Chapter 17.74


17.74.010    Purpose and intent.

17.74.020    Applicability.

17.74.030    General landscaping.

17.74.040    Parking lot landscaping.

17.74.050    Street trees.

17.74.060    Property line screening.

17.74.070    Trash enclosure screening.

17.74.080    Blank facade landscaping.

17.74.090    Residential landscaping.

17.74.100    Landscape point values.

17.74.110    Approved, discouraged and prohibited plants.

17.74.120    Landscape plan requirements.

17.74.130    Modifications.

17.74.140    Installation, maintenance, and enforcement.

17.74.150    Approval of landscape plan and installation of landscaping.

17.74.160    Variances.

17.74.010 Purpose and intent.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish landscaping provisions to achieve the following:

(a)    Provide a smooth transition between adjacent properties and buffer different intensities of land uses.

(b)    Maintain and enhance the character and appearance of the city.

(c)    Soften the visual impact of paved surfaces and blank building walls.

(d)    Reduce the effects of light, noise, glare, exhaust fumes, heat, wind, erosion, and other adverse effects.

(e)    Provide shade.

(f)    Reduce environmental impact. (Ord. 1547 § 6 (part), 2020).

17.74.020 Applicability.

(a)    Other than the exceptions listed in subsection (b) of this section, the requirements of this chapter shall apply to all of the following:

(1)    New development.

(2)    Any change in the use of a property requiring a land use permit.

(3)    Any change in the use of a property requiring a change of occupancy permit.

(4)    Any addition, remodel, alteration, or repair of a structure that increases the gross floor area by more than twenty percent or where the cost of the addition, remodel, alteration, or repair exceeds twenty-five percent of the existing assessed value of the structure.

(b)    Exceptions.

(1)    This chapter does not apply to any use or development in the C-1 zone, other than parking lots and trash enclosure screening.

(2)    Partially Developed Lots. When only a portion of a lot is being developed, the community development director may grant a deferral of the landscaping requirements for the undeveloped remainder of the lot.

(c)    Landscaping Required.

Specific types of landscaping are required for the following categories of projects:

Table 1 


Subject Property Use

Type of Landscaping

Individual Single-Family Houses or Duplexes

Residential Subdivisions

Multifamily Development (Triplex or Larger) and Manufactured Home Parks

Nonresidential Development

Development in Industrial Zones







Parking Lot






Street Trees






Property Line Screening


At time of construction of each house




Trash Enclosure Screening






Blank Facade








At time of construction of each house




(Ord. 1547 § 6 (part), 2020).

17.74.030 General landscaping.

Multifamily and nonresidential projects, except when located in an industrial zone, shall provide the following landscaping points on the site, in addition to other required landscaping:

Table 2 

Developed Area

Landscaping Points Required

500—2,500 sq. ft.


2,501—5,000 sq. ft.


Over 5,000 sq. ft.

50 plus one point for each 200 sq. ft. of area over 5,000

Developed area shall be calculated as the area of the building and amenities including patios, sidewalks, and common areas. Parking area is not included in the developed area calculation and is instead addressed in Section 17.74.040. (Ord. 1547 § 6 (part), 2020).

17.74.040 Parking lot landscaping.

(a)    Applicability. Parking lot landscaping is required for multifamily and nonresidential projects, except for the following:

(1)    Projects located in an industrial zone.

(2)    Display areas for automotive and equipment sales and rental.

(b)    Landscaping Point Requirements. Parking lots with more than ten required spaces shall provide two landscaping points for each required parking space, plus one point for each additional parking space.

(c)    Location.

(1)    All landscaping shall be located intermittently between parking stalls, at the end of parking columns, or between stalls and the property line. The design should strive to have all parking spaces within fifty feet of the trunk of a shade tree with a fifteen-foot minimum canopy at maturity.

(2)    When parking islands are provided, trees shall be planted a minimum of two feet away from the edge of the parking island, to prevent damage to trees from vehicle overhang or opening doors.

(3)    Landscaping shall be protected from vehicle damage by permanent curbs or structural barriers. Curbing or barriers may have openings to facilitate stormwater drainage. (Ord. 1547 § 6 (part), 2020).

17.74.050 Street trees.

(a)    Applicability. The provisions of this section shall apply to new developments, including multifamily development, residential subdivisions, and nonresidential projects except when located in industrial zones.

(b)    Developments adjacent to public streets shall provide one medium or large tree for each seventy-five lineal feet, or fraction thereof, of street frontage abutting the property.

(c)    Trees shall be approximately evenly spaced. Tree spacing may be modified for conflicts such as utilities, site topography, and visual safety at intersections and driveways.

(d)    Trees should be planted within ten feet of the edge of right-of-way but shall not be planted within right-of-way without approval of the public works director.

(e)    Street trees shall be chosen from the approved list in Section 17.74.110. Street trees not on this list must be approved by the community development director and public works director.

(f)    Street trees near a side property line shall be planted clearly on one side of the line or the other, to make clear which owner is responsible for maintaining the tree.

(g)    Street trees may be counted toward the landscape points needed for a site. (Ord. 1547 § 6 (part), 2020).

17.74.060 Property line screening.

(a)    Applicability. Property line screening is required for subdivisions, multifamily development, manufactured home parks, and nonresidential projects in all zones.

(b)    Visual screening shall be installed along the adjoining property line in the following situations:

(1)    A nonresidential project abuts a multifamily project; or

(2)    A residential subdivision has lots that back to an arterial street.

(c)    Full screening shall be installed along the adjoining property line in the following situations:

(1)    A multifamily or nonresidential project abuts a one- or two-family dwelling or vacant land zoned R-1 or R-2;

(2)    The project is a manufactured home park;

(3)    A project in an industrial zone abuts a different zoning district; or

(4)    An industrial use has the potential to substantially impact adjacent properties with noise, nuisance, or vibration, as determined by the city administrator or designee.

(d)    Visual screening shall consist of one or a combination of subsections (d)(1) through (3) of this section. Full screening shall consist of subsection (d)(1) of this section plus at least one of subsections (d)(2) through (3) of this section.

(1)    A sight-obscuring fence, which may consist of wood, ornamental iron, aluminum, brick, masonry, architectural panels, chain link with slats, or other permanent materials that are typically used for fencing;

(2)    A maintained, landscaped earthen berm at least five feet wide with a minimum of ten points of landscaping for every twenty-five lineal feet of property line frontage; or

(3)    A five-foot-wide landscape screen that shall consist of:

(A)    A mixture of evergreen and deciduous trees, planted no less than thirty-five feet on center, with a maximum of seventy-five percent of the trees being deciduous;

(B)    Evergreen shrubs shall comprise at least fifty percent of the plantings;

(C)    A minimum of eighteen landscape points for every twenty-five lineal feet of property line being screened.

(e)    Height of Screening.

(1)    Visual or full screening shall be a minimum of six feet high measured from finished grade, except where shorter screening is needed for safety, such as within front setbacks and at street corners and driveways.

(2)    Where the elevation of the finished grade within six feet of the screen differs from one side of the screen to the other (as when a fence is placed on top of a slope or retaining wall), the height shall be measured from the side with the lowest finished grade elevation. (Ord. 1547 § 6 (part), 2020).

17.74.070 Trash enclosure screening.

(a)    Applicability. Trash enclosure screening is required for multifamily projects larger than four dwelling units and nonresidential projects utilizing trash containers larger than ninety-six gallons, except that trash enclosure screening is not required within industrial zones.

(b)    Trash receptacles larger than ninety-six gallons shall be enclosed on all four sides by a six-foot-high, one hundred percent sight-obscuring barrier. Three sides of the enclosure shall be block wall or similar. (Ord. 1547 § 6 (part), 2020).

17.74.080 Blank facade landscaping.

Blank building facades more than twenty feet in height or fifty feet in width or length shall be landscaped with trees, trellises, and plantings to provide visual relief and soften the effect of the building on the surrounding area. A blank facade within twenty feet of another building or otherwise not visible from a public street is not required to be screened. (Ord. 1547 § 6 (part), 2020).

17.74.090 Residential landscaping.

(a)    Front Yard Setback. The required front yard setback of all residential uses shall be landscaped within one year of occupancy and maintained. For the purposes of this section, “landscaping” shall be defined as the addition of lawn, trees, plants, shrubs, and other natural and decorative features. At least fifty percent of the front yard area shall be landscaped. Driveways and parking areas may be located in the remaining fifty percent that is not required to be landscaped.

(b)    Multifamily Structures. Multifamily residential uses shall also landscape the required open space areas so that they are usable for outdoor recreation.

(c)    Manufactured Home Parks. All areas within the boundaries of the manufactured home park shall be landscaped. All lawns, trees, landscaping, occupied and unoccupied manufactured home spaces, recreation areas, and open space areas shall be continually maintained. A permanent irrigation system shall be installed and maintained for planted common areas. (Ord. 1547 § 6 (part), 2020).

17.74.100 Landscape point values.

Where this chapter specifies landscape points, the points shall be calculated per the following table. Where drought-tolerant plantings and techniques are used, point values may be increased by twenty percent.


Table 3: Landscape Point Values 

Type of Plant Material

Minimum Size (at time of planting)

Point Value

Deciduous Trees
(in caliper inches)

Evergreen Trees
(in feet of height)

New Vegetation

Preserved Vegetation

Large tree (mature height > 60')

Over 25" caliper




20.1 to 25"




15.1 to 20"




10.1 to 15"




8 to 10"
























Medium tree (mature height 25—60')









Small tree (mature height <25')





Large shrub

5-gallon, 24" height at planting



Medium shrub

3-gallon, 12" height at planting



Small shrub

2-gallon, 8" height at planting



Ornamental grass or perennial >12" tall




Groundcover plant




4" pot



Landscaped berm

30" height, 10' length, 3:1 slope

1 point per 5 lineal feet


Turf grass


1/4 per square yard


Basalt column


1/2 per cubic foot




1/2 per cubic foot


Beautification committee approved red planter pot


Small = 15 points. 18 points with plants

Medium = 19 points. 22 points with plants

Large = 23 points. 26 points with plants

Barrel with plants

2' minimum diameter





1 point per 10 lineal feet


Original artwork/sculpture


1/10 per cubic foot


Decorative rock groundcover


1 per 10 square yards


(Ord. 1547 § 6 (part), 2020).

17.74.110 Approved, discouraged and prohibited plants.

(a)    General. Any plant listed by the Adams County weed district as a noxious weed is prohibited from being planted or allowed to exist anywhere within the city limits of the city.

(b)    Trees.

(1)    Approved trees are preapproved, specific trees that the city of Othello has approved to be planted as park trees and city-planted public trees in the right-of-way. This list is also advisable to use for private landscaping outside the city right-of-way on private property: flame maple, trident maple, tatarian maple, common hornbeam, zelkova, tree lilac, red sunset maple, Kwanzan flowering cherry, chanticleer flowering pear, white ash, red maple and spring snow crabapple.

(2)    Discouraged trees have particular negative attributes that should be considered for sustainability for the specific location prior to planting in Othello. Research these trees carefully: box elder maple, hickory, autumn brilliance service berry, imperial honeylocust, kousa dogwood, redbud, black pine, Chinese chestnut, catalpa, hackberry, hawthorn, black walnut, aspens, elms, fruit-bearing trees, fruit-bearing crabapple, and any tree within seven feet of a building or four feet of concrete.

(3)    Prohibited trees have a clear and definitive reason not to plant anywhere in Othello: tree of heaven, silver maple, box elder, poplar, black cottonwood, pin oak, willows, Russian olive, Siberian elm, sycamore, sweetgum, sequoia, four oak, Norway maple, and black locust. Said trees are only prohibited from being planted by any person within city rights-of-way and/or easements, or within one hundred feet of a public sewer.

(c)    Plants Discouraged from Use.

(1)    Thorny plants in locations that tend to catch wind-blown trash, such as barberry.

(2)    Plants that need significant maintenance to retain an attractive appearance, and are difficult to remove once established, such as yucca.

(3)    Plants that are very large and hard to control, such as pampas grass. (Ord. 1547 § 6 (part), 2020).

17.74.120 Landscape plan requirements.

(a)    Landscape plans shall be to a standard scale and shall include the size and type of landscaping materials and vegetation, the dimensions of the lot, the developed area, parking areas, point calculations showing compliance with this chapter, and an irrigation plan detailing types of irrigation delivery and controller.

(b)    A landscape plan shall be prepared by a person experienced in the selection and installation of plants. (Ord. 1547 § 6 (part), 2020).

17.74.130 Modifications.

The city administrator or designee may approve modifications to the landscaping requirements of this chapter when the applicant demonstrates that:

(a)    Required landscaping directly interferes with the operation or maintenance of existing stormwater facilities or natural drainage systems; or

(b)    Existing development, improvements, utilities, or easements directly preclude installation of the required landscaping. (Ord. 1547 § 6 (part), 2020).

17.74.140 Installation, maintenance, and enforcement.

(a)    Landscaping shall be primarily vegetative and consist of trees, shrubs, and groundcover. Nonliving natural features may also be incorporated.

(b)    All plant material shall be in a healthy condition at the time of planting and shall meet quality standards set forth by the American Standard for Nursery Stock.

(c)    All newly planted trees and shrubs shall be mulched and maintained in healthy conditions and to give a clean and weed-free appearance.

(d)    Maintenance of required landscaping shall be the responsibility of the property owner. All unhealthy or dead plant materials shall be replaced within the next planting season, not to exceed one hundred eighty days from the date of loss. Planted areas shall be maintained free of trash and weeds.

(e)    The type and location of vegetation shall not interfere with utilities and the safe and efficient flow of street traffic. Approval by the appropriate city departments and utility providers shall be required.

(f)    Where turf grass is used, it shall be planted, seeded, watered, and maintained in such a manner as to completely cover all exposed areas of soil after one full growing season.

(g)    Disturbed ground shall not be left exposed. Mulch or vegetative ground covers shall cover all unpaved and undisturbed areas.

(h)    Landscaping may be included within stormwater facilities, provided it does not conflict with the operation of the stormwater facility and complies with state and local stormwater regulations.

(i)    Irrigation. All portions of any irrigation system shall be maintained in order to perform its original function. Uncontrolled emission of water from any pipe, valve, head, emitter or other irrigation device shall be considered evidence of lack of maintenance and a violation of this chapter.

(j)    Hardscape. Maintenance of all landscape areas shall also include the painting, repairing, reconstruction, and restoration of landscape structures such as fences, walls, trellises, etc. (Ord. 1547 § 6 (part), 2020).

17.74.150 Approval of landscape plan and installation of landscaping.

(a)    After receipt of a complete landscape plan, all development applications shall be reviewed by the planner for compliance with this chapter concurrently with and as a part of the review process of the principal use or structure and prior to issuance of any grading, building, or land use permit or approval.

(b)    Other than for single-family homes, no certificate of occupancy, or final inspection approval if no certificate of occupancy is required, shall be issued until one of the following occurs:

(1)    The required landscaping is installed.

(2)    A bond or some other form of cash surety acceptable to the city is submitted at a value of one hundred twenty percent of the estimated cost to complete the landscaping according to the approved landscape plan. Upon completion of the landscape installation, the city shall promptly release the surety. (Ord. 1547 § 6 (part), 2020).

17.74.160 Variances.

A variance from the regulations of this chapter may be obtained through the hearing examiner in compliance with the provisions of Chapter 2.16 entitled “Hearing Examiner.” (Ord. 1547 § 6 (part), 2020).