Chapter 15.07
LANDSCAPING REGULATIONS* Revised 5/20

Sections:

15.07.010    Purpose.

15.07.020    Landscape plan approval.

15.07.030    Failure to complete required landscaping – Inspection.

15.07.040    General landscape requirements for all zones.

15.07.050    Types of landscaping.

15.07.060    Regulations for specific districts. Revised 5/20

15.07.070    Maintenance of landscaping.

*Cross reference(s) – Street trees, ch. 6.10; building codes, ch. 14.01.

15.07.010 Purpose.

A. The provisions of this chapter are to provide minimum standards for landscaping in order to maintain and protect property values and enhance the general appearance of the city. It is also the purpose of this chapter to encourage low impact development (LID) through the use of soil amendments and integration of landscape areas and LID stormwater management facilities. Landscaping shall be designed as an integral part of the overall site plan with the purpose of enhancing building design, public views, and spaces, and providing buffers, transitions, and screening.

B. The planning director shall have the authority to waive specific requirements or impose additional requirements in unique or special circumstances to ensure the fulfillment of the stated purposes of this chapter and to allow for flexibility and innovation of design. Special circumstances or unique conditions shall be reviewed with the planning director prior to submittal of a landscape plan. Examples of what might constitute unique or special circumstances include:

1. Preservation of unique wildlife habitat.

2. Preservation of natural or native areas.

3. Compliance with special easements.

4. Renovation of existing landscaping.

5. Unique site uses.

This list is for illustrative purposes only, and is not intended to be exhaustive.

(Ord. No. 3612, § 5, 8-6-02; Ord. No. 4074, § 1, 2-19-13)

15.07.020 Landscape plan approval.

A. A building permit shall not be issued until the landscape plan has been approved.

B. At the time of development plan review, planning services shall review specific landscape requirements with the owner or applicant.

C. Landscape plan review shall be required in the following instances:

1. New construction. New construction is covered by this chapter as follows:

a. Buildings constructed or enlarged.

b. Other structures or use areas constructed or enlarged.

c. Landscaped areas constructed or enlarged as follows:

i. If constructing new landscaped area or adding the equivalent of fifty (50) percent or more of the existing landscaped area, the entire site must meet the standards of this title.

ii. If adding less than fifty (50) percent of the existing landscaped area, only the new portion must meet the standards of this title.

2. Change in use. When change of use permit is required, landscaping shall be provided to meet the standards in this title.

(Ord. No. 4074, § 2, 2-19-13)

15.07.030 Failure to complete required landscaping – Inspection.

A. Failure to complete all of the required landscaping or any part of it within six (6) months of the building occupancy, issuance of the certificate of occupancy, or issuance of the temporary certificate of occupancy shall constitute a code violation, subject to abatement under Chapter 1.04 KCC.

B. It shall be the responsibility of the project manager or business owner to contact planning services upon completion of the landscaping work and request an inspection.

C. Planning services may inspect the landscaping upon request of the project manager or business owner or at any time after the six (6) month expiration date as described in subsection (A) of this section.

(Ord. No. 4074, § 3, 2-19-13)

15.07.040 General landscape requirements for all zones.

A. Landscape development standards.

1. All ingress or egress easements that provide corridors to a subject lot, and are not adjacent to a public right-of-way, shall be considered the same as a public right-of-way. Landscape requirements for easement corridors shall be the same as those required for areas adjacent to public rights-of-way.

2. All portions of a lot not devoted to building, future building, parking, storage, or accessory uses shall be landscaped in a manner appropriate to the stated purposes of this chapter.

3. All required landscaping areas shall extend to the curbline or to the street edge. A crushed rock path in lieu of landscaping shall be required where appropriate, as determined by planning services. Landscaping located in a right-of-way does not satisfy the landscape requirements.

4. Required landscape areas that are not appropriate for landscaping, due to the existence of rail lines or other features, shall be relocated. Relocation shall be another lot line of the subject lot, if appropriate; if inappropriate, relocation shall be to an equal-sized area in another portion of the lot, to be determined by planning services upon review with the owner or developer.

5. Landscaping shall not conflict with the safety of those using adjacent sidewalks, or with traffic safety. Safety features of landscaping shall be discussed at the time of development plan review, if necessary. Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) principles shall be used in the development and landscape plan to identify and incorporate design features that reduce opportunities for criminal activity to occur.

6. Required landscaping may be integrated with LID stormwater management facilities, where feasible. LID facilities shall not compromise the purpose or intent of required landscaping, and landscaping shall not result in the disruption of the function of the LID facilities. LID facilities shall be designed and constructed in accordance with the LID Technical Guidance Manual for Puget Sound (2005 edition, or as subsequently amended) and any applicable city codes and standards.

7. The configuration and plant species of landscape areas on a site shall be designed so as to not disrupt the functions of stormwater systems.

B. Landscape requirements for parking areas, buffers, and screening.

1. All parking, maneuvering, and loading areas of over twenty thousand (20,000) square feet shall have a minimum of ten (10) percent of the parking area, maneuvering area, and loading space landscaped with Type V landscaping as a means to reduce the barren appearance of the lot and to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff. Perimeter landscaping, required adjacent to property lines, shall not be calculated as part of the ten (10) percent figure.

2. The perimeter of all parking lots that abut residential zones or uses shall be landscaped in a manner that shields residential zones or uses from lights and provides aesthetic separation between uses. This shall include minimum depth of five (5) feet of Type II landscaping and appropriate fencing (six (6) foot high solid wood fence or equivalent), unless otherwise provided by this chapter, or otherwise approved by the planning director.

3. All property abutting Highway 167 or Interstate 5 shall be landscaped with Type III landscaping to a minimum depth of ten (10) feet unless a larger area is required elsewhere in this chapter.

4. All property abutting East Valley Highway between South 180th Street on the north to the SR167 overpass on the south shall be landscaped with Type III landscaping to a minimum depth of fifteen (15) feet unless a larger area is required elsewhere in this chapter.

5. All trash containers shall be screened from abutting properties and streets by a one hundred (100) percent sight-obscuring fence or wall and appropriate landscape screen (Type II or III, minimum three (3) feet wide) that allows for aesthetic improvement without compromising site safety.

6. All outside storage areas shall be screened by fencing and landscaping a minimum of five (5) feet in depth unless it is determined by development plan review that such screening is not necessary, due to storage area location, existing fencing or landscaping, or because stored materials are not visually obtrusive.

7. Landscaping shall be placed outside of sight-obscuring fences, or one hundred (100) percent sight-obscuring fences, unless it is determined by planning services that such arrangement would be detrimental to the stated purposes of this chapter or would compromise site safety.

8. The perimeter of all stormwater detention ponds shall be landscaped to a minimum depth of ten (10) feet of Type II landscaping. If perimeter fencing is required based on public works department standards, it shall be constructed of vinyl-coated chainlink or sold screen fencing. The fencing shall be located between the pond and the landscape area.

C. Landscape planting requirements.

1. Bark mulch, gravel, or other nonvegetative material shall only be used in conjunction with landscaping to assist vegetative growth and maintenance or to visually complement plant material. Nonvegetative material is not a substitute for plant material.

2. Required landscape areas shall be provided with adequate drainage. All new landscape areas shall incorporate soil amendments as follows: the uppermost twelve (12) inches of soil shall be tilled and two (2) inches of composted material shall be fully incorporated into the tilled soil; or to specifications as otherwise provided in the Stormwater Management Manual of Western Washington, Department of Ecology, dated August 2012, or as subsequently amended. Compaction of landscaping areas from vehicles and heavy equipment shall be avoided after tilling.

3. Slopes shall not exceed a three (3) to one (1) ratio (width to height), in order to decrease erosion potential and assist in ease of maintenance.

4. Quantity, arrangement, and types of plants installed shall be appropriate to the size of the required landscape areas and purpose of planting area as noted in KCC 15.07.050 pertaining to types of landscaping.

5. Landscape plans shall include a diversity of native, native adapteds, and drought tolerant, low water use plant species, and shall promote native wildlife habitat where feasible.

6. Irrigation systems incorporated into a landscaping area shall include rain sensors to promote water conservation.

(Ord. No. 2786, § 5, 6-21-88; Ord. No. 3409, § 44, 7-7-98; Ord. No. 3830, § 18, 3-6-07; Ord. No. 4043, § 8, 8-21-12; Ord. No. 4074, § 4, 2-19-13)

15.07.050 Types of landscaping.

 

 

Type I

Solid Screen

Type II

Visual Screen

Type III

Visual Buffer

Type IV

Low Cover

Type V

Open Area

Purpose

Type I landscaping is intended to provide a solid sight barrier to totally separate incompatible uses.

Type II landscaping is intended to create a visual separation that is not necessarily one hundred (100) percent sight-obscuring between incompatible uses.

Type III landscaping is intended to provide visual separation of uses from streets and main arterials and between compatible uses so as to soften the appearance of streets, parking lots, and building facades.

Type IV landscaping is intended to provide visual relief where clear sight is desired or as a complement to larger, more predominant planting materials.

Type V landscaping is primarily intended to visually interrupt large open spaces of parking areas.

Description

Type I landscaping shall consist of evergreen trees or tall shrubs with a minimum height of six (6) feet at planting, which will provide a one hundred (100) percent sight-obscuring screen within three (3) years from the time of planting; or a combination of evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs backed by one hundred (100) percent sight-obscuring fence.

Type II landscaping shall be evergreen or a mixture of evergreen and deciduous trees with large shrubs and ground cover interspersed with the trees. A sight-obscuring fence may be required if determined by development plan review that such a fence is necessary.

Type III landscaping shall be evergreen and deciduous trees planted not more than thirty (30) feet on center interspersed with large shrubs and ground cover. Where used to separate parking from streets, plantings must create a visual barrier of at least forty-two (42) inches in height at time of planting and form a solid screen three (3) years after planting.

Type IV landscaping shall consist of a mixture of evergreen and deciduous shrubs and ground cover, to provide solid covering of the entire landscaping area within three (3) years of planting and to be held to a maximum height of three and one-half (3 1/2) feet.

Type V landscaping shall consist of trees planted with supporting shrubs or ground cover. Each landscape area shall be of sufficient size to promote and protect growth of plantings, with a one hundred (100) square foot minimum area and no dimension less than five (5) feet.

Additional requirements are as follows. Specifications consistent with American Standard for Nursery Stock, ANSI Z60.1-2004, or as amended, are also acceptable.

(A) Deciduous trees shall be a minimum of one and one-half (1 1/2) inch caliper at the time of planting. Evergreen trees shall be six (6) feet high at planting. Tree spacing shall be as appropriate for the species.

(B) Ground cover means low-growing vegetative materials with a mound or spreading manner of growth. Spacing is dependent on the type and size of the plant material and must be adequate to provide total coverage of the landscape area within three (3) years. Ground cover plants, other than grasses, must be at least the four (4) inch pot size at time of planting.

(C) Shrubs shall be a minimum of eighteen (18) inches in height, or two (2) gallon container size, at the time of planting.

(D) The plantings and fence must not violate the sight area safety requirements at street intersections.

(Ord. No. 3409, § 45, 7-7-98; Ord. No. 4074, § 5, 2-19-13)

15.07.060 Regulations for specific districts. Revised 5/20

 

Zones

 

Minimum Perimeter Landscape Planter Width and Type

Additional Requirements

Abutting Street

Side Yard

Rear Yard

Abutting Residential District or Use

SR-1 through SR-8

N/A (see also KCC 12.04.245)

N/A

MR-D

N/A

MR-G

MR-T

MR-M

MR-H

10' Type III

10' Type II or III

10' Type II or III

N/A, except for parking lots per KCC 15.07.040(B)(2)

Open green area shall occupy no less than 25 percent of the total lot area. A minimum of five feet of foundation landscaping shall be placed along the perimeter of any multifamily structure. Foundation landscaping consists of shrubbery or some other combination of landscape materials that helps to reduce the visual bulk of structures and buffer dwelling units from light, glare, and other environmental intrusions. Additional requirements may apply through multifamily design review, KCC 15.09.045(D).

MHP

Requirements per Chapter 12.05 KCC

CC

CM

GC

5' Type III

N/A

N/A

10' Type II, and for parking lots per KCC 15.07.040(B)(2)

N/A

DC

N/A

A minimum of three feet of landscaping to screen off-street parking areas, placement of which shall be determined through the downtown design review process outlined in KCC 15.09.046. Additional landscaping or alternative methods of screening may be approved through downtown design review.

DCE

N/A

10' Type II, and for parking lots per KCC 15.07.040(B)(2)

A minimum of three feet of landscaping to screen off-street parking areas, placement of which shall be determined through the downtown design review process outlined in KCC 15.09.046. Additional landscaping or alternative methods of screening may be approved through downtown design review.

MTC-11

 

MTC-22

 

MCR3

 

AG

I1

15' Type III in front yard

10' Type II or III

N/A

N/A, except for parking lots per KCC 15.07.040(B)(2)

KCC 15.09.047, Industrial design review

I2

15' Type III in front yard

10' Type II or III

N/A

N/A, except for parking lots per KCC 15.07.040(B)(2)

KCC 15.09.047, Industrial design review

I3

15' Type III in front yard

10' Type II or III

N/A

N/A, except for parking lots per KCC 15.07.040(B)(2)

KCC 15.09.047, Industrial design review

NCC

10' Type III

5' or 10' Type II or III5, 7

5' Type II or III

10' Type II

 

1MTC-1 additional landscaping requirements. Landscaping requirements shall be determined through the midway design review process outlined in KCC 12.01.040 and shall include the following to soften the appearance of parking areas and building elevation, and to provide separation between uses:

(A) The perimeter of properties abutting a single-family residential or mobile home park land use shall be landscaped with a minimum of 10 feet of Type I landscaping.

(B) The perimeter of properties abutting a multifamily residential land use shall be landscaped with a minimum of 10 feet of Type I landscaping.

(C) The perimeter of properties abutting a public right-of-way shall be landscaped with a minimum of 10 feet of Type III landscaping. The following exceptions apply:

(1) When a vehicular parking area abuts such setback, a Type III landscape strip with an average of 20 feet in depth shall be provided.

(2) When such setback is utilized as a public open space plaza and not accompanying parking, no perimeter landscaping strip shall be required.

(3) When such setback is utilized as a public open space plaza and exceeds 30 linear feet, street trees shall be provided as set forth in the 2009 Design and Construction Standards, or as the same may be subsequently amended.

(D) The perimeter of side property lines shall be landscaped with a minimum of five feet of Type III landscaping, unless the building is constructed at the build-to line or property line.

2MTC-2 additional landscaping requirements. Landscaping requirements shall be determined through the midway design review process outlined in KCC 12.01.040 and shall include the following to soften the appearance of parking areas and building elevations, and to provide separation between uses:

(A) The perimeter of properties abutting public parks, plazas, open space, or multi-purpose trails shall be landscaped with a minimum of 10 feet of Type III landscaping.

(B) When a vehicular parking area abuts a public right-of-way, a Type III landscaping strip a minimum of five feet in depth shall be provided.

(C) When a vehicular parking area abuts the side property lines, a Type III landscaping strip a minimum of 10 feet in depth shall be provided.

3MCR additional landscape requirements. Landscaping requirements shall be determined through the midway design review process outlined in KCC 12.01.040 and shall include the following to soften the appearance of parking areas and building elevations, and to provide separation between uses:

(A) When buildings abut the required front yard, a Type III landscaping strip minimally 10 feet in depth shall be provided.

(B) When vehicular parking area abuts a public right-of-way, a Type III landscaping strip minimally 15 feet in depth shall be provided.

(C) When vehicular parking area abuts the side property lines, a Type III landscaping strip minimally 10 feet in depth shall be provided.

4[Reserved].

5No landscaping along the side property lines shall be required between adjacent properties where a common, shared driveway with a perpetual cross-access easement is provided to serve the adjoining properties.

6[Reserved].

7A Type III landscape strip of at least 10 feet in depth shall be provided alongside all property lines of a corner lot that abut public rights-of-way.

(Ord. No. 4074, § 6, 2-19-13; Ord. No. 4105, § 1, 2-18-14; Ord. No. 4166, § 6, 9-1-15; Ord. No. 4355, § 9 (Exh. I), 3-3-20)

15.07.070 Maintenance of landscaping.

A. Required. Whenever landscaping is or has been required in accordance with the provisions of this title or any addition or amendments to this title, or in accordance with the provisions of any previous code or ordinance of the city, the landscaping shall be permanently maintained in such a manner as to accomplish the purpose for which it was initially required. All landscaping which, due to accident, damage, disease, lack of maintenance, or other cause, fails to show a healthy appearance and growth shall be restored, or replaced with the same type of landscaping elements and in the same location as required in the approved landscape plan. These requirements also apply to landscaping for LID stormwater management systems, such as bioretention swales. Failure to permanently maintain landscaping will result in a code violation, in accordance with Chapter 1.04 KCC.

B. Maintenance assurance. To ensure the maintenance of new landscaping, the planning director may require a performance and maintenance bond or other acceptable maintenance assurance device, such as an irrevocable letter of credit, set-aside letter, assignment of funds, or certificate of deposit, prior to permit issuance. In determining whether to require an assurance device, the planning director may consider elements such as the size and complexity of the project, the likelihood of plant survival, and the likelihood of adequate maintenance. The device shall remain in effect for two (2) years from the completion of planting. The value of the maintenance assurance device shall equal at least one hundred twenty-five (125) percent of the total landscape materials plus installation. If a maintenance assurance device is required, the property owner shall comply with the following provisions:

1. If the landscaping is not being properly maintained, the planning director shall notify the property owner that the owner must restore the landscaping to its required condition, to the satisfaction of the director, within thirty (30) days. If the property owner does not restore the landscaping to the satisfaction of the director within thirty (30) days of the notification, then the city may use the proceeds of the assurance device to perform any type of maintenance or replacement necessary to ensure compliance with this chapter.

2. The maintenance assurance device shall be accompanied by an agreement granting the city and its agents the right to enter the property and perform any necessary work. The agreement shall also hold the city harmless from all claims and expenses, including attorney’s fees.

3. Upon completion of the two (2) year maintenance period, and inspection by the city to determine that the landscaping has been maintained to the satisfaction of the planning director, the city shall release the maintenance assurance device, less any proceeds previously used by the city pursuant to this section.

4. The property owner is responsible for all costs incurred by the city in doing any work covered by the assurance device. The property owner shall reimburse the city for any amount expended by the city that exceeds any proceeds of the assurance device actually used by the city. The city shall have a lien against the subject property for the amount of any excess.

(Ord. No. 3658, § 4, 9-2-03; Ord. No. 4074, § 7, 2-19-13)