Chapter 18.47
LANDSCAPING

Sections:

18.47.010    Intent.

18.47.020    General requirements.

18.47.030    Minimum planting requirements.

18.47.040    Maintenance.

18.47.050    Types of landscaping.

18.47.060    Alternative landscaping plan.

18.47.070    Penalty provision.

18.47.010 Intent.

The intent of this chapter is to establish minimum requirements and standards for landscaping multifamily residential, commercial and industrial sites, and residential manufactured home parks, in order to maintain and protect property values, enhance the general appearance of the city and provide the residents of the city with a sense of place.

In general, these provisions will ensure landscaping criteria that will curtail soil erosion, reduce the hazards of flooding; absorb carbon dioxide and supply oxygen; reduce the effects of noise, glare, dust, heat, and other objectionable activities generated by some land uses; buffer and screen adjacent properties; provide shade; and promote the pleasant appearance and character of neighborhoods and the city.

(Ord. O97-024, Added, 03/03/1998)

18.47.020 General requirements.

A.    A landscaping plan shall be prepared describing how the requirements of this chapter will be met for the following:

1.    Any proposed commercial or industrial development or multifamily residential development consisting of five or more dwelling units with a new building or building expansion that amounts to or exceeds either four thousand square feet or twenty-five percent of the assessed valuation of the existing building within any twelve-month period;

2.    Any proposed residential manufactured home park consisting of five or more dwelling units on a lot or expansion that amounts to or exceeds five additional dwelling units.

The plan should be prepared by a licensed Washington landscape architect, Washington certified nurseryman, or Washington certified landscaper. The community development department shall review a proposed plan for compliance with the requirements of this chapter. The city review shall be limited to compliance with city standards. A proposed plan may consist of a mutually agreed upon alternative plan in accordance with TMC 18.47.060. If the community development director believes a proposed plan does not meet the requirements of this chapter, the applicant shall be notified in writing of the director’s findings.

Each landscaping plan shall be submitted with a fee established by resolution of the city council to help defray the cost of review by the city, no part of which fee is refundable.

B.    Landscaping plans shall be drawn to scale and include existing and proposed pavement and structures, irrigation, vehicular use areas, significant trees and/or landscape features and topographic elevations.

C.    Landscaping required pursuant to an approved site plan shall be installed or bonded for under an agreement approved by the city attorney prior to temporary occupancy, and installed before the issuance of final certificate of occupancy.

D.    Table 18.47 indicates requirements for perimeter buffering in specific zoning categories.

E.    Where perimeter landscaping is located, breaks in vegetation and/or fencing for pedestrian access and transit passenger pads may be required as determined by the community development department during site plan review.

F.    For sites not located in the ARI zone district: where a particular site abuts a zoning district(s) which requires type 2 landscaping, such landscaping shall be required in an amount which, when combined with other on-site landscaping requirements, does not exceed fifteen percent of the total site area (i.e., if other landscaping requirements exceed fifteen percent of the site area, no type 2 landscaping is required). Type 2 landscaping may be placed on the perimeter of the site adjacent to the abutting zoning district, or in other locations on the site, subject to site plan review.

G.    For sites located in the ARI zone district: perimeter landscaping must conform to the siting requirements established in TMC Chapter 18.34. Refer to Table 18.47 for a determination of whether type 1 or 2 landscaping is required within the side and rear yards. Type 2 landscaping is required in the front yard unless other types of landscaping such as are described in TMC 18.47.050 are required.

H.    Landscaping planted in setback areas and around the perimeter of stormwater retention areas can be applied to the required landscaping amounts consistent with these requirements.

I.    Natural vegetation or stands of trees existing prior to site development should be used toward meeting all or part of the landscaping requirements. Incorporation of native species which have food or habitat value is encouraged.

J.    Irrigation of landscaped areas is required, except for landscaping which incorporates native or drought-tolerant vegetation. An irrigation plan shall be submitted along with a proposed landscaping plan to the community development department for review and approval.

K.    Required landscaping must comply with intersection sight obstruction requirements (Chapter 4 of the Tumwater Land Development Guide Manual).

L.    Required landscaping must incorporate trees which do not have the potential of interfering with overhead power lines or penetrating imaginary airspace surfaces as defined by 14 C.F.R. Part 77. A map that provides detailed information on ground and imaginary airspace surface elevations is available for inspection in the community development department.

M.    Landscaped areas may be used for stormwater management if the landscaping requirements of this chapter for buffering, screening, or aesthetics are satisfied.

(Ord. O2016-037, Amended, 01/03/2017; Ord. O2011-002, Amended, 03/01/2011; Ord. O2004-009, Amended, 12/07/2004; Ord. O2003-001, Amended, 02/18/2003; Ord. O2000-004, Amended, 07/18/2000; Ord. O98-009, Amended, 10/20/1998; Ord. O97-024, Added, 03/03/1998)

18.47.030 Minimum planting requirements.

A.    To provide a proper planting area, the minimum dimension of any required planting area must be no less than five feet in both length and width, except as specified in other sections of this chapter.

B.    At the time of planting, deciduous trees must be at least two inches in diameter measured six inches above the base, and coniferous trees must be at least six feet in height.

C.    Shrubs must be eighteen inches in height at time of planting. Shrubs and groundcover should be planted so that they attain a coverage of at least seventy-five percent of the planting area within four years.

D.    Any planting of grass or sod shall be established by using a turf grass developed for conditions of the Northwest.

E.    Beauty bark use shall be minimized and shall not be a substitute for live ground cover. Organic compost materials are encouraged for use in mulching shrubs and groundcover beds.

(Ord. O97-024, Added, 03/03/1998)

18.47.040 Maintenance.

A.    Any plant material used in the landscaping project shall be maintained in a healthy growing condition. The property owner shall bear responsibility for maintenance of required landscaping. The city will work with a property owner in establishing a realistic replanting plan when landscaping required by this chapter is lost due to situations beyond the control of the city or property owner, such as drought or other related circumstances.

B.    The city shall require that a maintenance agreement be executed in order to ensure compliance with the requirements of this chapter.

C.    Action upon noncompliance: failure, neglect or refusal of owner to perform the required maintenance action shall be taken in accordance with the enforcement section of this chapter.

(Ord. O97-024, Added, 03/03/1998)

18.47.050 Types of landscaping.

All multifamily residential, commercial and industrial projects shall be required to provide landscaping that satisfies the functions and specific requirements of this section. Single-family housing, individual manufactured homes (not part of a manufactured home park) and duplex housing are specifically exempted from the requirements of this chapter.

A.    Type 1 Landscaping – Sight Barrier Buffers.

1.    Purpose. To provide a very dense sight barrier and physical barrier to significantly separate abutting incompatible zones (see Table 18.47). Landscaping of this type shall be used around the perimeter of the site, except where access for autos and pedestrians is required. Zones separated by public streets are not considered abutting and do not require vegetative separation in accordance with this section, except for proposed land uses listed under subsection C of this section that require type 1 landscaping on all sides.

2.    Description.

a.    A minimum of ten feet in width shall be required for each planting area.

b.    A screen of at least six feet in height at time of planting, that results in a noise and sight obscuring buffer that is any one or a combination of the following methods:

i.    A solid row of evergreen trees or shrubs.

ii.    A solid row of evergreen trees and shrubs planted on an earthen berm an average of three feet high along its midline.

iii.    A combination of trees or shrubs and fencing (metal or wood) or wall (brick, masonry or textured concrete).

c.    Trees and shrubs should be spaced to grow together within four years from planting, and groundcover be provided to attain seventy-five percent coverage within four years.

B.    Type 2 Landscaping – Visual Separation Buffers.

1.    Purpose. To provide visual separation of compatible uses so as to soften the appearance of streets, parking areas and building elevation (see Table 18.47). Landscaping of this type may be used around the perimeter of the site, except where auto and pedestrian access is required. Zones separated by public streets are not considered abutting and do not require vegetative separation in accordance with this section, except for proposed land uses listed under subsections (C)(3) and (4) of this section that require type 2 landscaping on all sides. See TMC 18.47.020(F) for additional requirements that pertain to type 2 landscaping.

2.    Description.

a.    Trees shall be any combination of deciduous and evergreen (with no more than fifty percent being deciduous). One tree shall be provided for each twenty-five lineal feet of landscaped area.

b.    A minimum planting area of eight feet in width shall be required.

c.    Evergreen shrubs and ground cover must provide seventy-five percent coverage of the designated area within four years from planting.

C.    Planting Requirements for Specific Uses.

1.    The following uses require type 1 landscaping on all sides when located aboveground and not housed within a building or accessory to another use; and if located outside the public right-of-way:

a.    Utility substation;

b.    Sewage pumping station;

c.    Water distribution facility;

d.    Communication tower; and

e.    Wireless communication facility.

2.    The following uses require type 1 landscaping on all sides not abutting a public street:

a.    Medical clinic or hospital;

b.    Mental health facility;

c.    Inpatient facility;

d.    Campgrounds/RV park;

e.    Transportation facility, large scale or regional; and

f.    Prison, jail, other corrections facilities, juvenile detention facility.

Note: Landscaping within fenced security areas and parking lots of facilities listed under subsection (C)(2)(f) of this section should not exceed a height of twenty-four inches at maturity. Proposed landscaping plans should be reviewed by facility personnel to ensure landscaping does not interfere with facility security measures.

3.    The following uses require type 2 landscaping on all sides:

a.    School;

b.    Church; and

c.    Neighborhood community center.

4.    The following uses require type 2 landscaping on all sides. Type 1 landscaping must be used in place of type 2 landscaping for any side bordering a mixed use zoning district or any residential zoning district:

a.    Industrial uses (wholesaling, manufacturing, assembling, storing, repairing, fabricating and distribution of goods and other handling of products and equipment) within the LI and ARI zoning districts.

D.    Landscaping Between Parking Lots and Public Rights-of-Way.

1.    Purpose. To provide visual relief and separation of parking areas from public rights-of-way. The following requirements apply to all parking lots located adjacent to a public right-of-way, except those provided for, and on the same lots with, single-family dwellings, and except for those land uses listed in subsection C of this section which require type 1 landscaping on all sides. When a parking lot in any zone is located adjacent to a public right-of-way, a landscape strip as described below shall be provided on the property between the parking lot and the right-of-way. The landscaped strip may not include any paved area except pedestrian sidewalks or trails which cross the landscaped strip. Pedestrian access may be required to facilitate transit usage. Shrubs must be maintained at a maximum height of thirty-six inches. Any of the following landscaped strip treatments may be used singly or in combination:

a.    Provide a minimum ten-foot-wide landscape strip between the right-of-way and the parking lot to be planted with a minimum of one shade tree and ten shrubs per thirty-five linear feet of frontage, excluding driveway openings.

b.    Provide a berm, the top of which is at least two and one-half feet higher than the elevation of the adjacent parking lot pavement. The slope of the berm shall not exceed thirty-three percent for lawn areas. Berms planted with ground covers and shrubs may be steeper. However, no slope shall exceed fifty percent. Berms should be graded to appear smooth, rounded, naturalistic forms. Avoid narrow bumps which result from creating too much height for width of the space. Plant with a minimum of one shade tree and five shrubs per thirty-five linear feet of frontage, excluding driveway openings.

c.    Provide a minimum six-foot-wide landscaped strip and a minimum three-foot grade drop from the right-of-way line to the adjacent parking lot pavement. Plant the resulting embankment with a minimum of one shade tree and five shrubs per thirty-five linear feet of frontage, excluding driveway openings. Ground cover or low shrubs shall be planted to attain seventy-five percent coverage within four years.

d.    Provide a minimum five-foot-wide landscaped strip between the right-of-way line and the parking lot, with a minimum three-foot-high brick, stone or finished concrete wall to screen the parking lot. The wall shall be located adjacent to but entirely outside the five-foot landscaped strip. Plant with a minimum of one shade tree per thirty-five linear feet of frontage, excluding driveway openings.

e.    Provide a minimum twenty-five-foot-wide strip of existing native vegetation, unless the creation of such a strip creates a hazard of existing trees as determined by a certified landscaper or forester.

E.    Parking Area Interior Buffers.

1.    Purpose. To provide visual relief and shade in parking areas. All parking areas with more than ten parking spaces are required to have landscaping as provided below.

2.    Description.

a.    Design.

i.    Live planting material shall be provided throughout each landscaping area, and may be any combination of grass, shrubs and trees that provide the desired effect of providing visual relief and green space within the parking area.

ii.    Each planting area shall contain at least one tree. Up to one hundred percent of the trees proposed for the planning area may be deciduous.

iii.    Landscaping islands must be placed in every parking row at a maximum spacing of every ten parking spaces. Landscaping islands shall be a minimum of eight feet in width and shall extend the length of the parking stall. The minimum required width may be reduced for landscaping islands located in angled parking areas. In cases where no more than two parking rows wide are proposed for the entire parking lot, the maximum spacing requirement (ten spaces) may be varied as part of the site plan review process provided the total requirements for total landscaping area are met.

iv.    To provide for vehicle overhang, curbs need to be located at least three feet from the trunk of the tree.

b.    Required Amount.

i.    If the parking area contains more than ten but no more than fifty parking spaces, at least seventeen and one-half square feet of landscape development must be provided for each parking stall proposed.

ii.    If the area contains more than fifty but no more than one hundred parking spaces, at least twenty-five square feet landscape development must be provided for each parking stall proposed.

iii.    If the parking area contains more than one hundred spaces, at least thirty-five square feet of landscape development must be provided for each parking stall proposed.

The above requirements are considered a minimum. Additional landscape area may be necessary to meet design requirements above.

F.    Street Buffers.

1.    Purpose. Provide visual relief along pedestrian corridors and to separate pedestrians from streets.

2.    Description. Shall be in accordance with the development guide manual.

G.    Outdoor Storage Buffers.

1.    Purpose. Provide visual relief surrounding storage areas.

2.    Description. A storage yard in connection with a permitted commercial or industrial use shall require visual screening from adjacent properties and public rights-of-way. Visual screening shall be required to consist of a continuous fence, wall, evergreen hedge, landscape planting or combination thereof so as to effectively screen the storage yard which it encloses, and be maintained in good condition. In cases where the physical characteristics of the parcel or surrounding parcels make actual screening from adjacent properties impossible or unreasonable, this requirement may be completely or partially waived by the hearing examiner after public hearing and review as required by the variance process.

H.    Species Choice. The applicant shall utilize plants which are adaptable to local climatic conditions. The use of drought tolerant species is recommended to reduce or eliminate the need for irrigation. It is also recommended that any vegetation retained or planted consist of noninvasive plant species to reduce future maintenance requirements and encroachment on other property. An invasive plant species is a nonnative plant species that escapes into the wild and displaces native vegetation. Noxious weeds are prohibited pursuant to TMC Chapter 8.04. English ivy (Hedera helix) is a particularly aggressive, invasive plant species and use of this species for landscaping is prohibited except where necessary for stabilization of steep slopes.

(Ord. O2008-014, Amended, 10/21/2008; Ord. O99-001, Amended, 04/20/1999; Ord. O97-024, Added, 03/03/1998)

18.47.060 Alternative landscaping plan.

Alternative landscaping plans may be proposed where strict application of the requirements in this chapter would prohibit reasonable development of a property. The community development director may consider the topography, shape, size or other natural features of the property or design features of the development when considering the suitability of a proposed alternative landscaping plan.

Examples of situations where alternative landscaping plans are more likely to receive favorable consideration are mixed use buildings and developments that qualify for reduced parking under TMC Chapter 18.50. Another technique that can be used in alternative landscaping plans is the enhancement of landscaping in a nearby area to soften the overall effect of the development such as improvement of a nearby existing public right-of-way.

(Ord. O2011-002, Amended, 03/01/2011; Ord. O97-024, Added, 03/03/1998)

18.47.070 Penalty provision.

Any person found to have violated any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed to have committed a class 1 civil infraction pursuant to TMC Chapter 1.10.

Provided further, each day of continuing violation shall be considered a separate and distinct civil infraction.

(Ord. O2010-014, Amended, 06/15/2010; Ord. O97-024, Added, 03/03/1998)

 

TABLE 18.47: REQUIRED LANDSCAPING MATRIX 

 

Abutting Zone**

Zone Where Landscaping Is Required

HI

LI

ARI

BP

GC

TC

CS

HC

MU

CBC

BD

NC

MFH

MFM

MHP

SFM

SFL

RSR

RSR

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

2

2

2

 

 

 

SFL

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

2

2

2

 

 

 

SFM

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

2

2

2

 

 

 

MHP

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

2

2

2

2

2

2

MFM

1

1

1

1

1

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

 

 

2

2

2

 

MFH

1

1

1

1

1

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

 

 

2

2

2

 

NC

1

1

1

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

1

1

1

1

MU

1

1

1

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

1

1

1

1

CBC

1

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

1

1

1

1

BD

1

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

1

1

1

1

HC

1

1

 

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

1

1

1

1

CS

1

2

 

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

1

1

1

1

TC

1

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

1

1

1

1

GC

1

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

 

2

2

2

1

1

1

1

1

1

BP

1

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

1

1

1

1

1

1

ARI

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

1

1

2

2

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

LI

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

1

1

2

2

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

HI

2

2

2

1

1

1

1

1

1

2

2

1

 

1

1

1

1

1

 

Note: Type 1 and 2 landscaping are explained in TMC 18.47.050 preceding this matrix.

** Zones separated by public streets are not considered abutting and do not require vegetative separation, except as required in other sections of this chapter.

LEGEND

RSR

Residential/Sensitive Resource

CS

Community Service

HC

Historic Commercial

SFL

Single-Family Low Density

MU

Mixed Use

BP

Business Park

SFM

Single-Family Medium Density

GC

General Commercial

ARI

Airport Related Industry

MFM

Multifamily Medium Density

LI

Light Industrial

TC

Town Center

MFH

Multifamily High Density

HI

Heavy Industrial

CBC

Capitol Boulevard Community

MHP

Manufactured Home Park

BD

Brewery District

NC

Neighborhood Commercial

*    Code reviser’s note: A scrivener’s error in the prior zoning code included the wrong requirements for buffers between MFM/MFH and MFM/MFM, an error that was inadvertently duplicated in Ordinance O2014-007. The Required Landscaping Matrix has been updated to include the correct provisions.

(Ord. O2014-007, Amended, 07/15/2014)