water by the use of site and climate-appropriate plants and an efficient watering system.

Foundation Planting means the area of a lot within ten feet of the foundation of any structure where landscaping can be used to visually buffer the impact, create visual interest and enhance the architectural details of the structure.

Groundcover, Vegetative means living landscape materials characterized by horizontal as well as vertical growth but which generally do not exceed eighteen inches in height. The intent of groundcovers, when properly installed, is to form a continuous cover over the ground.

Groundcover, Nonvegetative means landscape materials that are not living. These materials include, but are not limited to, decomposed granite, gravel, crushed rock, boulders, river rock, synthetic turf or other similar materials. Pavement shall not be considered groundcover for the purposes of this section.

Hardscape means any inorganic materials intended and maintained for decorative use as part of an overall landscape design and may include, but not be limited to, decorative rock, granite, stones, river rock, pavers, patterned concrete and similar materials.

Irrigation/Irrigation System means an overall system of various components, including pipelines, sprayers, bubblers, drip emitters and other materials, including timers, designed and installed to ensure that all landscaped areas and plant materials are adequately watered on a regular basis. An irrigation system shall include a backflow prevention device. An irrigation system does not include the use of portable sprinklers, hoses, or hand watering.

Landscape Buffer means a landscape area located on the perimeter of a site, typically on the interior, that serves to screen the visual and noise impacts caused by differences in use.

Landscape Material means any materials, vegetative and nonvegetative, used for the purpose of landscape improvements which may include, but shall not be limited to, the following: trees, shrubs, groundcovers, turf, vines, berms, nonvegetative groundcover materials, irrigation equipment, fences and walls.

Landscape Plan means a graphic representation of a development site, residential or nonresidential, indicating the location of existing and proposed landscape improvements to be present on the site at the completion of the construction of the project.

Landscaping means the planting and continuous maintenance of a combination of trees, shrubs, vines, groundcovers, and turf on a property. Landscaping includes the installation of various decorative features, such as water features and sculptures and the use of hardscape as part of an overall design. Landscape includes the use of xeriscape design, techniques, planting, and irrigation.

Maintenance means the process of keeping a landscape healthy, clean, safe and attractive by landscape irrigation management, general care of landscape areas including, but not limited to, weeding, erosion control and revegetation, turf care, pest control, and maintenance of site enhancement features such as fountains and sculptures.

Multiple Trunk or Multi-Trunk Tree means a tree with more than one main trunk. To be considered a multiple trunk tree, additional trunks should originate either from the soil line or no higher than twelve inches above ground. Any tree that has additional trunks higher than twelve inches are not considered multiple trunk trees.

Net Land Area means for all districts, the area of a lot or parcel that remains after subtracting area necessary for a legal structure, required parking and driveways, sidewalks and any other hard-surface improvements.

Palm Tree means a vertical palm that can reach twenty feet or greater in height at maturity.

Plant Material means all vegetative landscaping material.

Required Landscape Areas

a.    For single-family districts:

1.    The area between the front, rear and side property lines and the respective front, rear and side of the building, unless such areas are enclosed by an opaque fence meeting the requirements of Section 2.04.

2.    Common open space designated on subdivision plats.

3.    Property abutting streets and rights-of-way.

b.    For multifamily districts, the areas required to be landscaped pursuant to Section 30.05-04.

c.    For commercial, industrial and resort districts, the areas required to be landscaped pursuant to Section 30.05-05.

Shrub means a woody plant which has several stems that rise from the ground level.

Tree means a woody plant that has a single or multiple trunk(s) at ground level.

Turf means continuous plant coverage consisting of grass species that is mowed to maintain an established, common height. (Ord. 10-156 § 1 (part))

30.05-03 Single-Family District Standards

a.    Landscaping in required landscape areas shall be installed prior to issuance of a certificate of occupancy for the property. In lieu of installation of landscaping prior to issuance of a certificate of occupancy, a cash deposit or an irrevocable letter of credit in an amount of one hundred fifty percent guaranteeing the completion of landscaping within three months may be accepted by the zoning administrator, or his designee. Failure to install the landscaping in the three-month time period shall be a violation of this section and the city may use the cash deposit or funds set aside by letter of credit to complete the required landscaping. An extension, not to exceed three months, to this requirement may be requested, in writing, addressed to the zoning administrator explaining the extenuating circumstances that exist that would support the request.

b.    All required landscaped areas must be covered with any combination of vegetative and nonvegetative landscape materials.

c.    Landscaping shall include a combination of groundcover(s), shrub(s) and tree(s).

d.    Landscaping, and irrigation systems if necessary, shall be installed and properly maintained on all portions of single-family residential lots open to view from a public street not used for buildings, vehicle access or parking.

1.    Decomposed granite is permitted; however, if used, a minimum of twenty-five percent shall be vegetative landscape material at maturity and/or synthetic turf.

2.    Trees and shrubs should be species that are regionally appropriate and suitable for site-specific conditions, including water conservation, sun and heat exposure, soil pH and other environmental factors.

3.    Paving materials, water features and sculptures may be included as landscape design materials to create useful open space. The addition of color and texture to the design is encouraged to create visual interest. Such materials may not cover more than twenty percent of the required landscaped area.

4.    Underground automatic irrigation systems are encouraged for landscaping which cannot survive on natural precipitation. The use of drip, emitter or other water conservation irrigation methods is encouraged. The overall irrigation system design should emphasize efficient water use and conservation. (Ord. 10-156 § 1 (part))

30.05-04 Multifamily Districts

a.    A landscape plan prepared to the standards outlined in this section must be submitted for design review board approval prior to issuance of a building permit.

b.    Landscaping in required landscape areas shall be installed prior to issuance of a certificate of occupancy for the property. In lieu of installation of landscaping prior to issuance of a certificate of occupancy, a cash deposit or an irrevocable letter of credit in an amount of one hundred fifty percent guaranteeing the completion of landscaping within three months may be accepted by the zoning administrator or his designee. Failure to install the landscaping in the three-month time period shall be a violation of this section and the city may use the cash deposit or funds set aside by letter of credit to complete the required landscaping. An extension, not to exceed three months, to this requirement may be requested, in writing, addressed to the zoning administrator explaining the extenuating circumstances that exist that would support the request.

c.    Required Landscaping and Maintenance

1.    An average fifteen-foot-wide landscaped area is required along all interior property lines. Trees with a minimum size of twenty-four-inch box (two-inch caliper) shall be planted in a manner as to provide a buffer to adjacent single-family residential property. A six-foot-high masonry wall is required along interior property lines.

2.    Along public street frontages, an average twenty-foot-wide landscape area is required and shall incorporate minimum fifteen-gallon-sized trees in a manner that provides a buffer as to mitigate the spillage of light and noise onto and off the property. A minimum of twenty-five percent of the required trees shall be twenty-four-inch box (two-inch caliper) size. Open space areas along public street frontages shall receive special landscaping treatment to provide a lush setting for both the residents of the project and the general public. The following standards shall apply to landscaping of public street frontages:

A.    Special entry features shall be provided at major entrances into a project to provide a sense of identification and uniqueness.

B.    Walls, planters, and earth berms shall be provided in the front yard to add variety to the landscape and to increase privacy for the residents.

C.    No more than fifty percent of the required front yard landscaped area may be used for stormwater retention purposes.

3.    Within common open space, minimum twenty-four-inch box (two-inch caliper) sized trees shall be planted at a ratio of one tree per dwelling unit.

4.    Foundation plantings shall be utilized to complement building elevations, provide shade, and increase privacy. A minimum of fifty percent of the building frontage facing public streets shall have foundation plantings.

5.    Landscaped parking islands within parking areas shall be installed at least every twelve consecutive parking spaces. Trees shall be of a variety that minimizes tree litter drop, interference with vehicle and pedestrian movement and degradation of surrounding pavement. Such space shall be a minimum of five feet wide and contain at least one twenty-four-inch box (two-inch caliper) sized tree.

6.    All landscaping shall be maintained in a neat and orderly manner and in a healthy growing condition appropriate to the season. Landscaping and irrigation systems shall be installed and properly maintained on all portions of the property open to view from a public street not used for buildings, vehicle access or parking. Dead plants shall be removed and replaced within forty-five calendar days.

7.    The maintenance of landscaping in the public right-of-way shall be the responsibility of the adjacent property owner per Section 30.04 of this code.

8.    Soil not required to be landscaped shall be stabilized in a manner approved by the city engineer. At a minimum this shall require compliance with all applicable PM-10 standards for fugitive dust. (Ord. 10-156 § 1 (part))

30.05-05 Nonresidential/Resort Districts

a.    A landscape plan prepared to the standards outlined in this section must be submitted for design review board approval prior to issuance of a building permit.

b.    Landscaping in required landscape areas shall be installed prior to issuance of a certificate of occupancy for the property. In lieu of installation of landscaping prior to issuance of a certificate of occupancy, a cash deposit or an irrevocable letter of credit in an amount of one hundred fifty percent guaranteeing the completion of landscaping within three months may be accepted by the zoning administrator or his designee. Failure to install the landscaping in the three-month time period shall be a violation of this section and the city may use the cash deposit or funds set aside by letter of credit to complete the required landscaping. An extension, not to exceed three months, to this requirement may be requested, in writing, addressed to the zoning administrator explaining the extenuating circumstances that exist that would support the request.

c.    Required Landscaping and Maintenance

1.     A minimum of ten percent of net land area of any site located in a commercial district shall be landscaped. A minimum of five percent of net land area of any site located in an industrial district shall be landscaped. Additional required landscape areas may be required in a rezoning ordinance or approved site plan.

2.     Landscaping is required along the street frontage between the street or sidewalk and any buildings, parking areas, loading or storage areas in accordance with the following standards:

A.    Required landscape areas along public street frontages shall be contoured or bermed to provide variations in grade, visual relief, parking lot screening, and a more pleasing aesthetic value. All on-site parking areas shall be screened from street view by a landscaped berm or decorative wall not less than four feet in height. The required height of the berm or wall shall be measured from the highest finished grade of the adjacent on-site parking area.

B.     The intersections of arterial or section line streets are a dominant feature of the urban landscape, serving as major focal points of activity in the community. Because of the importance of these intersections, additional landscaped setbacks and design features, beyond the required minimum standards, may be required on property at these intersections by the city at the time of rezoning and/or site plan approval. Such additional features may involve:

1.    Wider setbacks;

2.    Unique building orientation and design;

3.    Special landscape features such as fountains, walls, and screening devices;

4.    Unique building architecture.

C.     Required yards fronting on a public street in the commercial districts shall be entirely landscaped, excluding driveways and walkways. In industrial districts the following landscaped setbacks shall apply to any building site:

1.    Along section-line arterial streets, required yards shall be entirely landscaped;

2.    Along all other streets, a ten-foot landscaped yard shall be required;

3.    All street frontage landscaping located adjacent to driveway exits and street intersections shall be designed, installed, and maintained in accordance with the height, location, and sight visibility at street intersection requirements.

D.     Where existing buildings or nearby parcels are built to the street property line, landscaping may be modified or located elsewhere on approval of the zoning administrator.

3.     Any part of a site not used for buildings, parking, driveways and sidewalks shall be landscaped.

4.    An automatic irrigation system shall be provided to all landscaped areas requiring water.

5.    All landscaped areas adjacent to vehicular parking and access areas shall be protected by six-inch vertical concrete curbing in order to control stormwater flows and minimize damage by vehicular traffic.

6.    All trees and plant material used are recommended to conform to the Arizona Department of Water Resources plant material list, with the exception that the following tree varieties shall be prohibited per City Code Section 11-4-2:

A.    Mulberry trees.

B.     Olive trees with the exception of the Swan Hill and/or other pollenless and fruitless varieties.

7.     Fifteen-gallon trees shall have a minimum trunk height of eight feet, with a minimum two-inch caliper measured four feet above the ground. Multi-trunk trees may have smaller average caliper measurements.

8.    Twenty-four-inch box trees shall have a minimum trunk height of ten feet with a minimum two-inch caliper measured four feet above the ground. Multi-trunk trees may have smaller average caliper measurements. Palms shall have a minimum trunk height of eight feet.

9.    Inorganic ground cover, specifically decomposed granite, shall be one-fourth-inch minus in all arterial and collector right-of-way landscaping areas.

10.    All shrubs shall be a minimum of five gallons in size.

11.    Twenty-five percent of the required number of trees may be substituted with palm trees. All Mexican fan palms (Washingtonia robusta), California fan palms (Washingtonia filifera), date palms (Phoenix dactylifera), and queen palms (Cocos plumosa) shall have a minimum five-foot trunk height measured from the base of the trunk to the base of the fronds when located within the public right-of-way or within fifty feet of the street property line.

12.    Upon approval of the zoning administrator, the installation of twenty square feet of vegetative groundcover in any required landscape area shall substitute for one required shrub, up to a maximum of thirty percent of the required shrubs in any particular landscaped area.

13.    Soil not required to be landscaped shall be stabilized in a manner approved by the city engineer. At a minimum this shall require compliance with all applicable PM-10 standards for fugitive dust.

14.    Maneuvering areas shall not be permitted in the required landscape areas with the exception of driveway access to parking across the required landscape area and walkways across and along the required landscape area.

15.    A minimum of five percent of the parking area, exclusive of front yard or perimeter landscaping and street trees, shall be required landscape area located in parking islands. The parking islands shall be located within the perimeter of the parking lot.

16.    Parking islands shall be installed at least every twelve consecutive parking spaces; such islands shall be a minimum of five feet wide and contain a minimum of fifty square feet in area. A minimum of one tree shall be provided for every parking island. Trees shall be of a variety that minimizes tree litter drop, interference with vehicle and pedestrian movement and degradation of surrounding pavement.

17.    All parking areas shall be separated from adjacent residential uses or districts by a ten-foot landscaped strip. Trees with a minimum size of twenty-four-inch box (two-inch caliper) shall be planted in a manner as to provide a buffer. A six-foot-high masonry wall is required along all interior property lines.

18.    The front setback area of commercial (nonresidential) properties may be used for maneuvering but shall not be allowed for parking of vehicles. Any landscaped area used for vehicular overhang shall not be counted towards the required landscaping.

19.    Permanent containment barriers (concrete curbs or bumper guards) shall be installed and properly secured within or adjacent to all proposed parking areas and along all driveways and vehicular access ways to prevent the destruction of landscape materials by vehicles.

20.    The city recommends the use of low-water-consumptive plants indigenous to this region as set forth in the Arizona Department of Water Resources plant materials list.

21.    A minimum of twenty-five percent of all frontage landscaped areas shall be covered with vegetative or organic ground cover consisting of living plant materials characterized by horizontal growth which generally does not exceed eighteen inches in height.

22.    Vegetative ground cover shall be so located to accentuate landmarks or focal points on a site and to create a “lush” appearance to the landscaped area from public streets and areas.

23.    All required landscape areas shall be finished with a natural topping material which may include, but not be limited to, the following: turf, groundcover, planting, decomposed granite (two inches minimum depth), river run rock, expanded shale, or bark. A pre-emergent treatment shall be applied to the ground prior to the placement of natural surface materials (decomposed granite, river run rock, etc.) in any landscaped area to prevent weed growth.

24.    All landscaped areas requiring irrigation shall be supported by an automatic irrigation system which may be a spray, flood, soaker, or drip type system. All irrigation systems and landscaped areas shall be designed, constructed, and maintained so as to promote water conservation and prevent water overflow or seepage into the street, sidewalk, or parking areas.

25.    Foundation planting is required adjacent to buildings fronting on public streets. A minimum of thirty-three percent of the building frontage shall be landscaped, with a minimum width planter area of three feet excluding vehicle overhang.

26.    All portions of a site not occupied by buildings, structures, vehicle access and parking areas, loading/unloading areas, and approved storage areas shall be landscaped. Future building pads within a phased development shall be improved with temporary landscaping or otherwise maintained weed-free in such a manner as may be approved by the zoning administrator.

d.    Obstructions to Visibility on the Public Right-of-Way

All landscaping and landscaping materials installed on public right-of-way or on private property in proximity to a driveway or street intersection shall be installed and maintained in compliance with the sight visibility requirements.

1.    Shrubs and ground covers shall be maintained at height no greater than two feet.

2.    Trees shall be trimmed and maintained as to prevent branching and leaves to project no closer than seven feet from finished grade.

e.     Street Right-of-Way Landscaping

The landscaping of all street rights-of-way contiguous with the property not used for street pavement, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, or driveways shall be required in addition to the on-site landscaped areas.

f.     Retention Basins

1.     All private retention basins in commercial and industrial projects shall be landscaped. Such basins may not occupy more than fifty percent of any landscaped area fronting on a public street; except, where exceptional design or shallow depths are proposed for the retention basin, the zoning administrator may permit a greater use of the frontage landscaped area.

2.     Retention basins shall be contoured and designed as an integral part of any frontage landscaping and shall not take on the appearance of a ditch. Maximum side slopes of basins shall be a four to one (4:1) ratio; side slopes of six to one (6:1) are preferred.

g.    Maintenance

1.    All landscaping shall be maintained in a neat and orderly manner and in a healthy growing condition appropriate to the season. Landscaping and irrigation systems shall be installed and properly maintained on all portions of the property open to view from a public street not used for buildings, vehicle access or parking. Dead plants shall be removed and replaced within forty-five calendar days. The code compliance officer may extend the time for replacement an additional forty-five days for good cause shown.

2.    The maintenance of landscaping in the public right-of-way shall be the responsibility of the adjacent property owner, whether an individual, corporation, or homeowner’s association. (Ord. 10-156 § 1 (part))

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